Slow Travel

Walking/cycling from Alston to the source of the Tyne

Walk or cycle to the source of the Tyne and explore the moorland and waterfalls of the North Pennines.

Written by Gemma Hall


From Alston to the source of the Tyne, classic North Pennine scenery stays with the walker or cyclist the whole way: heavy moors looming over pastures dotted with sheep and shingly rivers crowded with trees. Quaint Garrigill is a welcome resting point with a freehouse on the green.

For the final few miles, walkers stay close to the rocky South Tyne as it jingles through fields and old woodland offering a few places to cool your feet. Ashgill Force is the highlight – a curtain waterfall you can walk behind.

Undulating meadows and open landscapes accompany cyclists along the quiet lane to Garrigill via Leadgate; moody purple hills draw closer with every pedal push.

Cyclists and walkers take the same final paved track to reach the source of the Tyne. It’s surprising how quickly the river becomes thin enough to leap across and then just a foot wide until at last it is a mere bathroom tap dribbling off the hillside that you can dam with your foot. A contemporary sculpture marks the source.

Hoping to find out more about Northumberland? Why not take a look at our comprehensive travel guide:

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