There are times when you want to take family or friends out with you when a short walk is what is needed, so here are six of my favourite short walks of under 5 miles in Northumberland. Although they are short, I have chosen these walks because they include a showcase of beautiful scenery, extraordinary wildlife, historic castles, wild waterfalls, scheduled ancient monuments and listed architecture.
- Twizel Castle, River Tweed and River Till. Easy. 3.5 miles.
- Hartside to Linhope Spout. Easy. 3 miles.
- Bellingham to Hareshaw Linn. Easy. 3 miles
- Budle Bay to Bamburgh. Leisurely. 4.55 miles
- Berwick upon Tweed town walls. Easy. 1.5 miles.
- Inner Farne circular via Seahouses. Easy. 0.5 miles.
All these routes are available on Viewranger except for the Inner Farne walk where a route isn’t really necessary. Maps on this post are courtesy of Viewranger, The National Trust and Ordnance Survey ©.
- Twizell Castle, River Tweed and River Till Circular. 3.5 miles. Easy
This circular walk starts in the parking bay by Twizell bridge on the Cornhill Road. From here you go through the old gate and turn left to follow the River Till under a disused railway viaduct for a mile or two to the confluence with the River Tweed. This is a lovely spot to sit, enjoy the view and watch the fishing boats. The route then turns sharply eastwards to follow the Tweed as far as a stone fishing shiel with a bench outside. Here you cut across the field to head up a bank through the trees until you reach a country road. Here go straight ahead along the road, past a couple of cottages on the right until the road turns left. After a short distance you reach a stile on the right where you catch your first view of lovely Twizell Castle. Beware when crossing that this field sometimes has livestock in it.
The castle is a Grade II listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. In 1882, Sir Francis Blake demolished an incomplete castle on the site and used the stone in the construction of this two-story folly which is now on the English Heritage Heritage at Risk Register. Cross the stile and head diagonally across the field past Twizell Castle on the right until you reach another stile in the bottom left corner of the field. This takes you onto a track which heads back down hill with the river below to reach your starting point. There is a shop at nearby Cornhill and facilities at Coldstream a few miles to the north.
- Hartside to Linhope Spout, Breamish Valley. 3 miles. Easy.
Linhope Spout waterfall is a 3 mile there and back walk from Hartside in the Breamish Valley to a popular local beauty spot. The valley forms part of the southern Cheviot hills in the Northumberland National Park. Hartside is about 6 miles west from the turn off from the A697 just north of Powburn, and it is as far as you can take your car in the valley. Once you have parked your car on the verge at Hartside, you walk westwards from Hartside Farm as far as Linhope, from which the waterfall is well signposted. You turn north west at Linhope keeping the wood immediately to your right until you reach a kissing gate.
Once through, you follow a broad grassy path until you see a finger post pointing you downhill to your right. Head down until you reach a grassy area and the falls are just beyond it among the trees. There is a picnic area on the grass but beware that the midges can be bad here at certain times of year. There is a cafe at nearby Ingram and some facilities at Powburn a couple of miles to the south.
- Bellingham to Hareshaw Linn waterfall. 3 miles. Easy.
This is another linear, there and back walk starting from Bellingham and following the Hareshaw Burn up the valley past the remains of 19th century coal and iron mines, along a clear track which criss crosses little footbridges over the burn several times passing a couple of smaller waterfalls..
After a mile and a half you reach a canyon at the head of the valley where you will find Hareshaw Linn waterfall. The fall has a drop of roughly 30ft and there is a small seat nearby. This walk is on pretty good tracks with occasional benches to stop and rest. Bellingham has all the facilities you could wish for and there are some lovely nearby country pubs.
- Budle Bay to Bamburgh circular. 4.55 miles. Leisurely
This is a circular walk, starting at Budle Bay, and cutting across country southwards via the Shada plantation to reach the road into Bamburgh at Galliheugh Bank. From there you turn right along the main street towards Bamburgh before heading left to skirt round the bowling green below Bamburgh castle. This path leads to a single lane road which runs northwards along the coast past Harkness rocks.
The route continues north as far as Budle Point where it turns southwest past the campsite at Heather cottages. At Kiln point a road turns inland to Budle and then alongside the sands of the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve at Budle Bay back to your starting point. Bamburgh has all the facilities you could want as well as public transport links.
- Berwick Ramparts circular walk. 1.5 miles. Easy.
This is a 1.5 mile easy, circular walk around the Elizabethan walls and ramparts which surround the centre of Berwick upon Tweed on the border between England and Scotland.
Berwick’s town walls were built in the early 14th century under Edward I, following his capture of the city from the Scots. When complete they were 2 miles in length, over 3 feet thick, and up to 22 feet high, protected by a number of smaller towers, up to 60 feet tall. By 1405, the walls had fallen into disrepair and were incapable of preventing Henry IV from taking the town with ease. By 1560 it was concluded that it was impractical to upgrade the existing walls, so a new set of town fortifications in an Italian style were constructed instead, destroying much of the earlier medieval walls.
Today the walls are, in the view of historians Creighton and Higham, “the best-preserved example of town defences in Britain designed for post-medieval warfare”. They are protected as a scheduled ancient monument. This short walk is packed with interesting things to see and do, which illustrate many aspects of the history of the town from Elizabethan times to the present. The route is on good paths, although children and dogs need supervision on parts of the ramparts which have steep drops. Berwick upon Tweed has good public transport links and all the facilities of a small town.
- Inner Farne Circular walk via Farne Island Cruise from Seahouses. 0.5 miles. Easy
For this very short but spectacular walk, you need to take a landing trip to Inner Farne in the Farne Islands from Seahouses on the Northumbrian coast. There are several different boat operators to choose from. There is a charge for the cruise and then a landing charge when you arrive at Inner Farne island where rangers live and work for most of the year. Some of the cruises visit other islands including Staple Island, Longstone Island or Brownsman, before landing on Inner Farne.
On this short walk it is possible to follow a boardwalk around the island and see a huge variety of seabirds including puffins, cormorants, shags and arctic terns, together with some of the 3000 plus grey seals which live on the Farne Islands. At certain times of year it is advisable to wear a hat to protect you from diving birds trying to protect their nests.
In terms of interest, this walk is a unique opportunity to see the wildlife which exists not far off the Northumberland coast up close, in one short walk. It is also the place where St Cuthbert lived and worked on the famous Lindisfarne Gospels. While Seahouses is not the prettiest village on the coast, it has all the facilities you might need including some excellent fish and chips. A must for residents and visitors alike as no two trips are ever the same.