Northumberland National Park is the northernmost national park in England and was designated as a National Park in 1956. It covers an area of more than 405 sq miles from just south of Hadrian's Wall to the Cheviot Hills on the border with Scotland. The park lies entirely within Northumberland, covering about a quarter of the county.
With less than 2,000 residents, Northumberland National Park is justifiably celebrated as the countryís most tranquil area. This is a landscape of livestock farms, conifer forests and heather moors, the moors are home to some of the countryís last remaining breeding pairs of the curlew, which is why it is the National Parkís emblem. The valleys and tributaries provide the perfect habitat for salmon and trout, dippers and grey wagtails, while old haymeadows, light the slopes with the colour of thousands of wild flowers in summer.
Along its western edge, the park adjoins Kielder Water and Forest Park, incorporating the largest man-made woodland in Europe and the largest artificial lake in the United Kingdom by capacity.
Things to do
Incorporating the Cheviot Hills, the Simonside Ridge and Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland National Park offers some of the best hill walking and spectacular vistas found anywhere in Britain. From short leisurely strolls and picturesque village rambles to more challenging hill and moorland treks, the parkís 1100 kilometres of public rights of way include two national and many regional trails.
Northumberland is a mecca for the bike. Quiet country lanes and meandering river valley saunters offer ideal family cycling; mountain bikers can find intense challenges at Kielder and serious road cyclists will enjoy wild open moorland blasts following one of the many way-marked cycle routes.
The wide open spaces and special habitats of Northumberland National Park offer plenty of opportunities for the keen bird watcher, the Harthope Valley in the Cheviots and Greenlee Lough at Hadrianís Wall with its bird hide are both excellent spots for nature watching.
A satellite map of the UK at night shows why stargazing at Kielder observatory or at the National Parkís International Dark Sky Discovery Site at Cawfields on Hadrianís Wall is exceptionally rewarding. In the North Tyne, the Rede, the Coquet and the Glen, the National Park also offers some of the best salmon and trout fishing, thanks to the cleanest water sources in in the country.