As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer this spring, it’s the perfect time to plan a hike. May is National Walking Month, which aims to encourage more people to get outside and enjoy exploring the outdoors by foot.

To help inspire you to get outside and explore Durham’s great outdoors, we’ve picked five fab short circular walks you can enjoy this spring, 5 miles (8km) or under.

family walking hand in hand through lush green trees at Auckland Castle Deer Park

Auckland Castle Deer Park, 1 - 3 miles (1.6 - 4.8 km) 

Take your pick from one of three walks at Auckland Castle Deer Park – where history and nature intertwine.

Nestled in the heart of Bishop Auckland, in the grounds of Auckland Castle this picturesque 150-acre park invites you to step back in time and immerse yourself in lush greenery, ancient trees, and hidden heritage. Although the deer are long gone, the historic park retains many of its original features, including the Georgian Deer House, an Obelisk and the 18th century Trevor Bridge

Open daily from dusk until dawn, Auckland Castle Deer Park is free to explore.

View of Crimdon Dene Beach on a bright sunny day with blue sky

Crimdon Walk, 3 miles (4.8km)

This 3 mile circular walk takes in part of the Durham Heritage Coastal footpath, which guarantees spectacular clifftop views, beautiful beaches and wildlife watching opportunities aplenty. 

You can extend your walk by heading down to the golden sands of Crimdon Beach to enjoy a beachside picnic or refreshing plodge. Crimdon is also home to Durham coast’s only sand dunes, which are also home to the rare Little Tern seabird (May to August). 

family with back to camera stand and admire the view of Durham Cathedral from the banks of the River Wear on a bright sunny day

Durham City Riverside Walk, 3 miles (4.8km)

A definite must-do experience when visiting Durham City, this tranquil riverside walk is perfect for taking some time out and admiring beautiful riverside scenery in the heart of historic Durham City.

Follow the ancient paths along the River Wear, admire the spectacular view of Durham Cathedral and Castle towering above. And don’t miss the hidden heritage and artwork along the way, including The Count’s House, Prebends Bridge and the life size Durham Cow sculpture. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous Grey Herons of Durham and illusive otters that call the river home.

View of people walking past the lake and Temple of Minerva at Hardwick Countryside Park, Durham

Hardwick Park and Bishop's Fen Walk, 3.9 miles (6.3km) 

Lose yourself in the tranquil countryside of southern Durham, as you follow the trail through wetlands, woods and historic parkland. 

A great walk for those who love wildlife watching and bird spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for Mallard ducks, Buzzards and Sparrows as you head out of Hardwick Park and follow the path along the River Skerne, through beautiful woodland and past farmland with grazing sheep and cattle. 

The walk starts and ends in Hardwick Country Park, where you can spot the Gruffalo alongside other outdoor artwork. And don't miss Hardwick Park Visitor Centre to pick up a tasty treat from the Tower Cafe. 

View of High Force Waterfall in the Durham Dales surrounded by lush green trees.

High Force and Bowlees Geotrail, 4 - 5 miles (6.4 - 8km)

If you want to experience the Durham Dales and North Pennines National Landscape at its very best, this walk is for you. The trail can be started at High Force Waterfall car park or Bowlees Visitor Centre, and will introduce you to some of the most special features of the surrounding wild landscape. 

Wander along this captivating trail, follow the rhythm of waterfall and trace the path carved by ancient geological forces. Marvel at the sheer power of High Force Waterfall, one of England's most spectacular natural wonders, before meandering through scenic woodlands and meadows to reach Low Force Waterfall, where the River Tees cascades over ancient rocks, creating a serene symphony of sight and sound.  

Check out our dedicated walking in Durham page for even more inspiration, including hundreds of other walks, from long distance to dog-friendly, to explore across the county. 




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