footsteps

Walking the Beauty
---..of Northumberland

Our weekly walks programme


Winter in Northumberland is an exciting time to be out and about exploring this remarkable County and walking is a great way to discover its many secrets.  On a Footsteps guided walk, we take you to some extraordinary places along the Northumberland Coast, in the hills and valleys of the National Park and to a great many places between the two.  The Northumberland Coast is one of the best places to see ducks, geese and waders overwintering all the way from the Arctic on the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. So, put on that extra warm layer, grab your binoculars and a camera and join a Footsteps guided walk for some great walking adventures in Northumberland.

Please take a look at the list of walks below; it covers the walks programme for the next 7-14 days. Click on the panels to reveal details of each walk. If you wish, you can download the monthly walks programmes for the months ahead from the 'Download a List of Walks' links on the Home page.

I have added our walks programmes covering up to the end of September 2017 here So if you want to plan ahead, then you can see what we're up to well into the early Autumn.

The weather, despite popular belief is generally fine and dry, although it's fair to say we don't always escape the worst and we do get the occasional rainy day. You will though be glad of that warm coat in your rucksack, as we explore some of the best walking in this remarkable county of Northumberland.

I am available as a freelance guide and in 2017, I will be leading guided walks and guided walking holidays in Northumberland for HF Holidays, Shepherd's Walks and Country Walks. I have also supported Berghaus in 2016 taking 60+ staff on a guided walk in South Tyneside. Please get in touch for more information about how we can support your walking holiday or a corporate activity in the great outdoors. 

Many but not all of our guided walks can be reached using public transport. Please contact us if you want to know more about our excellent bus services.

All our guided walks are circular and we always return on foot to where we started. There is one exception and that is the walks along the  Berwickshire Coast Path, when we return to our start point using public transport.

Please choose your walk or walks, send me an email or give me a call on 01668 213775 or 07847 506399 to book a place and to find out where to meet us on the day. Details of our prices for individuals, couples, families and groups for the walks can be found here.

Times vary, but a 6 mile (10 Km) walk takes about 3-4 hours to complete. The walks all begin between 9.00 and 9.30am, unless by prior arrangement.

In addition to our regular walks programme, we do lead longer and harder walks in the high hills of the Cheviot range in Northumberland National Park. So, if you want a challenging and longer day visiting the summits of the highest hills in Northumberland, then we can do that too. Please try and plan ahead for these walks and give me plenty of notice so that I can fit them in to the schedule.

At Footsteps, we are very pleased to be delivering the Mountain Training (England) Hill Skills course.  The 2-day course is designed for anyone new to hill walking; please see our Hill Skills page for the details.

We have a page on Trip Advisor, so if you want to read about what our walkers think about who we are, where we go and what we get up to on our guided walks, then click here. 

Friday 26th May — Bewick Moor, a prehistoric landscape 8 miles (12 Km), 9.30 (5-6 hours)

Bewick Moor, a prehistoric landscape in the Northumberland countryside

We walk through history as we cross this wonderful heather moorland in the heart of the wild Northumberland countryside. From the Bronze Age (3300BC to 1100BC) right up to the modern day, humans have left their mark on this landscape and you get up close to it, on this Footsteps guided walk. You will discover a hidden cave, a mysterious place with lots of secrets. There’s a ruined farm, Blawearie, romantic and rugged, Wuthering Heights perhaps in a different location. There are two prehistoric hill forts dominating the landscape.  You’ll see Bronze Age rock art, those curious ‘cup and ring’ marked rocks, touch them and reach back through time to those people who left their mark on the landscape. Best of all perhaps is the Bronze Age burial cairn, but I’ll say no more about that particular treasure, you’ll just have to experience it for yourself. 

Monday 29th May — The Cheviot, Northumberland National Park, 10 miles (16 Km), 9.30 (6-7 hours)

Harthope Valley to the summit of The Cheviot in Northumberland National Park

The Cheviot at 2673 feet or 815 metres above sea level is the highest hill in the Northumberland National Park and depending on which route you take to the summit, represents a significant challenge. On this Footsteps guided walk, we approach the summit along the picturesque Harthope Valley and gently ascend to within about 300 feet or 100 metres of the summit. The Harthope Burn tumbles down the valley, past waterfalls and deep pools and we follow precisely its course to the very point where it bubbles out of the hillside just below Cheviot’s summit.  We criss-cross the burn many times, it’s just the way path works, then it’s up on to the Pennine Way, following a well laid path of flagstones to the triangulation point on top of this famous hill.  From there, it’s all downhill and as we make our way back down the hill, passing on the way, walkers toiling up this steep eastern flank and glad that our Footsteps guide got us there without all the pain of what is a very long and steep path.  Red grouse call from the heather and the wonderful views make this a walk well worth doing, you’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday 31st May — The Pilgrim's Way to Lindisfarne, Northumberland Coast, 8 miles, (12 Km) 11.00 (5-6 hours)

The Pilgrim’s Way to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on the Northumberland Coast

We walk in the footsteps of the Saints and early Christians along the ancient Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route to Lindisfarne, which has been in use for at least 1500 years.  We recommend you wear your wellies for this walk; we do have to splash through a bit of water on the way across and walking boots will get very wet. As we cross the wide open space between the mainland and the Island, listen out for the singing seals, you’ll remember that mournful, magical sound for a long time.  The Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is a great place for wildflowers, butterflies and birds, so bring your binoculars as well as your camera. Once on the Island, we'll be exploring and discovering some of its wilder corners before walking back to the mainland again on the Pilgrim’s Way. 

