Go outdoors in the Pennines
The North Pennines is all about the outdoors – the area’s natural assets lie at the heart of what draws tourists to this part of the UK. From your base at Fairfield House, the options for outdoor activities are endless.
Cycling is particularly popular here – the North Pennines abounds in two-wheeled excitement and adventure. If your passion is moorland tracks beneath your wheels then look no further. Alternatively, if road routes are more your style, this AONB has quiet country roads aplenty as well as a range of traffic-free routes and unequalled scenery.
The North Pennines is the ideal place to immerse yourself in nature, while at the same time learning valuable new skills. Discover your inner Bear Grylls through a bushcraft course, available for all ages where you can learn useful survival skills like building shelters, finding food and water and making fire. Other adventurous activities available include expedition training, first aid courses, ghyll scrambling, navigation training and mine exploration.
For water babies, the four major northern rivers, the Eden, Tyne, Wear and Tees, all have headwaters in the North Pennines. At certain times of year these rivers offer great sport for experienced kayakers.
In addition, there are opportunities for canoeing at Talkin Tarn.
There are access agreements in place for all of these rivers with the exception of the River Wear. Canoes and boating opportunities are available at Talkin Tarn Country Park on the north western edge of the North Pennines. There are a number of organisations and businesses that offer canoeing and kayaking instruction throughout the region.
For those of you who are after a more sedate way of life, this region is also a wonderful place to watch birds, with its rich mix of habitats, wildlife and stunning landscapes. The area’s moorlands support a wide variety of birds such as the abundant red grouse, 80% of England’s black grouse and nationally important populations of golden plover, curlew, short-eared owl and merlin.
For fishing enthusiasts, the North Pennines boasts some of the finest upland reservoirs and rivers, renowned for the quality of its fishing. Northumbrian Water maintains several well stocked and attractive upland trout reservoirs. There are opportunities for coarse, fly and multi-bait fishing at Derwent, Cow Green, Selset, Grassholme, Balderhead, Blackton and Hury reservoirs. There are also several excellent game fishing opportunities on rivers in the North Pennines including the South Tyne, Tyne, West and East Allen, Tees, Eden and the Wear.
The more adventurous among you could opt for horse riding, either a leisurely guided pony ride for beginners or a more technical upland hack across historic packhorse trails for the more experienced. Confident riders may choose the five ‘do in a day’ Packhorse Trail routes, ideal if you want to ride with confidence in the exhilarating landscapes on your doorstep.
The Pennines is a wonderful walking holiday destination, with a huge variety of walking experiences in a nationally designated landscape full of character and features. Visit Explore North Pennines to discover the amazing range of activities available in the area. At the heart of this site is an interactive map which will allow you to search by activity, interest and location. And for those really serious walkers, don’t forget the Haltwhistle Walking Festival – dates for Autumn 2019 are 28 September – 6 October.
Planning a winter break at Fairfield House? The North Pennines has some of the best winter sport opportunities in England, with well-established ski clubs in Weardale, Allenheads and Yad Moss. The Weardale Ski Club facilities are situated on Swinhope fell above Westgate in County Durham. Established in 1963, it now has a spacious two-storey ski lodge, a snowmobile, a piste basher as well as two overlapping Doppelmayr button tows.
The Yad Moss Ski Slope in Cumbria is also a good place to visit. Yad Moss is situated seven miles south-east of Alston. It has a day lodge with a club room, toilet facilities and garaging for the piste groomer which makes the most of any snow.
The ski club in Allenheads, Northumberland has facilities provided by the Ski-Allenheads Club. The site is only a 150m walk from the facilities of Allenheads village. The club has two slopes, both of which are suitable for beginners. The two semi-permanent rope tows are in place for the beginning of November until the end of March and operate every day when there is enough snow for skiing.