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Things to do outdoors at Cragside

A couple are walking two dogs between the trees in the Pinetum at Cragside. The autumn sunshine looks golden as it streams through the trees. The couple are in bobble hats and light jackets.
Uncover a new corner of Cragside on a walk. | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or a challenging hike, there is a waymarked walk for everyone at Cragside. A network of 40-miles of footpaths takes you under the canopy of towering trees, across timber bridges, between rugged rocks, along the banks of sparkling lakes and under arches of rhododendron.

Waymarked walk closures due to water-logged paths

Over the last few weeks we have experienced exceptionally high rain fall. This has caused some of the paths to become water-logged and impassable in places. To ensure visitors are safe and to protect the landscape, we have made the decision to temporarily close the paths affected to allow these areas to dry out. We are carrying out regular checks to monitor the recovery of the paths and will re-open routes when it's safe to do so. Thank you for your understanding.

Follow a waymarked walk

Armstrong Trail, 2 miles, following the green waymarkers
A re-route is in place due to the closure of the Powerhouse following Storm Babet

This Armstrong trail is a tour of the lower estate that takes you past some of Cragside’s historic landmarks including the House and the Iron Bridge. Click here to view a map and directions.

Inspiration Walk, 2 miles, follow the pink waymarkers
Open as usual
Delve inside the mind of William Armstrong. Find scientific and inspirational quotes by this pioneering industrialist carved into the rocks on this short but demanding circular hike. Click here to view a map and directions.

Gun Walk, 3 miles, follow the red waymarkers
Temporarily closed due to water-logged paths

Follow the path of the Armstrongs’ Gamekeepers. Walk between impressive rock formations, along craggy paths, and through tunnels of rhododendrons on this challenging walk. Click here to view a map and directions.

Two visitors are walking at the foot of the trees in the Pinetum.
Walk under towering trees at Cragside. | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Nelly's Moss, 1.5 miles, follow the blue waymarkers
Open as usual

A family-friendly, flat walk around two engineered lakes which formed part of Cragside's hydroelectricity system. Look out for frogs, toads and even herons dipping their feet in the water. Click here to view a map and directions.

Building Cragside Walk, 2.5 miles, follow the yellow waymarkers
Temporarily closed due to water-logged paths

A challenging climb through the heart of Cragside. Clamber stone steps and discover Cragend Quarry, where rock was removed to build the House. Look out for blast marks on the sheer rock faces. Click here to view the map and directions.

Rocky Ramble, 1.5 miles, follow the brown waymarkers
Temporarily closed due to water-logged paths

Duck under boulders and wind between gaps in the rock on this adventurous hike through Cragside. Discover engineered crags and man-made rock formations as you climb the hillside. Click here to view the map and directions.

Wetland Walk, 1.5 miles, follow the orange waymarkers
Temporarily closed due to water-logged paths
Walk to Cragside’s driest lake. Blackburn was once the largest expanse of water on the estate until it burst its banks in 1927. This area is now a wetland making it a great place for wildlife spotting. Click here to view the map and directions.

This image is of the Gorge at Cragside. In the centre of the picture is a waterfall tumbling over the rocks. The sides of the ravine are rugged and rocky. To the left of the photo are two people and a dog walking down stone steps.
A gorge-ous walk between the Pinetum and the Powerhouse | © House of Hues

The Gorge is now closed for winter

It will re-open on 1 April 2024

If you're planning a visit for 2024, you may want to add The Gorge to your list of places to find at Cragside.

Nestled between the giant conifer trees of the Pinetum and the Powerhouse - the hub for William Armstrong’s hydroelectricity generation – is this spectacular craggy ravine with tumbling waterfalls.

Sturdy footwear and an adventurous spirit are essential as you ascend steps cut into the rock, cross timber bridges and squeeze by the cliffy rockfaces.

Water from the Debdon Burn has always flowed into the Coquet River using this route, but with spectacular vision on a big scale, the Armstrongs blasted this route to increase the waterflow and make the valley more dramatic. Not only that, the rocks and boulders were carefully re-arranged to engineer an impressive cascade to add further drama to an already extraordinary landscape.

What to bring with you when walking at Cragside

As the name suggests, Cragside is built on to the side of a crag. The terrain is rocky, uneven and there are lots of hills to climb. There are steep drops in places and the paths can be muddy and slippery underfoot. Please wear sturdy footwear if you’re planning a walking adventure. Walking poles are also advisable if you need them.

Being located in Northumberland, the weather can change quickly. Check the weather forecast before travel to make sure you have the right clothing for the day. If it’s sunny, it’s good to bring a hat and some sunscreen as well.

Don't forget to stay hydrated. At some parts of the grounds, you can be 3-4 miles away from an eatery or kiosk so pack plenty of water and snacks for your visit.

Three children are running on a muddy track around Nelly's Moss lakes. The sun is shining so the kids are in t-shirts.
Go on a walking adventure at Cragside. | © National Trust Images / Annapurna Mellor

Where can I find a walking map?

We’re reducing the amount of paper we produce at Cragside so if you would like to start a waymarked walk we recommend downloading the map on the dedicated walking pages to your mobile device before arrival. There are printer-friendly options if you would like to print the map and directions at home before your visit.

Alternatively, you can pop to the map room at the visitor centre where all of the maps are displayed on the wall. Draw your chosen route on to your Explore Cragside welcome leaflet (that you’ll receive on arrival) using a pencil provided. The Armstrong Trail, Gun Walk, Nelly’s Moss and Wetland Walk are already shown on the map inside the leaflet.

Share your walk with us

With views over the hills of Northumberland, paths through nooks and crannies and wildlife to discover, we’re sure you’ll take lots of photos while out exploring. You can share your discoveries with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using @NTcragside.

The Blackburn Boathouse, a small stone building with a thatched roof standing amongst trees with autumn leaves at Cragside, Northumberland

Things to do on the estate at Cragside 

Cragside is a treasure trove of undiscovered secrets. Find carved critters and the driest boathouse in Britain, as well as the wildlife that calls Cragside their home.

A girl in a grey top swooping down a tunnel slide head-first at Cragside. She has reach the bottom and is laughing.

Family fun at Cragside 

Enjoy a jam-packed day with the kids on your visit to Cragside. There is lots to see, do and explore, for a fun-filled day out.