The village lies at the foot of the Cheviot massif, at the point where narrow valley of the Glen opens out on to the broad expanse of the Milfield Basin, and is dominated by the slopes of Akeld Hill and Harehope Hill on either side of the Akeld Burn.
Today Akeld comprises one main settlement centred on Akeld Manor, with a smaller outlying group near the former station at Low Akeld a short distance to the north. Both settlements lie on the Akeld Burn beside the A697 road leading from Morpeth to Scotland. To the south and west, the village is overlooked by the northern extent of the Cheviot Hills, while to the north the upland area gives way to the fertile Border lowlands, including the Milfield Plain.
The area of study adopted is represented by the 19th century township of Akeld, one of fifteen townships incorporated in the huge, 38,000 acre ecclesiastical parish of Kirknewton. The parish embraced the bulk of the north Cheviot massif and a substantial proportion of what is now the Northumberland National Park.
Akeld Township itself contained 2267 acres and embraces the valley of the Akeld Burn and the corresponding section of the flood plain of the Glen as far north as the river itself (NCH XI (1922), 229-40). The modern civil parish of Akeld covers a wider area, including the former township of Humbleton (in Chatton ecclesiastical parish).