Whichever route you take across the moors to Alston, you’re unlikely to be stuck in traffic. If there’s such a thing as wilderness in England, this is it, the North Penines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, rich in wildlife and geological heritage, a place much loved by poet WH Auden.

The North Pennines is the second largest AONB in England and Wales, covering parts of Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland and a tiny bit of North Yorkshire.

Wild moorland and heathland, hay meadow and blanket bog are its special characteristics while black and red grouse, golden plover, curlew and ring ouzel are some of the bird species found here.

In the 19th century Alston Moor was home to a thriving lead mining industry which riddled the countryside with holes and tunnels like a Swiss cheese.

Today the mines are long shut and Alston Moor is a considerably quieter place, that tranquillity attracting walkers and cyclists alike. The C2C cycle route, the Pennine Way, the South Tyne Trail and Isaac’s Tea Trail all pass through this striking landscape.

Attractions

Information

Explore North Pennines website: www.explorenorthpennines.org.uk

Stay connected

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the LAKE DISTRICT travel guide.