Brackenlea Cottage

Northumberland National Park



Walking beside Alwinton church

Upper Coquetdale is an ideal hill walking area, with huge areas of open access land on the hills and moorland of the Northumberland National Park which surround the dale.

The walking is superb, and the area is so large with so many possible routes that you can walk all day without seeing a soul.

The walks can vary from gentle strolls on good tracks, to major expeditions into the Cheviot Hills, where navigation skills, stamina and equipment can be severely tested.

We keep a full set of 1:25000 OS maps in the cottage for the use of guests, plus a comprehensive set of guides containing hundreds of walks.

Click here for an illustrated example of a walk from the cottage.

Cheviot Walks is an excellent free resource for walks in the Cheviot Hills.



There are several important gardens in the area which are well worth visits. The world famous Alnwick Garden is 30 minutes away and can be combined with a visit to Alnwick Castle and Alnwick town.

Howick Hall Gardens has been rated by the BBC Gardener's World Magazine as one of the top 5 coastal gardens in the country, and a visit can be combined with a trip to the fishing village of Craster and the atmospheric Dunstanburgh Castle.

Also well worth a tour is Lord Armstrongs Cragside Estate, with a walled garden, a recently restored cascade and a large estate of woodland, crags and lakes to expore. Cragside is only 10 miles from the cottage.

Alnwick Garden


Cragside House

The National trust property of Cragside, home of Lord Armstrong and the first house in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity , powered by generators on the estate, is only 10 miles from the cottage. Not much further away is the other major Trust property in the area, Wallington Hall, home of the Trevelyan family.

Also recommended are visits to the Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Northumberland and Bamburgh Castle, the current home of Lord Armstrong.




The Coquet is renowned for its Salmon and Sea Trout, and the cottage is situated within easy reach of stretches where reasonably priced 1 day and 7 day permits are available.

Fishers of Rothbury can supply all the information you need for fishing in the immediate area, Tel. 01669 621011.

We are also less than an hours drive from Kielder Reservoir, where coarse fishing permits for the reservoir and game permits for the North Tyne are available. Details of permits can be found on the National Park Fishing page

Misty river coquet

The Otterburn Ranges


The MoD Otterburn Artillery Ranges occupy most of the moorland to the south of Upper Coquetdale. These ranges are well cared for by the Army, and contain some of the most beautiful wild and unspoilt (except for the odd tank!) moorland in England. When there is no live firing you are allowed to drive over many of the Army's roads and walk & ride the rights of way.

If you are keen on walking, MTB'ng or climbing then a great time to visit us is between April 15th and May 15th, when access is allowed. This is the lambing season and no firing is going on then.

The ranges are also open one Sunday each month and on all Bank Holidays.

Information from the MOD is available here. Also details of firing times for the next couple of months is published here

Otterburn ranges

Other activities

The closest course is an 18 hole meadowland course by the river at Rothbury, and there are excellent links courses on the coast. The Dunstanburgh Castle course at Embleton is a particular favourite - a classic links course in a fabulous setting.
Rothbury Golf Course 15 mins
Foxton Hall 45 mins
Alnmouth Village 45 mins
Dunstanburgh Castle 50 mins

40 mins


Rock Climbing

This is not the best known area of Northumberland for climbing, but there are some excellent crags nearby, with the very best Northumbrian Sandstone on offer. The nearest is The Drakestone, which can be seen from the bedroom window and is just 15 minutes walk from the cottage. Details of all of these crags can be found in the online guide, and copies of the two NMC guides are kept in the cottage.

Simonside Hills 15 mins
Rothbury Moors 15 mins
Cheviot Hills  
Horse Riding
Redesdale Riding Centre 20 mins
Townfoot Stables 40 Mins
Something different

Somewhere for the children - The Cement Menagerie

Cement Menagerie at Branxton

40 mins

Open from Easter to the end of October, every day. This is a wonderfully eccentric collection of 300 painted cement animals in an otherwise ordinary suburban style garden in the small village of Branxton created in the 60's by a pensioner for his disabled son to enjoy.

Branxton is just off the A697 north of Wooler and is also the site of the Battle of Flodden.

Some photos from a visitor are here

Farne Islands 45 mins Best during the nesting season in early summer, a boat trip around the seabird colonies of the Farnes is an unforgettable experience.
Village Farm Health Club & Spa 40 mins Pool, Spa and Fitness Gym
Barter Books , Alnwick 35 mins One of the largest 2nd hand bookshops in Britain, you can spend many a happy hour browsing and drinking fresh filter coffee
Gateshead Metro Centre 1hr 10mins Europe's largest shopping and leisure complex.
The Star Inn, Netherton 10 Mins This unique pub has been in every Good Beer Guide, and only serves one beer, Castle Eden Bitter. It's part time, so check the opening hours first.

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