Thursday 1st Jun — Burnmouth & St. Abbs Head, Scottish Coast, 10 miles (16 Km), 9.30 (5-6 hours)

Burnmouth and St. Abbs Head along the Berwickshire Coast

A car park beside the A1 seems an unlikely place to begin a walk, but it gives ready access to the coast path and it is on the bus route, ideal as this is a linear walk and we catch the bus back to Burnmouth at the end of the walk. This is a landscape very different to the Northumberland Coast further south.  Here, high sandstone cliffs dominate, some of them some 100 metres or 328 feet high, giving some exceptional coast walking. Along the way to St. Abbs, we pass through the fishing harbour town of Eyemouth, the seaside resort of Coldingham and the village of St. Abbs itself. Beyond St. Abbs, we enter the National Nature Reserve, where in the Spring and Summer, thousands of guillemots nest in impossible locations on the cliff faces and in the Winter, it’s about as wild and lonely as it’s possible to be. We return to St. Abbs for refreshments before catching a bus back to Burnmouth, having completed a walk along some of the best and wildest coast in south east Scotland.

Friday 2nd Jun — We are fully booked right through until 26 June ()

Monday 26th Jun — The Pilgrim's Way to Lindisfarne, Northumberland Coast, 8 miles, (12 Km) 9.30 (5-6 hours)

The Pilgrim’s Way to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on the Northumberland Coast

We walk in the footsteps of the Saints and early Christians along the ancient Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route to Lindisfarne, which has been in use for at least 1500 years.  We recommend you wear your wellies for this walk; we do have to splash through a bit of water on the way across and walking boots will get very wet. As we cross the wide open space between the mainland and the Island, listen out for the singing seals, you’ll remember that mournful, magical sound for a long time.  The Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is a great place for wildflowers, butterflies and birds, so bring your binoculars as well as your camera. Once on the Island, we'll be exploring and discovering some of its wilder corners before walking back to the mainland again on the Pilgrim’s Way. 

Tuesday 27th Jun — Burnmouth & St. Abbs Head, Scottish Coast, 10 miles (16 Km), 9.30 (5-6 hours)

Burnmouth and St. Abbs Head along the Berwickshire Coast

A car park beside the A1 seems an unlikely place to begin a walk, but it gives ready access to the coast path and it is on the bus route, ideal as this is a linear walk and we catch the bus back to Burnmouth at the end of the walk. This is a landscape very different to the Northumberland Coast further south.  Here, high sandstone cliffs dominate, some of them some 100 metres or 328 feet high, giving some exceptional coast walking. Along the way to St. Abbs, we pass through the fishing harbour town of Eyemouth, the seaside resort of Coldingham and the village of St. Abbs itself. Beyond St. Abbs, we enter the National Nature Reserve, where in the Spring and Summer, thousands of guillemots nest in impossible locations on the cliff faces and in the Winter, it’s about as wild and lonely as it’s possible to be. We return to St. Abbs for refreshments before catching a bus back to Burnmouth, having completed a walk along some of the best and wildest coast in south east Scotland.

Thursday 29th Jun — Ingram Valley & Linhope Spout, National Park, 10 miles (16 Km), 9.30 (6-7 hours)

The Breamish Valley and Linhope Spout Waterfall in the Northumberland National Park

The Valley provides an excellent gateway into the National Park and on this Footsteps guided walk, where we escape to some of its wilder and remoter corners. Setting off from the end of the valley road, we soon find ourselves heading up hill and across open country until we reach the Salters Road; this ancient track was once as the name suggests a ‘salt road’, but today it provides the perfect route towards the upper reaches of the River Breamish. At Bleakhope, a remote hill farm at the head of the valley, we ascend High Cantle, a short steep ascent on to the grouse moor and a long, high and open hill top walk. With great views to some of the highest hills in The Cheviots, lots of wildlife, including red grouse of course, this is great hill walking in a remote and dramatic landscape. One of the highlights of the walk is Linhope Spout waterfall. The Linhope Burn falls off the edge and plummets into a foaming pool of water some forty feet below. Wild swimming is an option in the Summer, so bring your swimming costumes if you’re brave enough, or do what most visitors do and photograph the memories of this delightful place. We’re soon back where we began after that and you’ll be thinking about and planning your next Footsteps guided walk.

