Camping & Caravanning



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County Durham


Other regions in Britain

Bounded on the north and south by the Scottish and Yorkshire borders and on the east and west by the North Sea and the Pennines, Northumbria is made up of Northumberland, Durham and a number of relatively new unitary authorities.

North of Newcastle is a wildly beautiful coastline of rolling dunes and springy turf punctuated by fishing harbours and modest resorts, and guarded by impressive castles like massive Warkworth near the mouth of the Coquet, fortress home of the fighting Percys. Beyond, on the Great North Road and the threshold of Scotland is Berwick, its old quarter on the north bank of the Tweed contained within the massive ramparts. Offshore is Holy Island, dominated by its castle and melancholy priory ruins, and the Farne Islands, with their colonies of grey seals. Holy Island is linked to the mainland by a mile-long causeway uncovered at low tide, and there are boats to the Farnes from Seahouses.

Inland, from the natural barrier of the Pennine Fells in the south to the rolling Cheviots in the north, is wild and remote country laced by the dales or valleys of Wear, Coquet, Tees and Tyne and bisected by Hadrianís Wall, northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire, begun by order of Emperor Hadrian in AD 122, which formed a continuous frontier across England from Wallsend to Bowness on Solway until abandoned in 383. A convenient centre for exploring the wall and the national park to the north of it is Hexham, near the important Roman sites of Housesteads and Corbridge. Linking Heddon on the Wall and Greenhead is the old military road B6318, which runs on or beside the wall at many points.

Main features of the national park are the Border Forest around Kielder, the beautiful river valleys and the Pennine Way, a route for walkers which passes through Once Brewed, Bellingham and Byrness to cross the Scottish border. Another ancient road which can be followed by walkers is the Devilís Causeway north of Hexham. Otterburn, famed for its tweed and as the site of the battle in 1388 between the Percys of England and the Douglases of Scotland, is well placed as a touring centre.

One of the newest sights in the region is Kielder Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in Europe, with plenty of scope for recreation.

Other sights include the fortresses of Alnwick, Bamburgh, Staindrop, Dunstanburgh and Raby, the churches of Escomb, Bywell and Hexham, the great cathedral of Durham and the ancient priory of Finchale. Three important museums are the Beamish near Stanley in Durham, the Grace Darling at Bamburgh and the Trailside Centre at Kielder.

Campsites, not numerous in Northumbria, exist in the national park, along the Northumbrian coast and at each of the main tourist centres.

For full details of all parks listed on our website, see the latest edition of Camping Caravanning Britain. Priced at £8.50, the book is available from WHSmith, Waterstone's, Blackwell's and other bookshops; alternatively, to order a copy directly click here.

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up-to-date, the publishers can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions. Always phone a park before visiting to check facilities and prices.