Going green has never been more important and with so many beautiful areas to explore in Durham, you will find that it’s also extremely enjoyable. 

From cycle routes to hiking trails, Durham and the surrounding dales and historic vale has it all. 

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or novice rambler, Durham is accessible to most. Below, we have listed various outdoor adventures that you could enjoy on your visit up North that won't break the bank, will keep you and our planet healthy and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

View of High Force Waterfall at sunset

The Teesdale Way 

In its entirety, The Teesdale Way is a mammoth 92 miles long and follows the River Tees from its source in Cumbria to the north east coast. Along this route you'll pass through The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark and vast areas of the Durham Dales, including some of the best waterfalls in the UK - High and Low Force which make for fantastic photos. 

Picturesque villages also line the route including Egglestone, Romaldkirk and Cotherstone. Other highlights include the bustling martket town of Barnard Castle and The Bowes Museum. 

There are plenty of accommodation options along the way from 5-star hotels to boutique B&Bs to caravan parks so you will always have somewhere to put your feet up and rest after a leisurely ramble. 

A view of Derwent Reservoir at sunrise

Derwent Waterside Park 

If you’re looking for a park that has it all including stunning views, a visitor centre, a play park, and a picnic area then look no further than Derwent Waterside Park.

Suitable for all, including your four-legged family members, this reservoir offers circular walks, fishing, seasonal activities and an abundance of wildlife including red kites, ospreys, weasels, stoats and rabbits. Perfect for nature lovers. 

If you are in awe of the views, you can also pitch up close by in the nearby Derwent View Glamping located at the south of the reservoir which is also suitable for campervans and motorhomes. Here you can also meet and greet the resident llamas!

couple walking through the durham dales countryside

Northern Saints

The Northern Saints Trails are long-distance walking routes based on ancient pilgrimage routes, which make for a beautiful pilgrimage for those interested in theology, history and the North East.

Known as the ‘Christian Crossroads of the British Isles’, the trail brings the fascinating stories of the region’s Saints to life, set against a backdrop of the very best attractions, landscapes, and places to eat.

There are six trails in total featuring the likes of the infamous Angel of the North, Whitley Bay’s Spanish City, The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty, Northumberland National Park, churches, windmills and everything in between.

You can challenge yourself to a long-distance trek or exploring shorter sections with these bitesize itineraries

Green Man sculpture at Hamsterley Forest 

Hamsterley Forest 

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life by visiting Durham's largest forest. 

Spanning 2,000 hectares, the mixed scenic woodland of Hamsterley Forest lies between the Wear and Tees valleys and is on the edge of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are several walking, horse riding and cycling trails to choose from. In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Fans of Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo? Are you brave enough to venture into the deep dark wood and embark on the exciting walk where they could bump into various characters - maybe you can spot them all? 

For the mountain bikers out there, whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned pro, there are excellent routes here including orange graded trails to get that adrenaline pumping. 

Horse riding is permitted on the quieter routes and the surroundings make for a wonderful, peaceful ride. All trails are marked accordingly. There is also a Viking themed forest play park which is open all year round. 

man cycling through the heather clad moorland of the North Pennines and Durham Dales.

C2C - Sea to Sea

For keen cyclists and a true challenge, why not attempt the C2C (sea to sea) cycle route? Starting off in the formidable Lake District and finishing on the East coast, this 140 mile route takes you on an active adventure through wild landscapes across the ‘roof of England’. Steering you to the east, through the wild windswept Durham Dales moorlands, with many stop off points along the way including Consett, Stanhope and Chester-le-Street.

Note, this route can be extremely difficult at times and many people choose to do this over a four day period. For refuelling, once you arrive in the Durham Dales, there are plenty of options to choose from

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