Nature watching

The North Pennines has wonderful wonderful wildlife owing to the variety of interwoven habitats that are found here. These habitats include moorland, upland hay meadows, woodland rivers and reservoirs.

There are many great sites in the North Pennines from which to see our important flora and fauna. The North Pennines is home to 40% of the UK’s species rich upland hay meadows. Some of the beautiful wildflowers found in these meadows include wood cranes-bill, globeflower, marsh hawks-beard and melancholy thistle. Our Hay Time meadow walks are a great way to see them.

There are a number of woodland walks in the AONB such as Derwent Gorge and the National Trust's Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, which allow you to see many of their characteristic species of plants and wildlife.

Several of the North Pennines Bird Walks take you to places to see moorland bird species and habitats like blanket bog and heather moorland, which turns a glorious shade of purple in August. The Pennine Way National Trail in Teesdale and the Weardale Way both closely follow the courses of the River Tees and Wear.  There are also wildlife hides at Derwent Reservoir and the RSPB Geltsdale Nature Reserve.


Allen Banks & Staward Gorge: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 3

Pied flycatcher © NPAP
In spring and early summer the ancient woodland at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge bursts with the songs of birds such as the wood warbler and willow warbler, song thrush and wren. At quieter times of year these woods are still well worth a visit. In autumn the trees are a blaze of orange and yellow while rich clusters of fungi decorate the woodland floor. Even in winter, the activity of resident woodland birds provides a welcome contrast to the comparative quiet of the surrounding countryside.
Location:
The National Trust car park at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge (NY797641).
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Allendale: Hay Time Walk 1

Great burnet © NPAP/Rebecca Barrett
Take a 2 hour walk around South Wooley Farm in Allendale and get close to one of the world’s rarest and most endangered habitats, Upland Hay Meadows. There are only about 11 square kilometres of upland hay meadows left in the whole of the UK. Just under half of these are here in the North Pennines Area of Oiutstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark. This walk takes you along country lanes and public footpaths through, or alongside, several hay meadows on the farm. Please keep to the paths, leave gates as you find them and keep dogs under close control, preferably on a short lead.
Location:
Starting from the car park in Allendale Town (NY837558).
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Allenheads Geotrail

Above Allenheads © NPAP
The landscape around Allenheads has been over 300 million years in the making. From tropical seas and deltas to minerals and miners – all have played their part in shaping this beautiful landscape. This 5km circular walk will introduce you to some of the special features of the landscape around Allenheads. By spotting clues in the moors, fields and buildings you’ll find out how to read the landscape and discover more about its fascinating past.
Location:
Starting from Allenheads car park (NY859453 / NE47 9HJ) in the East Allen Valley.
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Ark on the Edge - Animal Rescue Centre, Teesdale

Ark on the Edge © Ark on the Edge
Ark on the edge is an animal rescue centre and sanctuary and has a fully equipped wildlife education centre and a mile-long nature trail. The centre offers courses in animal care and group visits are welcome. It is open to the public to visit, see the animals, walk the nature trail, or you can do a spot of pond dipping. Ark on the Edge welcomes disabled visitors, call for details (01833 630505).
Location:
Woolley Hill Farm, Woodland, Co. Durham, DL13 5RX (NZ044249)
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Ashes Quarry Geotrail

Ashes Quarry above Stanhope in Weardale © NPAP/Neil Diment
Here, for 70 years and more, hundreds of men toiled by hand with simple tools to dig the Great Limestone out of the Weardale fells, just a short distance from the centre of Stanhope. They left behind a huge, mile-long hole in the ground which today, over 60 years since they downed tools, nature is slowly reclaiming. This 2-mile circular route follows the paths the quarrymen would have once taken to work. It rewards a bit of a climb at the start with fantastic views over Stanhope and a fascinating insight into Weardale's industrial past.
Location:
Starting from the Durham Dales Centre car park in Stanhope (NY996392 / DL13 2FJ).
Distance:
3 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:

Baldersdale: Hay Time Walk 3

Species rich meadow © NPAP/Rebecca Barrett
This short walk in Baldersdale visits some of the most spectacular hay meadows in the North Pennines. It also passes close to Hury Reservoir, a popular site for over-wintering wildfowl such as mallard, teal, tufted duck and goosander. The best time to see the flowers is between April and August. Meadows are great for water voles as they favour stream sides with a wide range of flowering plants. The North Pennines is one of their last strongholds
Location:
Starting from the small car park at Fiddler House (NY971189).
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Baybridge Picnic Area

The River Derwent runs alongside this small picnic area. The river used to be the boundary between County Durham and Northumberland. Hundreds of years ago the river changed its course but the boundary stayed the same and this is why the picnic site, although north of the river, belongs to Durham County Council. The sound of the flowing water is very peaceful and this is a nice place to stop and have a picnic. While sitting, look out for dippers and kingfishers by the water and buzzards flying overhead. Baybridge is an ideal starting point for local walks. Within easy reach are moorland walks, woodland walks through places such as Deborah Wood and Gibraltar, wonderful riverside walks to Derwent Reservoir and an easy access route to the historic village of Blanchland.
Location:
Baybridge is located near the B6306 near Blanchland. From Blanchland head west for 0.5 mile. The site is signposted from the road. The nearest postcode for GPS navigation is DH8 9UB,
Access:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Blackton Reservoir: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 14

