Armstrong trail at Cragside

Cragside, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland NE65 7PX

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Tumbleton lake's water contrasts with the greenery © National Trust

Tumbleton lake's water contrasts with the greenery

The Pump House sitting on the vibrant hillside © Faye Morris

The Pump House sitting on the vibrant hillside

Take in the fantastic views from the Iron bridge © Faye Morris

Take in the fantastic views from the Iron bridge

The magnificent conifers in the pinetum, some of the largest in Europe © Faye Morris

The magnificent conifers in the pinetum, some of the largest in Europe

Route overview

This rough hike takes in the main features at Cragside including the house and iron bridge. Across the estate, the colour green is vibrant in autumn. The pinetum is a special place at this time of year – the rows of spruce are really spiky across the top. Have a slow meander through; it’s very atmospheric.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Armstrong trail OS map 2013
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Visitor Centre, grid ref: NU073022

  1. Begin at the Visitor Centre. When facing Tumbleton Lake take the estate drive right uphill. Continue uphill on the estate drive towards Tumbleton Cottage.

  2. A short distance after the cottages, turn left off the estate drive and onto a gravel track to follow the curve of the lakeside. Continue on this path and cross over the recently restored Debdon Bridge. This is a brilliant viewpoint on the route; you can look back to where you started and admire the panoramic scene from a different perspective.

    Show/HideTumbleton Lake

    When the Debdon Burn dam, created to form the lake, burst in 1946, the valley flooded and filled the Pump House with silt. When the dam was repaired, the stepped spillway was built. Now, when the lake is full, the floodwater runs safely over the spillway and into the burn.

    Tumbleton lake's water contrasts with the greenery © National Trust
  3. Use the boardwalk (funded by Bovril through their Great Outdoor Revival project) to compete the lakeside circuit. Tumbleton boathouse appears on the left and there are two options to finish the walk.

  4. Complete the circular walk by returning to the Visitor Centre where you started or continue to Step 5.

  5. Take a right onto the steps leading towards the Pump House.

    Show/HideThe Pump House

    The pump sent spring water from the black tank on the roof of the building to the basin tank reservoir, 60m above the house. The water then flowed by gravity into the house where it was used for drinking and to power the hydraulic lift and the spit in the kitchen.

    The Pump House sitting on the vibrant hillside © Faye Morris
  6. Follow the path that criss-crosses the Debdon stream. The spectacular iron bridge comes into view, with Cragside house beyond.

    Take in the fantastic views from the Iron bridge © Faye Morris
  7. Continue forwards until you can see the flight of stone steps on the left hand side to gain access across the iron bridge.

  8. At the other end of the bridge take the winding set of steps underneath the bridge towards the Pinetum. Follow the pathway through the collection of conifers.

    Show/HidePinetum

    The large Douglas fir trees are named after the plant hunter, David Douglas, who died aged only 35 whilst on an expedition in Hawaii. He fell into a pit dug by the islanders to trap wild cattle - and was gored to death by a wild bull that had also fallen into the pit. Lord Armstrong had a team of about 150 gardeners and estate workers who planted over 7 million trees and bushes at Cragside to create the huge woodland estate you see today.

    The magnificent conifers in the pinetum, some of the largest in Europe © Faye Morris
  9. The path forks after the wooden bridge. Turn right to continue through the Pinetum.

  10. At the end of the Pinetum, turn right to cross over the ivy bridge and continue along the path.

  11. Keep on this path for a while until the waterwheel from Warton Farm appears in view. To the right, the path continues to the power house.

  12. Explore the power house. The walk ends here. You can return the way you came or take a different route back, following signs for the house.

End: Visitor Centre, grid ref: NU073022

The Great British Walk

Join us for a Great British Walk this autumn © Faye Morris
  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 2 miles (2.4km)
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 81
  • Terrain:

    Walk along established footpaths – the initial circuit around Tumbleton Lake is flat and after this the walk is steep in places with steps. Stout footwear is recommended.

  • How to get here:

    By road: 13 miles south-west of Alnwick (B6341) and 15 miles north-west of Morpeth on Wooler road (A697), turn left on to B6341 at Moorhouse Crossroads, entrance 1 mile north of Rothbury.

    By bus: To nearby Rothbury, Arriva X14 bus from Newcastle Haymarket and various buses via Spirit Buses. View timetables at Arriva Bus.co.uk and Spirit Buses.

    By cycle: View local cycle route on the National Cycle Network website.
     


  • Facilities:

    General
    Tea-rooms
    Shop - gifts
    Free parking
    Dogs welcome, on leads

    Family & children
    Baby-changing and feeding facilities

    Access
    Designated mobility parking in next to the Visitor Centre and in main car park
    Adapted toilet facilities


     

  • Contact us