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Allen Banks woodland walk


Set on the steep valley sides of the river Allen, a tributary of the south Tyne, explore the woods and see what wildlife you can spot on this gentle riverside walk.

A great walk for spotting wildlife all year round

It's the largest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland and has been here since at least medieval times. This long history has helped make it a fantastic home for flora, fauna and fungi.

A red squirrel among some ferns and leaves.
The rare red squirrel can be spotted at Allen Banks National Trust Images / John Millar


Map route for Allen Banks woodland walk
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Allen Banks car park, grid ref: NY798639


Starting at the car park, follow the main footpath into the woodland. Take the lower left-hand fork in the path and the River Allen comes into view.

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The path drops close to the waterside and the woodland opens out. The river is rocky and fast flowing here, a prime spot for birds like dipper and grey wagtail.

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At a bend in the river, under Raven Crag, the river becomes deeper and slows to create a flat pool where, on summer evenings, Daubenton’s bats skim just above the water feeding on insects. There are 17 species of bats indigenous to Britain, our 3-year 'Bat Life' project (started in 2013) aims to find out how many species are found at Allen Banks, follow us on Facebook to find out the results.


Decaying fallen trees on the banks above you here are part of the life cycle of the woodland. Insects and fungi feed on and break down the rotting timber, returning vital nutrients to the soil. Woodpeckers and other birds then feed on the insects and create nests in the standing deadwood.

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After crossing the Kingswood Burn, turn left and cross the Plankey Mill Bridge over the river Allen. Walk right, towards the farm buildings and join the public road which travels left for about 110yd (100m). Take the track to the left of this road, which heads down to a kissing gate near the river and old ruins.


Walk through meadows along the river bank. Alder trees with lichen-covered stems and branches line the river. Lichens require clean air so are good indicators of pollution-free areas. During the summer, keep a look out for wildflowers such as field pansies, orchids and yellow rattle near the river and in the hay fields here. They make it a great habitat for a wide range of butterflies.


Enter the woodland opposite Raven Crag and soon take to a higher level path.


Unfortunately the suspension bridge has suffered flood damage so to get back, carry on past it following the footpath along side the river. You will leave the woodland and make your way through two fields, follow the path under the road bridge and through a gate leading on to the road, now head back across the bridge to the car park.

A black and white image of the original Victorian suspension bridge
The original Victorian suspension bridge at Allen Banks Northumberland County Council


Allen Banks car park, grid ref: NY798639

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Allen Banks woodland walk


Circular walk following brown trail markers along natural and surfaced footpaths. Relatively flat, with some short, sharp climbs. Some narrow sections with steep drops to the river Allen.

Allen Banks woodland walk

Contact us

Allen Banks woodland walk

How to get here

Allen Banks, Northumberland, NE47
By train

Bardon Mill, 1.5 mile (2.4km).

By road

South of the River Tyne, 5 miles (8km) east of Haltwhistle and 3 miles (4.8km) west of Haydon Bridge, signposted off A69.

By foot

Footpaths to the estate from all directions, including Haydon Bridge.

By bus

Carlisle to Newcastleservice stops ½ mile (0.8km) away.

By bicycle

National Cycle Network Route 72.

Allen Banks woodland walk

Facilities and access

  • Car park
  • Toilets and baby-changing facilities
  • Picnic area
  • Free map, guide and other information