Oystercatcher © NPAP
The meadows, pastures and allotments of Baldersdale support large numbers of breeding waders which make an impressive sight during the spring and summer months. Like all areas of open water in the North Pennines, Blackton Reservoir also provides a refuge for wildfowl during the harsh winter months. This area is therefore worth a visit at any time of year.
Location:
Starting from the small car park at the road end (NY935176).
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Blanchland

Blanchland © NPAP/Shane Harris
The small village of Blanchland, with its honey-coloured cottages, is perhaps the most attractive settlement in the North Pennines. Blanchland means 'white lands' - almost certainly a reference to the white habits (cloaks) of the Premonstratesian monks of the Abbey. The village has a tea room, shop, pub, childrens' playground and easy access walks.
Location:
Blanchland in the Upper Derwent Valley (NY966504).
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Blanchland Geotrail

Blanchland © NPAP/Shane Harris
The landscape around Blanchland has been over 300 million years in the making. From tropical seas and deltas to glaciers, minerals and miners – all have played their part in shaping this beautiful landscape. This 6km circular walk will introduce you to some of the special features of the landscape around Blanchland. By spotting clues in the moors, fields and buildings you’ll find out how to ‘read’ the landscape and discover more about its fascinating past. The sections opposite give some background information about how the local rocks and minerals formed, and tell you a bit about the area’s mining heritage.
Location:
Starting from Blanchland car park (NY964504 / DH8 9TA - nearest).
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Recreation opportunities:

Blanchland: Along the river bank (A trail of three tails!)

Blanchland in bloom © NPAP/Shane Harris
This short walk takes you from the village of Blanchland along the River Derwent to the hamlet of Baybridge and back. You'll walk back to Blanchland through lovely mixed woodlands and perhaps get a glimpse of the elusive Water Vole - if you're really, really lucky! The path may be wet and muddy in places and you will come across exposed tree roots.
Location:
Staring from Blanchland car park (NY964505).
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Blanchland: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 5

Dipper © NPAP
This short walk from the attractive and historic village of Blanchland combines both woodland and river habitats. Birds such as coal tit, goldcrest and dipper are active throughout the year. During the breeding season, more elusive species such as the pied flycatcher and spotted flycatcher can also be seen. Blanchland is sited within the remains of a monastery founded by Premonstratensian Monks in the 12th century. The Lord Crewe Arms hotel was originally built as the Abbot’s lodge, guest house and kitchens of the Abbey.
Location:
Starting from the car park in Blanchland (NY964505).
Distance:
3 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Bowlees Visitor Centre

Bowlees Visitor Centre    © NPAP
Bowlees Visitor Centre, run by the North Pennines AONB Partnership, is a fantastic base for exploring Upper Teesdale, with footpath links to Low Force, High Force, Newbiggin and the Pennine Way. The Centre provides information and displays on the geology and landscape, wildlife and people of Upper Teesdale and the wider North Pennines. You'll find a delicious range of food and drinks and our shop stocks nature inspired gifts and books. You'll find a range of special events are running at the Centre throughout the year. You can also hire the venue for family get-togethers, parties and meetings. We have a range of outdoor cooking facilities which can be pre-booked. The Centre is dog-friendly and you'll find free Wi-Fi access, an iGlass (24-hour information touch screen) and an electric car-charging point. Follow the Richard Watson Trail from the Centre - a 2¾-mile circular route exploring the life and times of Richard Watson, Victorian lead miner and poet. The most popular walk is probably the High Force-Low Force Round. The Centre is also an official Dark Sky Discovery Site.
Location:
Newbiggin, Bowlees, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Co. Durham, DL12 0XE (grid ref - NY906281). 01833 622145.
Area:
Facilities nearby

Burnhope Head: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 7

Merlin © NPAP
Even in the depths of winter the heather moorland at Burnhope Head is home to large numbers of red grouse. Seeming to catapult from the heather in display whilst giving their loud “get back, get back” call, red grouse are a dramatic sight. During spring and summer their numbers are swelled by a multitude of breeding waders and the moorland seems to burst with life. With sweeping views all around, this is always an impressive walk.
Location:
Starting from the large lay-by near Dead Friars Stone (NY973453).
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Cow Green Geological Trail

Cauldron Snout on the River Tees © Natural England/Charlie Hedley
The trail will introduce many of the rocks which make the Teesdale landscape so special and which make the dale a haven for rare and interesting plants. This trail is within Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve (NNR), an internationally important place for wildlife and earth heritage. The NNR is managed by Natural England in partnership with Raby and Strathmore Estates and local farmers. Do examine the rocks, minerals and plants you will see along the way but please do not collect them: leave them for others to enjoy.
Location:
Starting from Wheelhead Sike car park at Cow Green.
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Cowshill (Weardale): North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 8

Short-eared owl © NPAP
The pastures and allotments in Upper Weardale form a distinctive fringe around the edge of the heather moorland. Typically tussocky with clumps of rushes, these grasslands are an important nesting habitat for wading birds and large numbers can be seen and heard during the breeding season. The adjacent moorland is home to red grouse and golden plover and may sometimes be graced by the presence of a short-eared owl.
Location:
Starting from the car park at Cowshill (NY856406).
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Derwent Gorge: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 6