Friday 30th Jun — Bamburgh & Budle Bay, Northumberland Coast, 6 miles (10 Km), 9.30 (3-4 hours)

Bamburgh and Budle Bay on the Northumberland Coast

We begin this walk in the village of Bamburgh beneath the walls of its iconic castle and head north along the wilder side of Bamburgh Beach. Stopping off at Harkess Lighthouse and the famous Stag Rock, we’re soon heading for Budle Bay, an important part of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. Hidden amongst the dunes is a World War II gun battery, huge and unmoving it’s one of a number of remaining defensive features that litter the coast. On the shore itself is the last of the quays from the days when this was a working port, sad and neglected, it’s slowly returning to the sea. If the tide allows, we stay on the shore, otherwise we have to take an inland path before heading over and through the nearby farmland and back to Bamburgh. There are some great views along the way and in the village, some fine tea shops and pubs to relax in and share the memories of a great Footsteps walk.  

Sunday 2nd Jul — Breamish Valley hill forts, National Park, 5 miles (9 Km), 9.30 (2-3 hours)

The hillforts in the Breamish Valley of Northumberland National Park

We set off from Ingram, the small village at the heart of the Breamish Valley where the river flows busily across the landscape. The valley is well known for its prehistoric sites and on this walk we get to see some very fine examples as we make our way up, over and across an interesting and diverse landscape. There are some great views too of the high hills in the National Park and plenty of wildflowers and wildlife too. Wether and Hartside Hills are a highlight, the prehistoric archaeology there is very well defined and you get a real sense of the people who lived here and the places where they built their homes and raised their families. We finish in the Valley Cottage Cafe in the village of Ingram, a great place to relax and enjoy tea and cake at the end of the day.

Monday 3rd Jul — Melrose, St. Boswells & Dryburgh, Scottish Borders 12 miles (20 Km), 9.30 (6-7 hours)

Melrose, St. Boswells and Dryburgh Abbey along St. Cuthbert’s Way

The walk begins at the entrance to the medieval Melrose Abbey, which was closed by Henry VIII in the 16th Century. From there we head south following St. Cuthbert’s Way heading uphill and with a short diversion, the path takes us to the summit of Eildon Mid-Hill at 422 metres (1385 feet) above sea level. After taking in the views, we continue south to Bowden, before turning east to Newton St. Boswell and across country to join the path beside the River Tweed. A short walk takes us into St. Boswell, an attractive Border town beside the Tweed. We stay beside the River Tweed crossing a bridge onto the north bank and walking back via Dryburgh, another abbey town, before arriving back in St. Boswell via a suspension bridge across the River Tweed. From St. Boswell, we catch a bus back to Melrose where the walk ends.

Tuesday 4th Jul — Bamburgh & Budle Bay, Northumberland Coast, 6 miles (10 Km), 9.30 (3-4 hours)

Bamburgh and Budle Bay on the Northumberland Coast

We begin this walk in the village of Bamburgh beneath the walls of its iconic castle and head north along the wilder side of Bamburgh Beach. Stopping off at Harkess Lighthouse and the famous Stag Rock, we’re soon heading for Budle Bay, an important part of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. Hidden amongst the dunes is a World War II gun battery, huge and unmoving it’s one of a number of remaining defensive features that litter the coast. On the shore itself is the last of the quays from the days when this was a working port, sad and neglected, it’s slowly returning to the sea. If the tide allows, we stay on the shore, otherwise we have to take an inland path before heading over and through the nearby farmland and back to Bamburgh. There are some great views along the way and in the village, some fine tea shops and pubs to relax in and share the memories of a great Footsteps walk.  

Thursday 6th Jul — Sunset on the Pilgrim's Way to Lindisfarne, 7 miles (11 Km) 5.00 (4-5 hours)

Sunset on the Pilgrim’s Way to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

We walk in the footsteps of the Saints and early Christians along the ancient Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route to Lindisfarne, which has been in use for at least 1500 years.  You can go barefoot if you wish, it’s certainly warm enough and it’s a lovely squishy sort of walk on the mud and sand.  If not barefoot, then we recommend you wear your wellies for this walk; we do have to splash through a bit of water on the way across. As we cross the wide open space between the mainland and the Island, listen out for the singing seals, you’ll remember that mournful, magical sound for a long time.  Then as the sun begins to set, we make the return journey across the bay, but this time we'll be walking towards the setting sun, an unforgettable memory of the Northumberland Coast.

The walks are between 6 & 12 miles (10 - 20 Km) in distance. Times vary, but a 6 mile (10 Km) walk takes about 3.5 hours to complete.

Most walks begin at 9.30am unless stated, or by prior arrangement, please ask if you want to start a little later in the morning. Our walks across the sands on the Pilgrim's Way to Lindisfarne are determined by the tide, so start times will vary.

‘Footsteps - walking the beauty of Northumberland’ is a Member of:
North Northumberland Tourism Association | www.nnta.org

Your guide Patrick Norris holds the Hill and Moorland Leader Award and is a full member of the
Mountain Training Association | www.mountain-training.org