Kielder to Needs Hill

This is a route that leads through dense woodland and along lakeside paths. The terrain is mostly well maintained gravel or tarmac tracks though there is at least one point where a path needs to be followed through long grass.

Circular | 12.3km (7.64 miles) | Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.

The route starts by Kielder Castle where there is ample parking. Walkers could also park in the car park near Kielder viaduct which is on the route though there are less spaces there. Following the route clockwise is suggested as it gets the up hill part out the way first and leaves the flatter, easier terrain for the home stretch.

1: The route starts by heading downhill from the car park and heading to the front of Kielder Castle. From here walkers should see a signpost for the lakeside way which they should follow downhill past the stone maze. At the bottom of the hill is a path by the riverside, the route heads left along this path and follows along the river upstream until it eventually reaches a bridge.

2: From here the route crosses the bridge and heads straight ahead. There are clear paths to the left and right on the other side of the bridge but walkers need to look for the path in the middle which heads through the long grass. Either the grass here is hard-wearing or not many follow this path so it isn’t as worn down as the others. Once found the path should lead walkers uphill as it winds up the bank before reaching a more defined path. The route goes right here along the more defined path until the path kinks and appears to head downhill. Instead of continuing along the path walkers should see a path through grass like before to the left heading further up hill. Following this path will eventually lead to a large track. The route heads right along this track for some distance as it winds slowly downhill through the forest.

3: Eventually this track ends on a small lane, the route heads left here following the lane till it ends at another track. Here walkers should turn right and follow the track. There are several paths that lead off from the track on the right along this stretch, this route follows the third of these paths.

4: The route follows this path as it winds downhill. Walkers will see a path that heads towards the lake which they should follow as it will take them to a viewpoint.

5: After getting their fill of the view walkers should then backtrack to the path and continue following it as heads along the lakeside back towards Kielder village. Along this stretch is a path to the left which can be followed that will take walkers to the Silvas Capitalis Sculpture – an ominous large head in the woods.

6: Walkers should now return to the path and continue following it along the lakeside Westward. Eventually they will reach a signpost pointing towards the viaduct.

7: The route follows where the sign points downhill to the viaduct which crosses Kielder burn. After the viaduct the route heads right at the track reached. This leads walkers through a car park and to the side of the river where there is a path that follows the riverside upstream. The route follows this path to a road. The path continues on the other side of the road along the riverside. Walkers should carry on along this path until it reaches another road. The route crosses the road here and goes over the bridge to the left. After crossing this bridge there is a track to the right which will take walkers back to the stone maze. From here the route heads back up to Kielder Castle where it ends.

A slightly longer version of the route could be done by turning on to either of the large tracks passed on the left when approaching point 3 though these may result in more uphill sections. For food and beverages there is a shop, a pub and often food trucks found around Kielder Castle at the start of the route.

Adapted from Walking in Northumberland


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