Redstart © NPAP
The upland oak woodland of the Derwent Gorge is a dramatic relic of the once extensive forests of the North Pennines. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England, this woodland contains many interesting and unusual plants such as sweet woodruff, enchanters’ nightshade and wood bitter-cress as well as a great range of resident and migratory birds. Views across the woodland canopy from the gorge sides are impressive and are excellent for bird watching. The walk begins on the edge of the wood in an area of arable farmland, offering opportunities for you to see both farmland and woodland birds.
Location:
Starting from the grassy parking area at the crossroad between Wallish Walls and Crooked Oak (NZ057500).
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Derwent Reservoir - Walks, rides and wildlife

Derwent Reservoir © NPAP/Shane Harris
Derwent Reservoir is within the North Pennines AONB and, after Kielder, is the second largest reservoir in the region. There is a multi-user path from Pow Hill Country Park (south shore) to the dam at the eastern end of the reservoir and then round the north shore to Millshield Picnic Area. You can find out more about the reservoir, its wildlife and its history as you go, on foot or by bike. Cyclists can make a longer circular route around the reservoir by combining the shore path with local roads.
Location:
Derwent Reservoir is in the north-eastern part of the North Pennines AONB, between Blanchland and Edmundbyers - the south shore is in County Durham and the north shore is in Northumberland. Start from Pow Hill Country Park (NZ011517 / DH8 9NU - nearest) or Millshield Picnic Area (NZ013532 / DH8 9PT - nearest).
Distance:
3 km
Facilities nearby
Interests:

Derwent Reservoir and Pow Hill Country Park

Couple walking at Pow Hill Country Park © NPAP
Welcome to Derwent Reservoir and Pow Hill Country Park! This leaflet is one of a number of ways in which you can find out about the wildlife and history of Derwent Reservoir and Pow Hill Country Park. The heathland around the reservoir is a haven for reptiles like Adders, Slow Worms and Common Lizards. The reservoir is also important to many species of birds which use it as a migratory stop over and breeding site.
Location:
Routes starting from either Derwent Reservoir car park or Pow Hill Country Park car park.
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Off road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Derwent Reservoir: North Pennine Birdwalks - Site 1

Black headed gull © NPAP
Derwent Reservoir can be an interesting place to watch birds at any time of year. Wildfowl such as greylag goose, mallard, teal and tufted duck may be seen year-round, their numbers being swelled during autumn and winter by wigeon, pochard and goldeneye. Large flocks of gulls also congregate on the reservoir during the winter, most notably black headed, common and herring gull. Other species of interest include grey heron, goosander, cormorant and great crested grebe.
Location:
Multiple viewing points around the reservoir.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Dufton Pike: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 11

Wheatear © NPAP
Soaring above the Eden Valley, the North Pennine escarpment is a striking feature above Dufton. This walk circumnavigates Dufton Pike, offering dramatic views of the limestone crags of Great Rundale. Ideal habitat for buzzards, these birds are regularly seen in this area. More elusive, the ring ouzel may also be found, singing from one of the gnarled hawthorn trees that dot the hillside.
Location:
Starting from the car park in Dufton (NY689249).
Distance:
7 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

East Allen Valley Wildflower Walk

Allenheads © © NPAP & Elizabeth Pickett
A lovely 5.5 mile (9km) walk from Allenheads exploring the wonderful wildlife of wildflowers in the East Allen Valley. This circular walk will introduce you to some of the special plants of the North Pennines and the creatures that depend on them. Along the way you'll discover plants that are adapted to the harsh conditions of the area and get a bee's-eye view of finding food.
Location:
Allenheads parking area
Distance:
9 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Eden Outdoor Adventures

Gyhll scrambling © Eden Outdoor Adventures
Eden Outdoor Adventures is a small, friendly, family company run by Ian and Melanie. We provide tailor made courses for individuals, families and groups. We believe that by tailor making your course we can offer quality instruction and guiding with the personal touch, allowing people to get the most out of their time with us. We work hard to understand your needs and to design days to offer a challenge and to make your dreams come true. To help do this, Eden Outdoor Adventures draw upon a great deal of knowledge and experience from working in the outdoors and the areas in which we operate. They also hold National Qualifications in the activities we offer to ensure you the highest standards. We offer half day to multiple day trips in the Lake District, Eden Valley, Northern Pennines, Scotland and Wales as well as further afield. From guided tours, low level family walks through wooded valleys, introductory climbing and canoeing to demanding mountain and river trips in wild places. Wherever your dreams take you, let Eden Outdoor Adventures help make them come true.
Location:
Ousby, Penrith, Cumbria.

Egglesburn Wood

Dipper © www.northeastwildlife.co.uk
This woodland came into Durham County Council ownership when the sand and gravel quarry closed in the mid 1960s. Since that time the trees have seeded into the quarry and we now have mixed broadleaved woodland. Eggleston Burn runs along the western edge beside the old sand quarry. In the summer sand martins nest in the cliff face and can be seen from the bottom path. Other birds to watch out for are dippers and birds of prey such as red kite and buzzard. Deer and badger occasionally stray through the wood and many rabbits burrow through the soft sandy soil. Every now and then an otter is sighted on its journey along the river. There are fantastic views over Teesdale and Mickle Fell, which, standing at 788m, is the highest hill in County Durham.
Location:
1 mile west of Eggleston on the B6282 between Eggleston and Middleton-in-Teesdale. The entrance is next to Egglesburn bridge. Nearest postcode for GPS navigation is DL12 0BD. There is limited parking at the entrance.
Terrain:
Off road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:
Download:

Garrigill: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 10

Common sandpiper © NPAP
The South Tyne is a narrow, fast flowing river as it tumbles north from the village of Garrigill. Travelling along its bank, this walk offers you the chance to see species such as common sandpiper, oystercatcher and grey wagtail. The surrounding fields abound with breeding waders during spring and summer and during winter large flocks of fieldfare and redwing may be seen.
Location:
Starting from a small parking area in Garrigill next to the red phone box (NY745416)
Distance:
9 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest © NPAP/Louise Taylor
County Durham's largest forest is a mixture of woodland, meadows and forest. There are excellent walking, cycling and horse riding trails for all abilities. The forest also has a childrens' adventure playground, tea room, cycle hire, shop and downhill mountain bike course.
Location:
Hamsterley Forest (NZ091312 / DL13 3QH).
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:

Hannah's Meadow Nature Reserve

Hannah's Meadow © NPAP/Shane Harris
Hannah's Meadow Nature Reserve has some of the least improved and species rich upland hay meadows in upper Durham. The meadows were previously farmed by Hannah Hauxwell, who managed the meadows using traditional methods that avoided adding artificial fertilizers or reseeding. By doing so the species rich habitat hay meadow habitat that evolved over centuries was maintained. When Hannah retired in 1988 Durham Wildlife Trust purchased her farm and they now manage it as a nature reserve. An unmanned visitor centre at the site provides information about Hannah and her special meadows. Note facilities are located at Balderhead Reservoir car park.
Location:
From Barnard Castle follow the B6277 to Romaldkirk and then follow the Balderhead road via Hunderthwaite. The reserve is adjacent to the public road a 1.5 mile east of the Balderhead Reservoir car park. The Pennine Way footpath runs through the reserve. The grid reference refers to the Balderhead Reservoir car park.
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Harwood Beck and Widdybank: North Pennine Birdwalks - Site 3

Redshank © NPAP
The meadows and pastures around Harwood Beck and Widdybank are some of the best places to see breeding waders and black grouse. If you sit quietly in your car you may be rewarded with the sight of a snipe shepherding its chicks through the vegetation or a precocious young lapwing chick pecking for food in the short turf.
Location:
Static viewing from a grassy verge on the road to Cow Green Reservoir.
Terrain:
On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Hayberries Nature Reserve

Sand martins © www.northeastwildlife.co.uk
Hayberries is a reclaimed sand and gravel quarry which is now a haven for wildlife. parts of the quarry cliff have been retained and put to good use by a colony of sand martins which arrive from Africa at the end of march. They set up home by burrowing into areas of hard sand found along the old quarry face to the west of the site. This part of the site is fenced to prevent disturbance to the birds. Please do not climb over the fence, the sand martins can be seen quite easily from the car park as they collect nesting material. The sandy soil is a rare habitat which contains specialist plants as well as invertebrates such as solitary bees and wasps. The grassland has many native species of wildflowers colonising the bare ground. Of particular note are a number of rare flowers of the Alchemilla family, commonly known as Lady's Mantle, some of which are only found in County Durham. The ponds attract large numbers of frogs and toads during the breeding season, along with many aquatic plants and insects. The woodland at the eastern end of the site is mainly sycamore with a few old oak and elm trees. You may see a variety of birds including long-tailed tits, woodpeckers, tree-creepers and heron. Buzzards circle the skies above, along with curlew and lapwing.
Location:
Hayberries is located on the B6281 between Eggleston and Mickleton, approximately 1.5 miles west of the junction of the B6281 and B6282 at Eggleston, signposted from the road. The nearest postcode for GPS navigation is DL12 9EQ.
Terrain:
Off road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

High Force and Bowlees Geotrail

High Force ©
This 8km circular walk, from Bowlees Visitor Centre or High Force car park, will introduce you to some of the special features of the landscape around High Force and Low Force waterfalls. You'll discover rocks with dramatic origins, ice age features, ancient settlements, lead mining heritage and wonderful wildlife.
Location:
Circular walk which can be started from Bowlees Visitor Centre (NY906282 / DL12 0XE) or High Force car park (NY885286 / DL12 0XH) in Upper Teesdale.
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Howden Burn (Weardale): North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 13

Lapwing © NPAP
Passing through grassland and up onto heather moorland, this walk provides splendid views across the open uplands and down to the Bollihope Burn. It is a fine area to watch wading birds during the breeding season when the air is filled with their songs and displays. Redstart, great spotted woodpecker, tits and warblers can also be seen or heard in the riverside woodland.
Location:
Starting on short turf at roadside beside the Bollihope Burn (NZ005349).
Distance:
3 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Ireshopeburn (Weardale): Hay Time Walk 2

Path to the hay meadows in Ireshopeburn © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
Take a 2 hour walk in Weardale, a landscape that has been farmed and mined for centuries. This five kilometre walk close to Ireshopeburn crosses some beautiful meadows, with superb views of the surrounding moorland and villages in the dale below. The best time to go is between April and August to catch the wildflowers in full bloom. It is still a worthwhile walk outside of these times due to presence of late blooming flowers can be seen in mid Autumn and wading birds in the Spring.
Location:
The walk starts in the village of Ireshopeburn in Weardale (NY866386).
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:

