A picturesque, family-friendly walk

Please note – Following Storm Arwen, some of the rights of way within the National Park may have sections which are temporarily closed or unsafe for visitors at this time.

Forestry England has highlighted this walking route as currently unsafe. Please stay away from woodland areas at this time and follow Northumberland National Park Authority on social media for updates. If visitors or the local community would like to report an issue on a right of way within the National Park, please contact stormarwen@nnpa.org.uk.

Enjoy 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 PDF guide to Simonside Family Walk

Download Route

Walk overview

Walk difficulty
Walk distance
3 miles / 4.8km
Walk duration
1.5 hours
Recommended OS Map
O.S. Explorer OL42 Kielder Water & Forest
Dog friendly

Step by step route

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.

Turn right, passing the tall mast

At the junction, turn right, passing the tall mast on your right. Follow this track deeper into the forest.

Follow the track for view of the Cheviot Hills

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.

Take the footpath leading back into the trees

A short distance down the forest track 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.

Follow the track then turn right

Turn left along the forest track and follow this until you reach the corner of the deer fence. Just beyond the corner of the fence turn right along the well-worn path for Little Church Rock and follow this to the rock outcrop. Once you have finished exploring return by the same route.

Return by the same route then turn right

On re-joining the forest track turn right. Follow the track, past the point where you left it before, and retrace your steps back to the mast.

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.

Otherwise, turn right and follow the track

Continue along 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 be slippery!

Walk route

Getting there

Starting Point: Simonside Forestry Commission Car Park

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 England car park.