Buffering with the Scottish Border, The Cheviots includes vast swathes of the Northumberland National Park – the least populated of all the UK’s national parks put together.
Here, the lofty peaks of the Otterburn Ranges, the Cheviots and Simonside Hills jut from heather-clad countryside to meet big skies. Pack a picnic and head out to quiet valleys like Breamish, where ancient hay meadows at Barrowburn form a riot of colour in summertime and are a wildlife haven throughout the year.
For centuries these hills and valleys were the stomping grounds of the infamous Border Reivers. Their bloody and violent way of living has left a legacy of pele towers and fortified buildings you can explore today.
For a more recent historic experience, head to Cragside. Built by the industrial genius and inventor William Armstrong, Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity.
Ablaze with heather, the hills surrounding Coquetdale’s capital Rothbury hold many secrets, like the mysterious cup-and-ring rock at Lordenshaws.
See elusive wild animal herds including Northumberland’s Neolithic goats at Yeavering Bell (hill of goats) and Chillingham’s famous Wild Cattle.
Many a bitter battle was fought on Northumberland soil. The peaceful countryside at Flodden belies the infamous and bloody clash between English and Scots soldiers that changed the course of history forever.
Fuel up for a day’s exploring at Wooler, the Cheviots’ gateway town. Its busy main street has inns, specialist shops and grocery stores, ideal for stocking up on supplies.