Thrunton Woods Crag Top Circular Walk

 This post is based on a visit in April 2024. Please check with venue direct for the most up to date info, especially regarding areas of the woods which are closed, before setting out. You can do that here:

AD. - I have worked with Breamish Valley Cottages and Copper Beech Cottages in the past, however they have not asked or paid to be included in this post. 

Thrunton Woods Crag Top Circular Walk

Thrunton Woods near Rothbury in Northumberland was badly affected by Storm Arwen in November 2021 and actually had to be closed for a while. It is still clear to see the devastating effects of the storm when you visit and three years later, the woods are still only partially open.

Make sure you read and follow signs regarding areas which are closed when you are there. They are pretty clear to see (ie huge gates with CLOSED signs on them)

The Crag Top Circular Walk is one of the routes which is fully open. It's easy to follow and I would say pretty impossible to get lost. Just follow the green arrows from the car park. 

For us, this walk measured as 2.2km circular and took around 40 minutes at a steady pace but with stops to take in the view / take photos. I think most people will complete this in 30-40 minutes, maybe even quicker if you're a power walker. 

Thrunton Woods Crag Top Circular Walk  - walk map

Key Points 

  • 2.2km circular woodland walk which is well signposted
  • Should take 30-40 minutes

  • Not suitable for wheelchairs due to inclines and uneven surface

  • Mobility scooters and all-terrain pushchairs should be ok

  • Lots of plants and wildlife to spot 

  • I've not personally seen snakes here, but the area is known to be home to Adders so keep dogs on leads (especially in warm weather)

  • This walk is surpisingly not very muddy but toddlers may wish to wear wellies to splash in the streams 

  • No seating along the route 

  • Incline at the start and end - most toddlers and those in good health should manage ok

  • Beautiful views of the Cheviots and Northumberland Countryside 

  • Free onsite car park - use postcode NE66 4SD and follow the signs 

  • Not very accessible by public transport - Bus 473 stops in Whittingham 1.5 miles North of the woods every 2 hours 

  • Combine with a day at Cragside, Rothbury Riverside Walk & Playground, Edlingham Castle, Alnwick Castle/Garden or Ingram Valley 

  • Recommended places to eat nearby - The Bosk, Rothbury Golf Club and The Turks Head 

Thrunton Woods Crag Top Circular Walk

The Car Park is opposite a farmer's field and was marked as a car park on our satnav. It's tricky to miss - a proper car park as opposed to just parking in a layby at the side of the road. 

You will find a map in the car park with up to date info on the areas of the woods which are closed (again, these are obvious and physically closed off). 

Thrunton Woods Crag Top Circular Walk  - car park

The route is so easy to follow - just go through the gate in the car park and follow the green arrows as below. 

At the very start and end of the walk, you will see some of the area of the woods that have been damaged by the storm. It's so bleak and a stark contrast to the lush green you experience once you are actually in the woods. 

There is an incline at the very start (and then a sneaky one right at the end along the road back to the car park) but it's not too strenuous. 

The paths are all well worn with uneven / stony surfaces in parts. 

Thrunton Woods Crag Top Circular Walk  - signposts

Once you've climbed the hill, you'll enter the woods and the whole landscape suddenly changes. It's SO green! There are little streams running alongside the paths and it just felt so peaceful walking along, listening to the birds and running water. 

There isn't much to 'do' on this walk in terms of trails / sculptures to see etc..... It's more of a peaceful traditional woodland walk where you can immerse yourself in the scenery and enjoy nature and glorious views. Perfect for decompressing or a bit of mindfulness. 

We didn't see a single soul on the first half of the walk and on the second half we met an older couple (who were using a mobility scooter which seemed fine) and two women with a todder who was thoroughly enjoying splashing in the stream. We also met the cutest dog Stanley. Apart from that, we had the full place to ourselves. 

