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The ironbridge and gardens at Cragside in Northumberland
The ironbridge and gardens at Cragside in Northumberland | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra
North East

The Armstrong trail, Cragside

The Armstrong trail takes in some of the most dramatic scenery at Cragside. Follow the flow of water around Armstrong's man-made Tumbleton lake, stroll along the meandering path that hugs the Debdon burn and stand at the foot of some of the tallest trees in the country before climbing the stone steps of the rock garden towards the house.

Follow the waymarkers

Green waymarkers will show you the way on the walk.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

Visitor centre, grid ref: NU073022

Step 1

Begin at the visitor centre. When facing Tumbleton Lake take the estate drive to the right uphill. Continue uphill on the estate drive towards Tumbleton Cottage.

Step 2

A short distance after the cottages, turn left off the estate drive and onto a gravel track that follows the curve of the lakeside. Continue on this path and cross over a small footbridge.

Step 3

Continue to follow the path between the lakeside and the trees which will take you to a boardwalk opposite the admission hut at the main entrance. From the boardwalk, follow the road across the dam. You will see the boathouse on your left. From here you can either complete a circular walk and return to the visitor centre, or continue on to step 4.

Step 4

Opposite the boat house is a set of steps which run parallel with the Archimedes Screw – Cragside's modern water turbine. Take these steps to a small wooden bridge at the bottom of the bank. You will see the Pump House on the right and the continuation of the path ahead of you. Follow the path into the Debdon Valley.

In the foreground there are some concrete stops going up a hill and behind it is a giant screw-shaped piece of engineering which is enclosed by glass or perspex. Behind this is a platform bridge and a grassy bank.
The Archimedes Screw at Cragside, Northumberland | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Step 5

After a small hill climb you will see the iron bridge and house ahead of you. This view is one of the most photographed on the estate with the house standing at the top of the rock garden. Continue forward until you can see the flight of stone steps which take you up to the iron bridge. Once on the footpath for the iron bridge, turn left as though you are heading towards the house. Just before the iron bridge starts, you'll see a stone-stepped path on your left that curves under the bridge towards the pinetum. Take this path.

Step 6

Cross the wooden bridge ahead of you – look out for Douglas, our leafy green giant, hidden up the bank on the right. Stroll along the meandering path under the canopy of these huge trees in the pinetum.

Step 7

Follow the path between the trees and the burn. After a short while you will see a stone bridge ahead of you. Cross this bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge you'll see a metal fence on your left. Go through the kissing gate and on to the stone steps of the gorge.

Step 8

Follow the route through the gorge which takes you down stone steps carved into the rock, across a bridge over the cascading waterfalls – a great place to stop for photos. Next you'll walk along a gravel path and timber walkway which hugs the cliff before climbing a short hill to another kissing gate. Go through this gate and turn right.

Step 9

Follow the gravel path and keep the burn on your right. You'll pass a wheel on your left. A building will come into view ahead of you, this is the Powerhouse.

Step 10

After exploring the Powerhouse, walk back along the path you came along. You'll walk past the wheel once more, this time on your right. When you get to the kissing gate, walk straight ahead, uphill. This path is steep in places and includes some steps on a gravel path. At the top of the hill you will reach the edge of the rock garden. Go right onto a tarmacked road. Look left, you will see the house ahead of you.

End point

Cragside House, grid ref: NU073021

Trail map

Walking map for the Armstrong Trail
The Armstrong Trail | © Anonymous Design

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