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The original hydraulic ram in the Pumphouse
The original hydraulic ram in the Pumphouse | © National Trust Images / Andrew Butler
North East

NEW WALK: Hydro-power Trail

There's a brand new walk at Cragside. On the Hydro-power Trail you will discover William Armstrong's engineered lakes and experimental technologies that were created to produce hydroelectricity and power hydraulics.

Follow the waymarkers

Follow the purple waymarkers as you explore the grounds.

Total steps: 13

Total steps: 13

Start point

Sloping road between the main car park and behind the House. Grid ref: NU 07364 02252

Step 1

As you walk between the main car park and the House, you will see a path leading up hill on your left. Take this route and follow the gravel path.

Step 2

You will soon reach a junction - go left and follow the track until you see the next waymarker directing you to a path on your right. Follow this a short distance and look out for a waymarker pointing left.

The spiralling chimneys of Cragside House.
The spiralling chimneys of Cragside House | © Sheila Rayson

Step 3

After a short distance you will reach a single-track, tarmacked road. This is part of the Carriage Drive. Cross the road, and follow the arrowed signs for Nelly's Moss and the Flume.

Step 4

After a short walk down a trodden path, the Flume will come into view. Keep following the path alongside it until you see a lake ahead of you - Nelly's Moss Lakes.

A water-filled wooden flume stretching out into the distance between the trees.
The Timber Flume, where Cragside's hydro-electricity system began. | © National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Step 5

As you reach the edge of Nelly's Moss Lakes, turn left and follow the footpath around the banks of the twin lakes.

Nelly's Moss north lake surrounded by a stone path and trees.
Nelly's Moss was the vital water store for generating hydro-electricity. | © National Trust Images / Annapurna Mellor

Step 6

Eventually, you will reach a clearing where the lake ends, with the Carriage Drive road ahead of you. Step on to the road, turn right and walk over the stone bridge (please be mindful of vehicles as you cross the bridge). Then turn left into Crozier car park - signposted for the adventure play area via green road signs. Pass the play area on your left, walk around the wooden gate and keep going straight on. You will see climbing equipment on a grassed area, turn right here.

Step 7

Keep following this track, passing three other climbing frame areas. Keep a look out for a waymarker pointing left downhill. Follow the stone steps to the Basin Tank and turn left.

The Basin Tank, a small pool of water which formed part of the hydraulics system at Cragside.
The Basin Tank at Cragside. | © Sheila Rayson

Step 8

Look out for signs on the right leading you down some stone steps towards the House. Walk towards the House forecourt, taking the road immediately behind you on the left. Go right between the trees. Follow the zig-zagging path down the hillside. Keep following the path until you reach the Powerhouse.

The original dynamos and generators in the Powerhouse at Cragside.
In the Powerhouse at Cragside, where William Armstrong turned water into light. | © National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Step 9

Once you have explored the Powerhouse, double-back along the same footpath towards the timber bridge opposite the waterwheel. Cross the bridge, bear right and follow the path up and over the hill. You will come across a stone bridge. Cross this bridge, then go left and follow the path under the trees of the Pinetum.

Two visitors exploring the Pinetum at Cragside. They are looking up at the tall trees from the wide tree trunks.
Experience some of the tallest trees of their kind in the country at the Pinetum. | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Step 10

To exit the Pinetum, cross the timber bridge at the end of the path. Say hello to 'Douglas', our friendly green giant nestled in the trees. Climb the bank and the stone steps up to the Iron Bridge. Cross the bridge, heading towards the House. This is a great place for photos. Once crossed, bear left and take the stone steps down the valley. Once at the bottom, cross the timber bridge ahead of you and go right.

A sculpture of a face with decorative leaves carved into a fallen tree at Cragside, Northumberland
The tree sculpture known as 'Douglas' at Cragside | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Step 11

Keep following the path the runs alongside the Debdon Burn. As you pass a short but steep incline, the Pumphouse and Archimedes Screw will come into view ahead of you.

The Archimedes Screw at Cragside, a 17m steal tube that rotates. This motion is then converted into electricity.
The Archimedes Screw, Cragside's modern water-powered generator. | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

Step 12

After discovering more about how William Armstrong adapted his dock-side crane technology to power hydraulics on the grounds in the Pumphouse, walk up the concrete steps next to the Archimedes Screw - Cragside's modern water powered generator. Once at the top of the steps, turn left and follow the road across the Tumbleton Lake dam. When the stone wall on your right runs out, you will see a gap between the wall and a fence. Go through this gap and follow the boardwalk.

Step 13

Keeping the lake on your right, follow the path all the way around the lake. There are varying surfaces here. The boardwalk leads to a mud track. As you cross the small metal bridge, the surface changes to a steep gravel track. Follow this weaving track up hill and walk around the wooden gate. A the top of the track, turn right. Follow the tarmacked road downhill towards the visitor centre, where this walk ends.

A view of the former stables (now the visitor centre) across the waters of Tumbleton Lake.
Tumbleton Lake at Cragside. | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

End point

This walk ends at the visitor centre. Here you will find toilets, a tea room and the shop. You can also plan you next walk at the map room in the Stables.

Trail map

An illustration of Cragside's grounds with the route for the Hydro-power Trail mapped out in a purple line.
Discover how William Armstrong harnessed the power of water on a hike across the grounds. | © Anonymous Design

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Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 7PX