Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, England. Janis Turk photo.
Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, England. Janis Turk photo.

Guided walks for explorers of all ages in Northumberland National Park Families and walkers of all ages and abilities will be able to explore the breath-taking landscapes, wildlife and history of Northumberland thanks to an extensive programme of guided walks led by National Park Volunteers. Also new for 2016 is a selection of guided walks for families and young children.

The 2016 Volunteer Guided Walk program launches on 28 March. It features over 70 routes of all types and grades covering the length and breadth of the Park, from the Cheviots in the North to Hadrian’s Wall in the South. The Guided Walks are part of the activity programme connected to The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre. The Sill was awarded £7.75 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015. Its purpose is to open up the landscapes of Northumberland National Park and surrounding areas to a broad range of new people including children, families, and those who are less confident at exploring natural places.

The Volunteer Guided Walk program for 2016 runs from March to October and is specifically designed to give people of all ages and abilities an opportunity to explore the history and natural environment within the Park. Dave Richardson, Northumberland National Park Volunteer Development Officer, explains: “We want to encourage more people to explore, discover and enjoy the Park’s unique history and stunning landscapes, but most importantly, to feel confident doing so.

That’s why we’ve launched our most extensive Guided Walk program to date. “We have a fantastic team of dedicated volunteers who are extremely knowledgeable about what makes the National Park so special. They are fantastic at bringing the spectacular sights to life with stories from the past and interesting facts about what people will see. “The new Volunteer Guided Walks for families are an exciting addition to the programme. They give children and young people an opportunity to have lots of fun exploring the wildlife, history and geology of the National Park in a safe and informal setting.” Between April and October there are over 70 Volunteer Guided Walks of all types and grades taking place across the Park.

The first is ‘Crag Lough & Sycamore Gap’ on Bank Holiday Monday 28 March. It’s a moderate 4.5 mile route and starts at Steel Rigg car park. It is themed around the history of the Hadrian’s Wall area including the Border Reivers and the unique geology of the Whin Sill on which the wall was built. The first Family Guided Walk is called ‘Junior Trekkers – Be a Nature Detective’. It takes place on Saturday 2 April at Walltown Quarry Country Park. Volunteer Guided Walks start at just £5 per person.

For the full program visit this website.  The Northumberland National Park also offers more confident walkers a programme of down-loadable self-guided routes called ‘Rangers Favorite Walks’. They have information on the route, the wildlife and history along the way. The walk grades are easy to moderate and each route is marked with a grade accordingly. There are six all together covering Hadrian’s Wall, North Tyne & Redesdale, Coquetdale and the Cheviots. For downloadable routes: