The Cheviots are underrated. These rolling, wild and, in places, rocky Cheviot Hills do not get us much foot and tire traffic as they deserve. Adventures in the outdoors are so often about escaping built-up urban environments and returning to nature – if this is your aim and you still haven’t visited the Cheviots, get ready for your greatest escape to date.
Tucked up in the north east, the Cheviots straddle the Anglo-Scottish border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Formed from ancient lava cooling in layers, the hills have a recognisable flow to them which can create this really unique and thrilling feeling if you’re blasting down on a bike, moving with the curves and grooves of the land.
Ascend the highest peak, The Cheviot itself, to catch some stunning views of the valleys below; dive into the remarkable College Valley; or, for something more leisurely, take a stroll or ride through Harthope valley and enjoy this hot-spot for birdwatchers. And don’t forget to see the Linhope spout, one of many tumbling waterfalls in the area.
We’ve teamed up with local guides and experts to bring you the very best routes for hikers, road cyclists, and mountain bikers looking to explore the Cheviots. Each expert has provided us with a collection on Komoot of their 5 favourite trails. Let’s jump into this three-part guide.
Paul Mitchinson took us on a grand walking tour of the Cheviots. He runs North East Guides, a dedicated group who provide guided hikes, mountain skills courses, and a range of other outdoor activities in Northumberland. Paul’s choices range from a 4-hour loop through historic valleys and along old drovers trails, all the way to a multi-day wild camping adventure that’ll show you just about every corner of the Cheviots.
He’s also picked a couple of classic routes that it would simply be a crime to miss. Yeavering Bell and Humbleton Hill are two of the most iconic peaks in Northumberland National Park; you’ll ascend both on a roughly 10-mile walk, taking in the ruins of hill forts which date back as far as the Iron Age. And of course, you’ll be scaling The Cheviot. There are a fair few routes to this peak, and our pick is certainly the most fun; a bit of scrambling, and some rocky plateaus with excellent views.
Read Paul’s full guide here: Best Walks in the Cheviots
These five routes come courtesy of Mark Nelson, a devoted cyclist who you’ll find bombing along the windy roads of the Cheviots every weekend. Mark has compiled some spicy routes that should get the adrenaline pumping, especially when he calls for a turn off of public roads and onto the military roads of Otterburn Ranges. Just make sure to check the shooting schedule before you head out there!
For history buffs, the Tour of the Castles route is a real treat; it’s a beefy 40-mile circuit with opportunities to pause and admire Norham, Ford, and Etal Castle. This one also takes you down some of the quietest roads in the already-pretty-damn-quiet area, so get ready to let loose and fly. The big highlight for us is Mark’s mega-route, a full circumnavigation of the Cheviot Hills crafted from several runs that he regularly makes. Clocking in at just under 200 miles, this trip will take you a few days (unless you’re an absolute machine) but we’ve got all the info you need on where to stock up and stay.
Read the full guide here: Best Road Cycling Routes in the Cheviots
Freelance outdoor writer by night and total badass on the MTB by day, Amy Jurries brings us five routes which cover an impressive chunk of the Cheviots. This collection is truly an all-star roundup, featuring rides which pass through some of our favourite Northumberland towns (Alwinton, Wooler, Ingram, all quality spots for local grub and brews). Of course, these are just the refuelling stations. The real stars of the show are the winding, undulating trails flowing down from sparse peaks into the lush valleys and dense forests.
One highlight for less experienced off-roaders is a chilled out singletrack through Usway Burn valley following a speedy plunge down from Pass Peth. We’re also big fans of the variation in Amy’s Classic Cheviots Loop – after a long but steady climb, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour with a thrilling series of steep sections which lead down to grassy paths, forest trails, and wide open moorland to let loose and fly over. Plus, no trip to the Cheviots is complete without passing a few Iron Age forts, and you’ll have your pick of the litter as you tour the Ingram hills. Nothing like a quick dose of history before shooting off on a speedy run!
Read the full guide: Best Off-Road Cycling Routes in The Cheviots
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