5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)

Thanks to Gemma from GeeGee Writing for this post. 

Family walks may well be attributed with lockdowns, but with a little imagination (and the right clothing) they have integrated into our family life as one of our favourite things to do.

5 Walks in Northumberland (which are perfect for under 5s)


Life with young children can be expensive, and it’s often the simple and cheaper things in life that are the most enjoyable.

There’s nothing we like to do more as a family than don our wellies and walking shoes and go on ‘an adventure’. 


As the mother of a two-year- old- and a five-year-old, I’ve found that it’s bad clothing, not bad weather. If you wrap up warm enough and have a decent pair of boots (and pack some snacks!) you can’t go wrong.

We recently bought some wellies by a brand called Kolma on Amazon. They’re lightweight with very warm liners, which can be removed in the warmer months. They’re easy to wipe clean too and have good grips.


When you’re next at a loose end on a weekend, don’t knock the good old fashioned family walk. Dress to suit the weather, pack those snacks and announce that ‘we’re going out on an adventure walk.’ The feeling of fresh air in your lungs and on your face, as well as stirring your child’s imagination, will leave you feeling like you’ve really earned that cuppa when you return home.


Here are our five of our favourite family walks in Northumberland:


Carlisle Park, Morpeth.

 

5 Walks in Northumberland (which are perfect for under 5s)  - Morpeth Park suffragette


One of our favourite haunts is this beautiful park that spans along the side of Morpeth town centre. You can get there by car and park either in the shopping centre carpark, or the leisure centre carpark. You do need a parking disc, which are available from various locations in Morpeth. You just display the time you arrived.

However, on our last visit we made our family walk even more adventurous - by getting the train from Cramlington to Morpeth one Sunday in January. It cost £12 return for 2 adults and 2 children and the walk from the station into Morpeth Carlisle Park itself is about ten minutes.

You enter the park grounds on the left-hand side as you approach Morpeth. An attraction to head straight for is the aviary where there are various little birds inside, including budgies.


5 Walks in Northumberland (which are perfect for under 5s)  - William Turner Aviary Morpeth


From here you can access the William Turner garden, which has some interesting topiary bushes and a pergola.  If you follow the path, it takes you to some fairly steep steps that lead up to the rest of the park.



Once at the top, you can either follow the path right along towards the river, where there are boats and sometimes a donut van parked up. This path eventually leads to a play park. Or you can turn left and head up the hill that leads to a nature trail down the other side.

Either way, it’s all one big circle so you can’t get lost. There’s also a skate park, tennis courts and a bowling green, as well as an outdoor pool that is open in the summer.


The park is right next to the Town Centre, so we crossed the bridge, stopping every so often to look at the ducks, and then headed towards the High Street. We popped into Greggs and bought some Sausage rolls and cookies, then continued down the high street.

There are three lovely benches tucked away by the river next to the Chantry Craft Centre. It is here we stopped to eat and admire the river view. It’s a calming contrast to the busy high street and a perfect place to stop.


After we’d eaten, we then walked over another bridge, along a cobbled street and then turned right back into the park, where there is a huge canon.


5 Walks in Northumberland (which are perfect for under 5s)  - Morpeth River

For our final part of the adventure, we turned left back up the same hill we’d come down when we first entered the park.

5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)


We continued up the hill and then turned off down some steps and then through the ancient woodland.



On this occasion we walked up the other side of the woodland towards the castle and then out of the park towards the train station.

The kids loved this adventure, and so did we! We then headed home with rosy cheeks and air in our lungs, ready for well-earned warm drinks and a nap on the settee.

Read our guide to visiting Morpeth stepping stones here. 


5 Family walks in Northumberland (suitable for toddlers)



Druridge Bay Country Park

 

Every so often, we take a drive up the A1068 to Druridge Bay, as it encompasses a play park, a lake, and a beach.

It’s free to park for the first hour (you still need a ticket) and then (at the time of writing) it was £1.60 for up to two hours and £3 over two hours.


When our youngest was in a pram, we tended to walk around the lake as it’s pram friendly while our eldest picked up sticks, stopping every so often to look at the lake. Nowadays, we don’t tend to do the lake walk; we spend a bit of time at the play park and then head down towards the beach and walk along there instead. If the café is open, we grab the kids an ice cream before we set off toward the beach.

When we’re at the beach, we stop every so often to throw pebbles in the sea or run away from the waves. The kids also love to pick up seashells as we trudge along, as well as draw in the sand.


5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)  - druridge bay beach


We then walk along until we arrive at the second set of steps up the dunes, which takes us back to the carpark.

In the colder months, this is more of a walking adventure for us. In the warmer months this is also ideal as a day out at the beach.