I always think a woodland walk is a chance for a proper chat and to just talk about things you wouldn't usually. For example Steve pointed out to me that the below plant is called Gorse and it has a little saying: 

'When gorse is out of blossom, then kissing's out of fashion' - basically because it's always in bloom so kissing will always be in fashion. I'd never even noticed it before but since Steve mentioned this to me, I've spotted Gorse in bloom all over the place. 

We listened to lots of different birds tweeting away, especially in the lower part of the woods and spotted two giant hares hopping along. 

As mentioned, it's SO difficult to get lost on this route as it's just a straight path then when there is a split in the path, there is a green arrow to point you in the correct direction. It's one big circle too so very easy navigation wise. 

You'll enjoy spectacular views peeking through the trees, especially on the upper levels of this walk. 

At the end of the walk there was a field full of lambs and we spent ages watching them. I'm not sure if they were more interested in us than we were them but they were so cute. 

I wore walking boots for this walk but I reckon I'd have been fine in trainers. 

Recommended Places to Eat Near Thrunton Woods

You can bring a picnic blanket and enjoy a picnic here but fires are strictly prohibited and there isn't any seating / tables along this route. Instead, I'd probably travel elsewhere for a picnic or bite to eat. Here are some options within a 15-20 minute drive: 

The Bosk, Breamish Valley (no pet dogs inside) 

The Bosk is a lovely restaurant near Powburn in Breamish Valley. They're generally open Wed-Sun but I would recommend booking ahead via their website as sometimes they close for private functions and weddings. 

Friday nights are pizza night. We love the pizzas here and it's a gorgeous setting. I'd also recommend their Sunday lunches. 

Rothbury Golf Club (dogs permitted on the terrace) 

Rotbury Golf Club

We visited Rothbury Golf Club with Fozzy and it's the kind of place that felt like a real hidden gem. Absolutely stunning views of the valley and delicious homemade cooking at a good price. 

Rothbury Golf Club 

If you get a nice day, dogs are welcome in the outdoor areas of Yvonnes Cakes and Catering based in Rothbury Golf Club less than a 20 minute drive away (free customer car park - NE65 7RX).

It's lovely here with delicious homemade food, reasonable prices and glorious views across the valley. Check their Facebook page for up-to-date opening hours and menus. 

Turks Head Rothbury (dog friendly) 

Turks Head Rothbury

The Turks Head in Rothbury is one of our go-tos when in the area. It's a dog-friendly pub with a large beer garden and proper home-cooked pub food. They have a kids menu too and although some places don't mind serving kids portions to older kids,  I think that this is the only place I've noticed openly mention a kids menu for under 16s rather than under 12s (or younger). 

Turks Head Rothbury 

Recommended Places to Visit Nearby 

The Thrunton Woods Crag Top Walk isn't a full day out so here are some ideas for nearby places to visit and combine with the walk: 

Rothbury Playground & Riverside Walk 

There's a lovely riverside playground and walk in nearby Rothbury with free parking too. If you combine with a potter around the town, you can spend a good few hours here. Read our guide to this walk here. 


Cragside is also close by and one of the best National Trust sites in the UK that's not to be missed. You can easily spend a full day here but if you're already visiting Thrunton Woods, maybe stick with one section. Some of our favourite areas: 

Cragside Play Area 

Cragside Gorge Walk 

Edlingham Castle 

Edlingham is a pretty unique, free-to-visit castle in Northumberland and pretty close to Thrunton Woods so if you've not visited before, worth a little visit at the same time. 

Find out more about this castle in our Northumberland Castle Challenge post. 

Ingram Valley 

Ingram Valley is the place to be if you want to immerse yourself in the Northumberland countryside. There are places to paddle, picturesque waterfall walks and a cafe too. 

Read our guide to visiting Ingram Valley for more information. 

Alnwick Garden / Castle /Lilidorei

Finally, head East and end your day at Alnwick Garden / Alnwick Castle or Lilidorei. All top-rated attractions in Northumberland. 

Why not download the Visit Northumberland app for more ideas? 

Recommended Places to Stay in the Area 

Pool at Breamish Valley Cottages 

Enclosed dog friendly garden at Copper Beech Cottages 


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