Killhope Lead Mining Museum

Washing Floor at Killhope © Killhope Museum
A visit to Killhope, the award winning North of England Lead Mining Museum, is a unique and unforgettable experience. Killhope is a fully restored nineteenth century Victorian lead mine, where you can experience for yourself the life and work of the lead mining families of the Pennine dales. Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are here to help you get the most from your visit; they are what make Killhope a multi award wining venue. Killhope is famous for its huge working waterwheel, but there is much more to Killhope. You can experience the mineshop where miners lived. You can work as a 'washerboy' looking for minerals and galena (which is the lead ore). You can see the working machinery (which Fred Dibnah admired so much) in the 'jigger house'. But above all, Killhope's award-winning mine tour is unique. From the moment you put on your hard hats, cap-lamps and wellingtons, your visit becomes an unforgettable adventure! Killhope holds the largest collection of Spar Boxes which sits alongside Magnificent Minerals and the Pennine Jewels. Two permanent commissions, Letters of Lead and Language of Lead, part of museumaker, a prestigious national project. We also have an array of art works and installations which adorn our visitor centre and site. You can stroll round Killhope's woodland paths (maybe with a nature backpack). You will see some wildlife and red squirrels. Take a break in Killhope Cafe and sample our wonderful home made soups, pasties and cakes. Our gift shop stocks a wide range of books, maps, keepsakes and souvenirs. Killhope - a great day out in the country for all the family!
Location:
Near Cowshill, Upper Weardale, Co. Durham, DL13 1AR.
Terrain:
Steep sections
Area:

Knock Geological Trail

Great Dun Fell © NPAP/Shane Harris
This different rocks and landscape features along this trail tells the story of the events and geological processes that have created this landscape over nearly 500 million years of Earth history. Stout boots, warm clothing and good waterproofs are advised as even in summer the climate of the North Pennine escarpment can be harsh and cloud can descend quickly. Allow a full day for the complete walk. Use of an Ordnance Survey map and compass is recommended for this route. In places the route passes old mine workings, parts of which may be unstable. Please keep to footpaths and do not attempt to enter old tunnels or any old surface excavations. Do examine the rocks and minerals you will see along the way but please do not collect them: leave them for others to enjoy.
Location:
At the end of a minor road west of Knock (NY686288).
Distance:
10 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Lambley and the South Tyne: North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 1

Curlew © NPAP
This walk combines a number of different North Pennine habitats to dramatic effect. You will pass through an expansive area of rushy allotment adjacent to heather moorland where in spring and summer the air is alive with the sounds and sights of numerous breeding waders. The views across the South Tyne Valley are similarly impressive. By contrast, the second leg of the walk passes along the route of a disused railway line that is largely clothed in woodland, offering tantalising glimpses of the surrounding countryside and excellent opportunities to see and hear woodland birds. The walk centres on Lambley Viaduct, a stunning landscape and architectural feature from where the River South Tyne and its wildlife can be viewed from on high.
Location:
Lambley Viaduct – South Tyne Trail car park (NY679595).
Distance:
13 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Low Barns Nature Reserve

Red Kite © www.brianraffertywildlifephotographer/blogspot.com
Low Barns is a valuable wetland reserve and one of County Durham’s most important wildlife sites, located adjacent to the River Wear. The reserve has become important for wildlife due to the wide range of habitats including wet woodland, grassland, open water and river side, which are home to many different types of birds, mammals, plants and insects. However, Low Barns has not always been a haven for local wildlife. Originally farmland, the site underwent sand and gravel extraction until 1964 when the area was given to Durham Wildlife Trust and restored as a nature reserve. In 2003 a redundant sewage treatment works on the site was replaced with a new reedbed habitat and a boardwalk which enabled public access with minimal disturbance to wildlife. The site’s flat terrain and large accessible bird hides make it an ideal place to visit for everyone. The Visitor Centre has a coffee shop that sells light refreshments, books, gifts, locally made bird boxes and a full range of bird food and feeders from the award winning Vine House Farms. The centre and bird hides provide a wealth of information on how Low Barns was created and the wildlife it supports. Screens in the centre show images from the bird feeding station and bird boxes around the site, and there is a display of wildlife photography provided by the Low Barns Photography Group.
Location:
Durham Wildlife Trust, Low Barns Nature Reserve, Witton-le-Wear, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 0AG.
Terrain:
Off road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Low Force Geotrail

Low Force in Teesdale © NPAP/Simon Wilson
A 2 ½ mile (4km) walk exploring landscape, rocks, fossils and mines in Upper Teesdale. This landscape, which has been 300 million years in the making, has been shaped by tropical seas, molten rock, glacial movement and more recently by people. This circular walk will introduce you to some of the special features of this landscape associated with these processes. By spotting clues in the fields, walls, crags and River Tees you'll find out how to read the landscape and discover more about its fascinating past.
Location:
Starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre (NY906282 / DL12 0XE) in Upper Teesdale
Distance:
4 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Download:

Newbiggin and the Carriers’ Way

Walkers on the heather moors © NPAP/Shane Harris
This leaflet is one of a series designed to help you discover the treasures of Blanchland - both natural and man-made. This attractive walk takes you from Blanchland, along the River Derwent, up on to open moorland. The moorland is exposed and can experience harsh weather. The wild landscape surrounding Blanchland bustles with evidence of people, from Mesolithic hunters to lead miners and modern land managers. Everywhere you look you see the imprint of our ancestors. Many landscape scars have been hidden by nature and it is hard to believe that in the not-so-distant past this quiet landscape was once home to major industry.
Location:
The walk starts from Blanchland car park (NY964505)
Distance:
14 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Site 2: Ouston Fell

