GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Simonside Hills

7 miles (11 km)

The Simonside Hills are a fabulous place for walkers with miles of footpaths taking you through woodland and moorland to wonderful viewpoints. You'll pass interesting rock formations, rocky outcrops and acres of forest as you make your way through this wildly beautiful area of the Northumberland National Park.
This circular walk starts at the parking area in Rothbury Forest and climbs to the 430m high Simonside Hill. From here there are wonderful views of the Cheviots, the River Coquet, Cragside Country Park and the Northumbrian coastline. You descend towards Harwood Forest before picking up the St Oswald's Way to return you to the car park.
It's easy to continue your walking in the area by heading to the wonderful Cragside Country Park which is located just a few miles away. You could also continue along the St Oswald's Way deeper into Harwood Forest.
You can also reach the hills from Rothbury town on our Rothbury Circular Walk. This includes lovely trails through Coquetdale and a visit to the interesting archaeological sites on Garleigh Moor above the town.

Simonside Hills OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Simonside Hills Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


Head a mile or so north of the hills and you'll come to the little village of Thropton. Here you'll find the excellent Three Wheat Heads Inn. The main advantage here is a wonderful large beer garden with wide ranging views of the surrounding countryside and hills. If the weather is fine it's the ideal spot to relax outside and enjoy a drink. The pub also has an interesting history, dating all the way back to the 18th century. They are dog friendly and do great food in the bar and the restaurant area. You can find the inn on Front Street at postcode NE65 7LR.
A couple of miles east of the hills you'll find the remotely located The Gate at Forestburn Gate. The inn has a lovely cosy real fire and a beer garden for warmer days. You can find the pub on the B6342 road at a postcode of NE61 4PS for your sat navs. The pretty Fontburn Reservoir is nearby so you could nip down to the tranquil spot and enjoy a stroll along the water if you have time.

Dog Walking

The hills and surrounding woodland are ideal for a dog walk. The Three Wheat Heads in Thropton also welcomes pets.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

Head a few miles north west from the hills and you can pick up the circular Alwinton Walk. The route starts in the nearby little village and visits the River Alwin, River Coquet, the ruins of Harbottle Castle, West Wood and the excellent viewpoint at the Drake Stone. There's also a 12th century Norman church and a couple of classic old village pubs to visit in the area. From the village car park you can also pick up the circular Usway Burn - River Coquet - Upper Coquetdale Walk.
The delightful villages of Elsdon and Otterburn are well worthy of a visit. The former includes anancient church, a large village green, the remains of the old motte and bailey castle and a noteworthy Pele tower. The latter has nice trails along the pretty Otter Burn and the historic Otterburn Hall with its fine architecture and deer park.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Northumberland Walks and the Northumberland National Park Walks pages.


Welcome to the Simonside Hills - - 872531

Welcome to the Simonside Hills. At the bottom of the steep path up Simonside is this information board.

Summit cairn on The Beacon, Simonside Hills - - 1193429

Summit cairn on The Beacon, Simonside Hills View west towards Simonside

Simonside Hills through a gate - - 1483753

Simonside Hills through a gate. Looking towards Simonside from the side of the wood on the road over Wards hill.

Simonside Car Park - - 1412797

The car park on the minor road below Simonside, from which the ascent of this striking hill is usually made. The path in the foreground is also shared by the St Oswald's Way. The hill beyond is Birky Hill, site of many cup-and-ring marked stones.

Climbing Simonside - - 872536

Climbing Simonside. The final ascent of Simonside is usually taken up this path. Alternatively a forestry road heads to the right, but takes you further away from the car park over Weather Head.

In Simonside forest - - 872488

In Simonside forest. A clear area between the planted trees reveals a steep sided valley with a burn gurgling away at the bottom beneath the bracken.

Simonside Solar Observatory^ - - 1193409

Simonside Solar Observatory! The alignment of the long hole through this huge boulder below The Beacon has led to speculation that it was set up deliberately to track the sun. The hole looks to me to probably have a more natural origin; but then I haven't seen the setting sun over Yarnspath Law, 23 miles distant in the Cheviot HillsNT8813, shining through it on the Summer Solstice.

In Simonside forest - - 874100

One of the marked trails descends to this bridge where it meets another of the trails. You still feel as though you are deep in the forest but are only 300 yards from the car park.


GPS Files

GPX File

Simonside Hills.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Share>Save to Files')

Memory Map Route

Simonside Hills.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Share>Save to Files)