Exploring the Pennine Way Around Alston Moor

by | Activities, Alston, Discover Alston, North Pennines AONB, Salvin House, Visit Alston, Walks

This article is part of our Discover Alston series. You can find more articles here

The Pennine Way, one of Britain’s most iconic long-distance walking paths, stretches an impressive 268 miles from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. Among the many breathtaking sections of this iconic route, the part that winds through the North Pennines National Landscape, including Alston Moor, is particularly notable for its dramatic scenery and rich history.

A Brief History of the Pennine Way

High Cup Nick on the Pennine Way with its dramatic U-shaped valley and surrounding hills

The dramatic U-shaped valley of High Cup Nick, a highlight along the Pennine Way.


The Pennine Way was the brainchild of Tom Stephenson, a passionate advocate for walkers’ rights. Inspired by the Appalachian Trail in the United States, Stephenson envisioned a path that would allow walkers to explore the spine of England. Officially launched in 1965, the Pennine Way quickly became a beloved trail for avid hikers, offering an unparalleled journey through some of the UK’s most stunning landscapes.

The North Pennines National Landscape


Pennine Way signpost near Alston with rolling hills in the background

A signpost for the Pennine Way near Alston, guiding hikers through the scenic North Pennines.

Formerly designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) from 1988 to 2023, the rebranded North Pennines National Landscape is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural heritage. This area boasts a diverse range of habitats, from heather moorlands and peat bogs to hay meadows and ancient woodlands. It’s a paradise for nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, and geologists alike.

Walking the Pennine Way in the North Pennines

High Force waterfall along the Pennine Way with cascading water

The Pennine Way passing the impressive High Force waterfall, a must-see landmark in the North Pennines.

Several noteworthy walks along the Pennine Way traverse the North Pennines, each offering unique glimpses into this captivating region. Here are some highlights:

  1. High Cup Nick: Often considered one of the most spectacular sights on the Pennine Way, High Cup Nick is a U-shaped valley offering breathtaking views. The walk to High Cup Nick can start from Dufton, taking you through lush green fields and up to the dramatic cliff edge.
  2. Cross Fell: As the highest point on the Pennine Way, Cross Fell offers a challenging but rewarding hike. On a clear day, the summit provides panoramic views across the Eden Valley to the Lake District and the west coast.
  3. Cauldron Snout: This part of the trail runs alongside the River Tees, leading to the impressive Cauldron Snout waterfall. The walk from Cow Green Reservoir to Cauldron Snout is rugged and remote, perfect for those seeking a bit of adventure.

Alston Moor: A Historical Gem

A walker on the Pennine Way near Alston with scenic hills and paths

A lone walker enjoys the scenic trails of the Pennine Way near Alston.

Nestled within the North Pennines, Alston Moor is a historic area that the Pennine Way runs through. This charming region, centred around the ancient market town of Alston,, with its cobbled streets and stone buildings, offers a glimpse into the past. Once a bustling centre for lead mining, Alston Moor now serves as a tranquil base for walkers exploring the Pennine Way.

Salvin House: The Ideal Base


View of the Pennine Way from Salvin House with rolling hills and stone walls

A picturesque view across the Pennine Way from Salvin House, highlighting the beauty of the North Pennines.

For those planning to explore the Pennine Way and the North Pennines, Salvin House Alston is the perfect base. This beautifully restored Georgian townhouse offers comfortable accommodation with modern amenities while retaining its historic charm.

From Salvin House, you can easily access various sections of the Pennine Way. After a day of walking, relax in the cosy lounge or enjoy a meal at one of the local pubs. The house’s convenient location means you’re never far from the next adventure, whether it’s a hike up Cross Fell or a leisurely stroll through Alston’s historic streets.

Other Local Walks

Isaac's Tea Trail signpost with the Pennine Way and rolling countryside in the background

A signpost marking Isaac’s Tea Trail, inviting walkers to explore the historic route through the North Pennines.

Apart from the Pennine Way, the area around Alston Moor offers several other walking opportunities:

  • South Tyne Trail: Following the course of the South Tyne River, this trail offers a gentler walk compared to the rugged Pennine Way. It’s ideal for those who want to enjoy the scenic beauty at a more relaxed pace.
  • Isaac’s Tea Trail: This 37-mile circular route celebrates the life of Isaac Holden, a local tea seller and philanthropist. The trail passes through picturesque villages and stunning landscapes, making it a delightful walk for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

Memorable Walking Experiences

The Pennine Way’s passage through the North Pennines National Landscape offers some of the most memorable walking experiences in the UK. From the dramatic vistas of High Cup Nick to the historic charm of Alston Moor, this region is a walker’s paradise. With Salvin House as your base, you can explore these wonders in comfort, making your adventure on the Pennine Way truly unforgettable. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, the North Pennines promises a journey filled with natural beauty and rich history.




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