Swallow © NPAP
Whitfield Moor and Ouston Fell support large numbers of breeding waders and red grouse. This is a good place to watch displaying waders and, if you’re lucky, hunting birds of prey. It is also an excellent spot to simply enjoy the evocative calls and songs of moorland birds during spring and summer. Blocks of conifer woodland which surround the site often provide breeding sites for birds of prey. Look out for buzzards soaring overhead and listen for twittering flocks of siskins.
Location:
Static viewing from the large lay-by near the conifer plantation on the A686.
Terrain:
On road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Over the hill to Cowbyre Farm

Derwent Reservoir from above Blanchland © NPAP
This is a varied walk that begins with a climb up from the village of Blanchland. The walk passes through woodland and pasture with magnificent views of the Derwent Valley and Edmundbyers Common, finally dropping down to the river and returning to the village.
Location:
Staring from Blanchland car park.
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

RSPB Geltsdale Walking Trails

Stagsike Cottage at RSPB Geltsdale © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
Set in the beautiful North Pennines AONB, Geltsdale is home to black grouse, birds of prey and breeding wading birds and is ideal for walking. There are 4 way marked trails leading from the car park of Howgill. The Stagsike trail will take 1-2 hours to walk and the other trails a little longer. Stagsike Cottages are approximately a 40 minute walk from the parking area and provide an information point and toilets. Many of the trails are on existing tracks but boots are essential for much of the year and waterproofs are recommended. There is no general vehicle access to Stagsike Cottages but disabled access can be pre-arranged by phoning the reserve (01697 746717). Trails are open at all times and the information point is open between 9am and 5pm. Dogs are welcome but they should be kept on a lead as the reserve is a working farm. A bus services the village of Hallbankgate, which is approximately a mile away.
Location:
Starting from Clesketts car park (NY588584), near Hallbankgate.
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Slitt Wood and West Rigg Geotrail

Slitt Wood waterfall © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
This route reveals much about the area’s geology, which is strongly linked to this little valley’s industrial past. You will see where lead and iron ores were mined and processed and how the ores were transported out of the valley. Slitt Wood and West Rigg Opencut are legally protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Slitt Wood is designated for its variety of habitats including woodland, lime-rich grassland, fen, open water and the revegetated workings of Slitt and Middlehope Mines. Many different types of plants and birds can be spotted at different times of year, including metal tolerant plants known as metallophytes. West Rigg is designated for its geological importance. It provides an excellent illustration of the formation of iron ore and the opencast ironstone workings which expose the structure of a lead vein. Many of the industrial remains also have legal protection as scheduled monuments of national archaeological importance.
Location:
Starting from the lay-by in Westgate.
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Spring Gentian

Spring gentian © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
Teesdale is a botanist’s paradise, but one plant stands out: the spring gentian. Spring gentians are best seen on warm, bright days, from April to early June. A sun worshipper, this little flower closes as the weather becomes dull, leaving nothing to see but small, dark-blue spikes. However the flowers quickly open again when the sun emerges from behind the clouds. Hidden among the short vegetation, spring gentians often go unnoticed, but when you do find them they stop you in your tracks with their startling deep-blue flowers. The flowers are typically 15 to 30mm across. Look out for a delicate plant with a solitary, intense-blue flower, like a tiny, five-pointed star. It is surprisingly small for a flower with such a big reputation! You can see gentians in flower from many public footpaths in Upper Teesdale. Please stick to the paths to protect these and other rare plants.
Location:
Car park at Forest-in-Teesdale.
Distance:
11 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Download:

Take a walk in the woods…

Walker at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
The North Pennines conjures up images of purple heather covered moors, lead mining remains and remote dales where traditional ways of farming still survive. But there are delightful pockets of woodland to explore too. At the National Trust property at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge you’ll find the largest concentration of woodlands in the North Pennines AONB. This woodland has 5 trails of varying length allowing you to experience the wonders of this woodland whatever your level of fitness.
Location:
Starting from either the National Trust car park at Allen Banks or Haydon Bridge.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Tees Bank Flowers: Flowers and Ferns Holwick Head Bridge to High Force

This 0.45km (1/4 mile) walk beside the River Tees enters the Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve and has a wealth of wildlife, including numerous plant species. Many are common British species and some belong to the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ – a uniquely rich association of plants for which Upper Teesdale is famous. The plants included here are the larger flowering ones, trees and ferns that can be seen, at the appropriate time of the year (when they are flowering), from this well-used path. Not all will be in flower on one visit. The flowering times indicated are for the peak period. To prevent trampling on inconspicuous and perhaps rare plants it is advisable to keep to the path and already trampled areas; please do not extend them.
Location:
Starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre.
Distance:
0 km
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Tees Bank Flowers: Flowers and Ferns Wynch Bridge to Scorberry Bridge

This 0.9km (1/2 mile) walk beside the River Tees has a wealth of wildlife, including over 200 plant species. Many are common British species and twelve belong to the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ — a uniquely rich association of plants for which Teesdale is famous. The plants included here are the larger flowering ones, trees and ferns that can be seen, at the appropriate time of the year (when they are flowering), from this well used path. Not all will be in flower on one visit. The flowering times indicated are for the peak period. To prevent trampling on inconspicuous and perhaps rare plants it is advisable to keep to the path and already trampled areas; please do not extend them.
Location:
Starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre.
Distance:
1 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Tees Bank Flowers: Flowers between Wynch Bridge and Holwick Head Bridge

