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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    341 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    11.4 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Simonside Hills Circular Walk

    Simonside Hills Circular Walk

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    Table of contents

    The Simonside Hills Circular Walk is an amazing walking route that will expose the natural beauty and rich history of Northumberland. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill through the forest to view interesting geological formations, before traversing the Simonside hills to the east on the way to the fascinating Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort. This is an exceptional adventure for anyone who enjoys scenic views and learning about the history of the region.

    Route Description for Simonside Hills Circular Walk

    The Simonside Hills Circular Walk features some rough and rugged terrain that includes woodlands, rocky crags, and moor-covered hills, and will definitely require proper walking boots with good support to traverse. Additionally, parking at the trailhead is free; however, it can also be very busy, so be sure to arrive early to secure a space.

    Although some of the terrain on this walk can be a bit difficult to traverse, when combined with the scenic views and interesting historical and geological sites, it makes for an amazing day on the trails. For those who love learning about the history of Northumberland, the Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort will provide plenty of opportunity to explore. Similarly, the interesting rock formations of Little Church Rock and Criss Cross Rock are perfectly suited for anyone with an interest in the geological past of the region. No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone on the Simonside Hills Circular Walk.

    Setting out from the car park, you will follow the path leading to the northwest through the forest, climbing uphill over the next 1.7 km to arrive at a junction in the trail, turning left here, you will make a short detour off the main path to visit the intriguing rock formation known as Little Church Rock. Turning back towards the main trail, you will head left and continue on your way, quickly passing by another well-known formation in the area, Criss Cross Rock.

    From here, you will follow the track as it heads uphill to the southwest, before turning back to the east for the climb over the Simonside Hills. Heading to the southeast, you will follow the trail as it traverses the rugged and rocky landscape of the moor covered hills, enjoying the sweeping views of the surrounding area as you make your way across the summit of Simonside and Dove Crag.

    At this point, you will continue on to the east and descend the hillside, keeping right along the trail for 1.5 km to arrive at the edge of the road. After crossing over to the opposite side, you will head straight past the car park and make your way up the hill, where you will be able to explore the fascinating historical sites surrounding the Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort. Here, you will be able to see the remnants of a settlement from over 2000 years ago, as well as ‘cup and ring’ carvings that likely date back to the neolithic area.

    After exploring the site and taking in the views of the surrounding area, you will make your way back down the hillside towards the edge of the road. Turning right here, you will follow the road to the northwest for 1.8 km in order to arrive back at the car park where you began the Simonside Hills Circular walk.

    Trail Highlights

    Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort

    Occupied roughly 2000 years ago, the Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort can be found in the county of Northumberland, just west of the summit of Garleigh Hill, and features double ramparts, as well as the impressions of roundhouses. Nearby, one of the largest collections of ancient “cup and ring” etchings can be found carved into the rock, likely created by Neolithic and Bronze Age people between 3500-6000 years ago.

    Insider Hints for Simonside Hills Circular Walk

    • Wear proper walking boots with good support, as some sections of this walk are fairly rugged.
    • Parking here is free, although you might need to arrive early to secure a space.

    Getting to the Simonside Hills Circular Walk Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Simonside Hills Circular Walk can be found at the Simonside Car Park, just 5.0 km southwest of Rothbury.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground:


    • When to do:


    • Pets allowed:

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly:

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:


    Simonside Hills Circular Walk Elevation Graph

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