01/05/2021

Simonside Hills walk & Dove Crag near Rothbury, one of the best walks in Northumberland for all the family

 

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
Looking towards Rothbury from Simonside in Northumberland on this excellent family walk


Simonside walk in Northumberland overview:


Simonside walk distance: 4.5 miles (7.3km)
Simonside walk time: 2-3 hours with stops
Difficulty: Easy-moderate


This Simonside walk is a cracking walk for all the family and has a bit of everything; woodland, a variety of great views and quirky rock formations. Its fairly easy going all teh way really with just a bit of an uphill section up to the Simonside summit, but this proved no difficulty for our gang aged from 4 to 70!

Simonside & Dove crag walk map route:

I recommend doing the walk in an anti-clockwise direction heading to the 430m summit of Simonside first and then onto Dove crag and back into the woodland 

As you can see the car park itself is pretty high up so it's not much uphill walking for the great views you encounter



Photos of what to expect on this Simonside walk:



Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
The official Forestry car park (free to park) marks the start of this walk and there is ample space for a lot of cars

As you can see there was quite a gang of us in this walk - which included kids aged, 4,5, 8 and a 1 year-old who got carried all the way! Alright for some eh! The kids done really well to finish it with no real problems for them, we just made sure we had quite a few stops and I guess our walk was slower than most.

The first section of the walk is in a nice woodland and sheltered out any wind

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
The views open out a bit as the woodland clears and we can see the summit of Simonside just in the centre of the photo. This is the point to get off the main path and explore Little Church rock if you wish - just turn 90 degrees left and it's about 100m up.



Little Church rock enroute to Simonside, just retrace your steps to get back on the main path after visiting it 




Looking north towards the village of Thropton - we'll later be heading to a pub in this village

The summit of Simonside beckons - we'll stop just near that big rock to the right for a spot of lunch. As we had never walked to Simonside before - we did initially think we'd walk to this very point and see how the kids feel and if they are up to continuing or whether we should turnaround and head back the way we came. But it was quicker than we thought to get to this point and this uphill section (the main uphill you will do) looked very achievable - so we continued the walk :-)

The steps make it easier going up this section and it wasn't too difficult 

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
Cracking views at the top looking towards Rothbury

The kids made it and are buzzing :-)

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
You get some superb views all along the edge up here

The unique weathered rock of Simonside


Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
Swim anyone? :-) The kids enjoyed playing around the quick rock formations 

Heading onto Dove Crag. The footpath is well marked on the full section of the walk you can't go wrong really 

A totally unexpected hail shower - which wasn't forcast at all!

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
Looking back towards the summit of Simonside from Dove Crag

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
You can see how the hail has covered the ground of the far Simonside Hills

Heading down now into Joe's wood

Simonside hills walk Northumberland near Rothbury best route map family car parking Dove Crag
The path is very easy going from this point

The sun comes out now - we literally had 4 seasons in one day on this walk



The walk ends in woodland as it started and the scent of the pine tree's fills the air 

Approaching the bridge over Coe Burn beck

We're nearly back at the car park now and the 4.5 mile walk is just about complete! The kids are tired but really enjoyed it :-)



An ideal finish to this walk


Pub beer garden near Rothbury Northumberland best
We where actually staying in a cottage on the weekend of this walk near Rothbury- and came across a pub in the village of Thropton called the 'Three Wheat Heads Inn' which had a superb beer garden looking towards Simonside - the food was spot on too - really recommend it.

Pub beer garden near Rothbury Northumberland best
Can't beat a nice well-earned pint after a walk, happy days :-)


I hope you enjoyed this blog post and it has shed some light on planning a walk to Simonside. It was the first time we had visited the area and weren't really sure where to have a walk - but very glad we chose this route as I can't imagine there being a better one for our group in the area. If you go I'm sure you won't be disappointed!


Post by Stuart Hodgson 
'The Hiking Photographer'


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