This 1.6km (1 mile) walk beside the River Tees has a wealth of wildlife, including over 200 plant species. Many are common British species and twelve belong to the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ — a uniquely rich association of plants for which Upper Teesdale is famous. The plants included here are the larger flowering ones which can be seen, at the appropriate time of year (when they are flowering), from this well used path. Not all will be in flower on one visit. The flowering times indicated are for the peak period. To prevent trampling on inconspicuous and perhaps rareplants it is advisable to keep to the path and already trampled areas; please do not extend them.
Location:
Starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre.
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Teesdale Reservoir Walk

Hury Reservoir © NPAP/Beck Baker
This interesting walk takes in 3 of Northumbrian Waters reservoirs in Teesdale, with the opportunity to view another 3 reservoirs from the walks highpoint. The walk follows the Pennine Way from Grassholme Reservoir over moorland to reach the rocky flat-topped summit of Goldsborough Hill. Afterward you will descend to follow the shores of Hury and Blackton Reservoirs where you may see wigeon, common sandpiper and tufted duck. You will also pass by Meres beck meadow and Hannah’s meadow, which during the summer will be filled with beautiful wildflowers.
Location:
Car parks at the Northern end of the Balderhead Reservoir dam wall.
Distance:
13 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

The Chimneys and Dryburn Moor (Allen Valleys): North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 4

Golden plover © NPAP
This walk epitomises much that is characteristic of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark. High peaty moorland, the sweet melancholy call of the golden plover and the towering remains of chimneys from the area’s lead mining past. All this is surrounded by sweeping views of the dales and settlements below and can be reached without a strenuous climb!
Location:
Starting from a small road side lay-by (NY807531)
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

The Harehope Quarry Project

A view of Harehope Quarry © Tom Mercer
The Harehope Quarry Project promotes a more sustainable way of living and is a Gold Award holder in the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS). Within a former limestone quarry, the project has developed a fish farm and smallholding, a nature reserve with public access and an eco-classroom built entirely by volunteers. The project has a community events programme and delivers environmental education, field studies and education for sustainable development. The eco-classroom can also be booked for meetings, green birthday parties and other events. In addition there walks ranging from 1km to 4km using permissive paths and Rights of Way around the quarry. Story walk leaflets are available as well as information about the Harehope Quarry Project. Note on site parking is limited, however the quarry is a short walk from Frosterley where additional parking is available.
Location:
Frosterley, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham, DL13 2SG.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:

The National Trust - Allen Banks and Staward Gorge woodland walk

Bluebells at Allen Banks © NPAP/Shane Harris
Set on the steep valley sides of the river Allen, a tributary of the south Tyne, explore the woods and see what wildlife you can spot on this gentle riverside walk. It's the largest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland and has been here since at least medieval times. This long history has helped make it a fantastic home for flora, fauna and fungi.
Location:
Starting from Allen Banks car park.
Distance:
4 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Tindale Tarn: North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 2

Wigeon © NPAP
Located in the far north west of the AONB, Tindale Tarn is a good place to bird watch at any time of year in a highly scenic setting. A rich variety of breeding birds can be seen during spring and summer, including waders and black grouse. During the winter months, the Tarn attracts a range of wildfowl including wigeon and whooper swans. Heavily worked for zinc in the past, this area is also rich in industrial archaeology, including the remains of a quarry and smelter. The RSPB manages this site as part of their reserve at Geltsdale. An information centre is located at Stagsike Cottage which is accessible on foot. Disabled access by vehicle can be prearranged by phoning the reserve on 01697 746 717.
Location:
Small car park in Tindale (NY616594).
Distance:
9 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Tunstall Reservoir Walk

Backstone Bank wood beside Tunstall Reservoir © NPAP/Ruth Starr-Keddle
Tunstall reservoir is located within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has an excellent walk along its eastern edge through a semi-natural ancient broadleaved woodland, known as Blackstone Wood. The Tunstall reservoir walk is not only a very scenic and relaxing walk but once in the woodland offers the chance to view a variety of wildlife, including several species of waterfowl and butterflies.
Location:
At the picnic site on Leazes Lane on the western side of the reservoir.
Distance:
3 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
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Tyne Train Trails - Riding Mill to Corbridge

This 10km walk between the stations of Riding Mill and Corbridge is mainly along fields and woodland paths with some short sections on quiet country roads. There is a steep climb out of Riding Mill. The woodlands above Riding Mill and Corbridge are good places to see birds like Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Wood warblers and Woodpeckers. Note Corbridge town centre is over the bridge across the River Tyne. Corbridge has a full range of shops and services while Riding Mill has a small range of services.
Location:
Starting from Riding Mill station.
Distance:
10 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Up on the ridge: Moor House-Upper Teesdale NNR

Knock Pike and the Eden Valley © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
This walk takes you right up along the summit ridge of the Pennines. You’ll be able to see evidence of the area’s mining and quarrying history, take in some stunning views over the high Pennines, and look across the Eden Valley to the Lake District fells. On the backbone of England, around the headwaters of the River Tees, 8,800 hectares of upland country forms the Moor House–Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve (NNR). The reserve encompasses an almost complete range of upland habitats typical of the North Pennines, from lower lying hay meadows, rough grazing and juniper woods to limestone grassland, blanket bogs and the summit heaths of the high fells. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a diversity of rare habitats in one location. The remote and dramatic landscape of the reserve can be enjoyed from the Pennine Way National Trail, the Public Rights of Way network and on Open Access land.
Location:
Start point at the end of the public road from Knock village, past Knock Christian Centre (NY686288).
Distance:
12 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, Steep sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Upper Teesdale (Hangling Shaw): North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 12

