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12 best hikes in Northumberland National Park

Sycamore Gap is one of the best hikes in Northumberland National Park

The best hikes in Northumberland National Park reveal an underappreciated but utterly delightful expanse of English countryside

Amid the ancient rolling hills between the Scottish border and England’s industrial northeast, you will find Northumberland National Park. England’s most northerly national park is also the least visited in Britain and the least populated in England and Wales with just over 2,000 residents.

Covering an area of 1,049km2, this rugged, isolated landscape is best known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall that slices across England’s countryside from coast to coast.

But there is more to Northumberland than ancient milecastles and crumbling forts. This timeless landscape is home to the rolling Cheviot Hills straddling the Anglo-Scottish border; the UK’s most photographed tree; and Kelder Forest, England’s largest manmade woodland.

As far as wildlife goes, roe deer, wild goats, red squirrels, moorland gamebirds and the rare black grouse can all be seen inside the park.

What’s more, in 2013, it was designated a Dark Sky Park which means it is protected from artificial light pollution to promote astronomy in the region. In fact, it is the largest area of protected night sky in Europe making it one of the UK’s best places to stargaze.

Over 1,100km of trails make the park one of England’s choice walking destinations. Here, we share the best hikes in Northumberland National Park – 12 unique ways to explore England’s remote north.

Best hikes in Northumberland National Park

We’ve chosen the best hikes in Northumberland National Park to suit every ability, from gentle undulating day trips to challenging multi-day treks.

For more information on things to do and where to stay in Northumberland National Park, visit the national park website.

1. Sycamore Gap

Distance: 4km (2.5mi)
Duration: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

In the well of a striking dip along the Hadrian’s Wall Path once sat the 2016 English Tree of the Year (yes, there is a tree of the year). Planted between 1860 and 1890 by the previous landowner, John Clayton, the sycamore tree was one of the most photographed trees in the country. You may recognise it from the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the sycamore tree that the boy Wulf climbs to evade Guy of Gisborne and his men.

Sycamore Gap is one of the best hikes in Northumberland National Park
Joe Rey Photography/Shutterstock The 2016 England tree of the year

Tragically, in 2023, the tree was…

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