Rothbury, Northumberland is a perfect place for a walking break. And did you know Northumberland National Park is the least visited of all in the UK? In all my walks and hikes here I have hardly met any people out on the trails.
Away from Hadrian’s Wall you have miles of hills and beautiful valleys to walk and explore. Expansive views and all the fresh air you could want.
The Least Visited National Park
I loved it here so much I actually lived in the National Park for a while, in a tiny little village called Hepple, just a few miles down the road from Rothbury. For walking holidays it is on a par with the dales and lakes and even better in unique ways.
My personal experience was that local tourist businesses were craving people to come and love the area as they would the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District. But I must admit there is an unfortunate undercurrent of locals that want it kept away from being commercialised like other National Parks. A real catch-22.
Geography plays a part too. When people drive up the A1 etc this far north they are heading to Scotland or maybe the Northumberland coast at Alnwick etc. Many people do not realise that inland there is a beautiful National Park packed with nature, hills and valleys to explore.
Staying In Rothbury
I would say Rothbury is a perfect starting point and place to stay as a base. A lovely pretty little town. It is to Northumberland National Park what Hawes is to the Dales. From here you can drive the country roads over the tops and through the valleys, see some amazing local landmarks and buildings like Cragside or you can walk straight out the door of your accommodation and go directly onto the tops.
A Walk Up Simonside
One such local walk is up to the top of Simonside. I always get drawn to walk up here when in town. It is a perfect length climb for so many standards. Even if you have just half a day you can get up and down, or you can extend it into a big circular. The openness plus well made tracks and paths mean it is very hard to get lost as well.
The walk passes into a forest, greens, browns, yellows of the current autumn stood out. The silence of being away from it all had really taken over. I was in my element. Hiking along with a smile in the blue skies.
I do enjoy a forest walk, even more so in Autumn.
Suddenly the trees make way for the peak of Simonside. The rocks along the top pointing the way and when you reach the very top you can be sure of a 360 degree sight of delight. Miles and miles of green, even in late October. Nature as far as the eye can see. All the better for future exploration. Even this top brings choices, but nice choices.
Paths lead in all directions enticing you along crags, through wonderful heather or to viewpoints to gather your thoughts from. It is one of those spots in the world where your head gets cleared completely,
This day alas I didn’t have time for the full circular. The charm of Rothbury was below and I had an appointment with a great pre booked dinner. That is one thing about the town. All in the hospitality business are absolutely charming and helpful.
Back to comfort, and darn great comfort it was. Linhope House is a gorgeous converted Edwardian terraced townhouse. 5 star accommodation, with all the comforts you can wish for. The hospitality is unbelievably great, I cannot stress this enough. You are made to feel totally relaxed in no time at all once stepping inside.
Baldhiker meets BaldHotelier
Tweeting in front of the roasting fire in the lounge was a treat. And the breakfast? Oh my yes the breakfast. 100% locally produced meats for Northumberland sausage, black pudding and bacon to compliment the english breakfast for a good days hiking…. Perfect!