Black grouse © NPAP
Upper Teesdale is one of the best places to see waders in the breeding season and black grouse throughout the year. The wide expanse of the upper dale offers stunning views of the meadows and allotments and the imposing fells of Cronkley Scar and Widdybank. The River Tees is always impressive and there’s a chance of seeing birds such as dipper, goosander and oystercatcher.
Location:
Starting from the car park at Hanging Shaw, Forest-in-Teesdale (NY867297).
Distance:
7 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Upper Teesdale Wildflower Walk

Upper Teesdale walk  © The North Pennines AONB Partnership
A beautifully capturing circular walk from the parking area at Hanging Shaw will introduce you to some of the special plants of Teesdale in the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark and the wildlife that depend on them. Along the way you will discover plants that dance and others that keep insects captive. You might even see rare bees and long-distance visitors from Africa. The spring and summer months are the best time to enjoy this walk. May and June are the time of peak activity for wading birds with June to August being the prime time for wild Flowers.
Location:
The Start and finish is the Hanging Shaw Parking area in Upper Teesdale (NY867297).
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Off road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Walks from Allendale Caravan Park

River East Allen © NPAP/Shane Harris
This set of 3 walks from Allendale Caravan Park showcase the distinct beauty and character of Allendale. On the walks you will pass through pretty hay meadows, see remnants of the areas lead mining past, encounter the abundant wildlife of the region and be exposed to the dramatic moorland landscapes on the fell above the town.
Location:
Starting from Allendale Caravan Park.
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Waterfalls and wildlife walk: Moor House-Upper Teesdale NNR

High Force © DCC/Mike Ogden
This walk follows the banks of the River Tees from Low Force, through the juniper woods up to High Force waterfall. Here you can turn round and follow the same route back or continue further upriver and follow the lower slopes of Holwick Fell to return. On the backbone of England, around the headwaters of the River Tees, 8,800 hectares of upland country forms the Moor House–Upper Teesdale National nature Reserve (NNR). The reserve encompasses an almost complete range of upland habitats typical of the North Pennines, from lower lying hay meadows, rough grazing and juniper woods to limestone grassland, blanket bogs and the summit heaths of the high fells. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a diversity of rare habitats in one location. The remote and dramatic landscape of the reserve can be enjoyed from the Pennine Way National Trail, the Public Rights of Way network and on Open Access land.
Location:
Starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre car park (NY906282) in Upper Teesdale.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Wellhope Moor (Nent Valley): North Pennine Birdwalks - Walk 9

Grey partridge © NPAP
This walk offers both stunning views across the Nent Valley and the opportunity to experience a mix of typical North Pennines upland habitats: hay meadow, pasture and allotment, heather moorland, blanket bog and upland stream. Passing a derelict mine and many old mine shafts, it also typifies the historic lead mining landscape of the area.
Location:
Starting from a small road side lay-by (NY769453).
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Whitesyke and Bentyfield Mine

Whitsyke and Bentyfield mine © NPAP/Beck Baker
The remains of this 19th century lead mine complex lie on the Garrigill Burn in the South Tyne Valley above Alston. They once formed part of an extensive complex of more than 100 lead mines operating in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries. The remains include a mine shop, a dressing floor and several mine level entrances. You can view the remaining structures from a flagstone path which follows the line of an old tramway and there are interpretative panels in place which detail the processes that occurred here. Facilities are available off site in Garrigill.
Location:
On a hairpin bend on the B 6277 above Garrigill.
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Widdybank Fell Nature Trail: Moor House-Upper Teesdale NNR

Cow Green Reservoir © NPAP/Beck Baker
This walk takes you over Widdybank Fell, along the track to Cow Green dam and Cauldron Snout waterfall. The walk follows a tarmac track with 1 large kissing gate and 3 steep sections. Suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs with strong pushers! However for the last 100m section, to view Cauldron Snout waterfall, the track is rocky and uneven. On the backbone of England, around the headwaters of the River Tees, 8,800 hectares of upland country forms the Moor House–Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve (NNR). The reserve encompasses an almost complete range of upland habitats typical of the North Pennines, from lower lying hay meadows, rough grazing and juniper woods to limestone grassland, blanket bogs and the summit heaths of the high fells. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a diversity of rare habitats in one location. The remote and dramatic landscape of the reserve can be enjoyed from the Pennine Way National Trail, the Public Rights of Way network and on Open Access land.
Location:
Starting from the Cow Green Reservoir car park (NY811309)
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:

Wild North Discovery

Wild North Discovery © Wild North Discovery
Activities centred on discovery and exploration of the natural world. We offer bushcraft and survival skills (30 years experience and qualified to teach bushcrafts to groups through the Institute for Outdoor Learning), wild food foraging (as seen on TV with Robson Green), bird watching tours, wildlife & nature exploration activities including animal tracking, pond dipping and minibeast hunts for families, and greenwood crafts including pole lathe and willow basket weaving. Activities can be booked for a half or full day for two or more people either adult or family groups. Weekend and full week activities are also available.
Location:
Harehope Quarry Project - near Frosterley in Weardale. Activities are available at other sites in Weardale and Teesdale - see website for details
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, Steep sections
Area: