Looking out at the thick and murky clouds on the drabbest of days, it’s hard not to wish to be somewhere completely different. Sipping cocktails on the beach under the roasting sun sounds much more appealing than bleak winter’s day in Britain. But some days, the magic of the North East sets my heart alight, and I realise that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And the time I visited Hareshaw Linn was one of those days.
The journey to Hareshaw Linn is almost as beautiful as the walk itself! It’s just under an hour’s drive from Newcastle, and half an hour’s drive from Hexham, the nearest big town. Make sure to look out the window for the last 15 minutes of the journey to see some gorgeous views of the Northumbrian countryside. We went on quite an overcast day, and the low-hanging clouds gave the scenery such a mystical aura.
And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the local wildlife! As well as plenty of sheep dotted around the field, you might also find pheasants roaming the road. When you arrive, in the village you’ll find a pretty small car park. As we went on a Monday afternoon, there was plenty of space for us. But bear in mind that at peak visiting times it can get pretty crowded.
The Walk Begins
Once you’re parked up, you should see a signpost that reads ‘Hareshaw Linn 1 ½ miles’. You won’t miss it, thanks to its colourful winter jumper. From here, the route is pretty straightforward – just keep following the path. But if you need some guidance just in case, use this route map from the Northumberland National Park website. The walk should take around 1 ½ to 2 hours, but if you want time to enjoy the stunning views I’d recommend making this a half-day trip.
If you’d like to have some fuel before you go on your walk, make sure to bring a picnic. You don’t have to venture far to find the perfect spot – there’s a picnic area just 5 minutes into the walk. The sound of birdsong and the rippling river gives this area the perfect ambience. I guarantee that you won’t find a more relaxing place to tuck into your lunch. Next to the picnic area, you’ll also find the first of the many mini-waterfalls that you’ll come across on the route. Head towards the slope at the edge of the picnic area, and make your way down the set of steps to admire this gorgeous view. Just make sure to mind how you go, as the stones can get very slippery when wet.
When you’re ready, make your way up the track to the right of the picnic area. From here, you’ll find yourself on a narrow stone path that winds through the forest and towers above the river. We visited Hareshaw Linn in the winter, so most of the trees had shed their autumn leaves. The naked trees combined with the mist and frost gave the forest an amazing ghostly vibe. Of course, this walk would be beautiful no matter what the season was. Make sure to keep an eye out for wildlife around this area – this is where I saw a red squirrel for the first time! Unfortunately, he was camera shy.
At the end of this path, you’ll find the first of six bridges that you’ll come across on this route. The walk becomes a bit trickier from this point onward, due to an uneven path and stray tree roots poking through the path. We have a little bit of countryside walking experience, but we aren’t avid walkers. If you don’t have accessibility issues this walk should be fine for you, but if you do, make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming posts which will be based on more accessible routes!
Make sure to admire the gorgeous views from each of the bridges. When we visited, the minerals in the water transformed the river into a beautiful copper colour, making the scenery even more breathtaking. The further you walk, the even more impressive the views become. Each waterfall was more magnificent than the last, so we thought that the final one couldn’t possibly top them. But nothing prepared us for the view that lay at the end of the route.
The Main Event
The final waterfall completely took my breath away. The rest of the walk was absolutely beautiful, but this was something else. It felt like stepping out of Northumberland National Park and into a rainforest in Costa Rica – even the chilling 5°C temperature didn’t spoil the illusion! This is the perfect spot to come if you want to step back into nature. My eyes were mesmerised by the water cascading down the 30-foot drop, my ears heard nothing but the bubbling river – I felt completely serene.
When you think of UK travel, the first thing you probably think of is big cities like London and Edinburgh, or maybe the Lake District if you’re outdoorsy. Before discovering Hareshaw Linn, I had no idea that this country even had views like this, let alone that they were an hour’s drive from my front door. So let this be a reminder to you. As tempting as it may be to escape to a sunny Caribbean island or a lively, bustling European city, don’t waste your life away wishing you were somewhere else. There’s a beautiful world outside your front door that’s waiting to be explored – make the most of it.