A picturesque, family friendly walk

An easy to follow trail in Harwood Forest near the Simonside Hills, aimed at families, with plenty to look out for and do along the route.

Download the Simonside Family Walk

Walk route

Grade: Easy
Length: 3.5 miles (4km) Option of shorter 3.2 mile route
Time: 1.5 to 2hrs
Map: O.S. Explorer OL42 Kielder Water & Forest

Route description

A. Follow the track as it winds uphill

Follow the main forest track out of the car park, passing the sheltered information board and the wooden barrier, as it winds uphill through the trees.

B. Turn right, passing the tall mast

At the junction, turn right, passing the tall mast on your right. This is a repeater mast which boosts the local television signal.

C. Follow the track for views of the Cheviot Hills

Follow this track deeper into the forest and bear right at the next junction. Continue on the track as it meanders downhill towards the edge of the forest. As you reach the edge of the trees, there are expansive views over the Coquet Valley towards the Cheviot Hills, including Cheviot itself, the highest hill in Northumberland and the National Park.

D. Climb up through the trees

Take the footpath leading back into the trees to the left. Follow this uphill, climbing up through the trees. Shortly after the path stops climbing you join a forest track. Turn left onto this.

E. Follow the track then turn right

Follow the track until you reach two large stones across the path. Turn right onto the path signposted for Little Church Rock and follow this to the rock outcrop. There are good views from the top of the rock but be careful!

F. Return by the same route and turn right

Return by the same route and turn right. Follow the track, past the point where you left it before, and retrace your steps back to the mast.

G. At the mast you have a choice

At the mast you have a choice. For a shorter alternative, continue back down the track towards the car park. Take the path leading off to the right and follow this back to the car park, turning left before the footbridge.

H. Otherwise, turn right and follow the track

Otherwise, turn right and follow the track until you reach a point where a footpath leaves it on the left hand side. Follow this path as it descends through the trees and back to the car park. Be careful as this path is rough in places with exposed rocks and tree roots which can be slippery.

Getting there

By car

To reach the car park at the start of this walk, take the B6342 South out of Rothbury.

After about 2 miles, turn right on the sharp bend near the National Park boundary sign, onto a single track road. Follow this road, passing the Lordenshaws car park on your right. Continue between the trees, passing a layby on your left, and turn left into the main Forestry Commission car park.