Read our full guide to visiting Druridge Bay Country Park here. 

Humford Woods Stepping Stones

 

Another hidden gem is to head to Humford Woods Stepping Stones. This area is tucked down the side of Bedlington, where it is free to park and there is also a play area.

5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)  - humford woods stepping stones


We often visit here, where the kids play on arrival before walking down some steps to the river. It is here that you are presented with the infamous stepping stones, which are always fun to walk along.

They lead you to the other side of the bank, where there is a wooden bridge to cross – great for getting the kids to keep a lookout for any trolls. You can then walk down a little bank towards the edge of the river and have a go at skimming stones. Just be wary at certain times of the year as it can be slippy here.

There is a nature trail right next to this part of the river, that leads through wild garlic Allium flowers in the Spring. Again, this is another area to take care at during certain times as it can be a bit slippy, so good gripping footwear is advisable. This part of the nature trail isn’t pushchair friendly so take a baby carrier with you.

The nature trail takes you back down to the riverbank. We then head back over the bridge, across the stepping stones and to the embankment. It is here we skim more stones. On occasion, we have taken fishing nets with us. The kids have never caught any fish but it’s good fun all the same.

We always finish off with one last play in the park before heading home.

Read our full guide to visiting Humford Woods here. 

 

Bolam Lake

 

Bolam Lake was a lockdown find when the first set of restrictions started easing. At the time we were using a pushchair and it was accessible the whole way round.

It’s a calming but adventurous walk around the lake. There’s a little jetty you can walk out on to but mind the swans, as they do tend to hang around the water’s edge there!

There’s a wonderful thicket next to here, which is exciting for kids to wonder through. As you keep on walking, there are two wooden chairs and a chaise lounge type seat carved out of trunks. These are fun to sit on and look out over the water.


5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)  - bolam lake


If you keep on walking, the path winds round and gradually inclines towards a food and drink kiosk with picnic benches outside. This is usually our pit stop for an ice cream.

We then follow the path which takes you to a dense wooded area, with lots of tall trees lining the path. There is a little footway down to the lake from here, but we’ve never actually ventured down there. We usually carry along the path and play hide and seek in the trees. It’s normally here that we spot various types of mushrooms.

5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)  - mushrooms


As you continue along this path, it eventually leads you back round to the carpark. Our visit is usually about 45 minutes to an hour, which satisfies blowing off the cobwebs and grabbing some fresh air during the colder months.

Bolam Lake is a majestical place of tranquil beauty where you can make up fairy tale stories as you walk along.  After living in the North East for over thirty years, I can’t believe it took so long to finally visit. An absolute firm favourite.

 Plessey Woods

 

This one we visited more frequently when we used a pram and had a toddler in tow. It’s accessible and was very close to home for us if we just wanted a change of scenery but not too far to travel.

We’d start with a little play in the park before heading on down passed the owl totem pole, across the stream and up the incline. At the top to your right, there’s a drum kit made from wood that is visible in the trees. This is ideal to stop and let the kids burn some energy banging the drums with sticks.


5 Family Walks in Northumberland (tried and tested by a 2 & 5 year old)  - drum kit at plessey woods

We then follow the path and veer to the right towards an opening, where there is a little hut named ‘The Ogre’s House’. Again, this is another nice little place to stop, especially if you’ve got newly walking toddlers who don’t go far. Plessey woods is ideal for stop and start walking for this toddler stage - as there’s always plenty of things to look at and play with.

As the path inclines from here, we tended to separate and I would push our youngest in the pram towards the right and loop round through the trees, while my husband would take our eldest through the woods on an adventure up to meet us.

We’d all then walk along until we reached another opening with picnic benches and games to play, like life-sized noughts and crosses. It would be here we would also stop for a snack. This was also our stop on our way back up from the river to sit and feed them when they were babies.

Our next route is down the hill towards the river bank, where we would turn right and walk along there for a bit.




I tended to follow the path when I had the pram while my husband would take our eldest to walk right beside the river and skim stones.




We’d eventually get to a wider area by the river where there’s space to push the pram down, so we could all look out over the river.

We’d then head back the exact route we had come and stop for a final play in the park, an ice cream from the café before heading home.

Read our full guide to visiting Plessey Woods here. 

I do love the North East, especially Northumberland, for its various places to take adventure walks.

It’s cheap and cheerful, good for the mind, body, and soul.

Do try and take photos when you can. It is great to live in the moment, but some of my best snapshots of the kids have been capturing those majestical moments on camera when out on our adventure family walks.


Author Bio


Hi, I’m Gemma of GeeGee – Writing and Creative Content; Creating Engaging Content For Small Businesses.

I love reading, writing and gardening. 


Instagram: @GeeGeeWriting

 





























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