logo Walking Britain

North Pennines Walk
Garrigill to Alston & back via Nenthead

Region - North Pennines

County/Area - Cumbria - North Pennines

Author - Andy Chaplin

Length - 13.1 miles / 21.3 km    Ascent - 1350 feet / 409 metres

Time - 7 hours 50 minutes    Grade - moderate

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL31Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL31Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 87Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 87Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Garrigill to Alston & back via Nenthead
Click image to see photo description.

This route is one of a series of circular or "there-and back" walks along the Pennine Way. This particular walk also includes a section of the Isaac's Tea Trail from Alston together with part of the Sea to Sea Cycle route or C2C as it is better known. In addition there is a chance to explore the market town of Alston, which is the highest market town in England lying about 1000 feet above sea level.

Park in the village of Garrigill as near to the George & Dragon as possible (Gris ref. NY745416). There is plenty of on-road parking in the village but this is a circular walk so guess where you will be coming back to?

Take the Pennine Way north west along the road out of the village then along the South Tyne river. After a mile and a half you cross over the river and continue along the east bank all the way to Alston. It is pretty easy low level walking and well signed all the way with only one deviation from a straight path at Bleagate.

When the Pennine Way comes onto the A686 on the outskirts of Alston carry on into town, turn right up the hill past the church then left as the main road bends off to the right. The road goes amongst houses then becomes a track along the river Nent - at which point you join Isaac's Tea Trail. Alternatively, before you make your way out of Alston you may want to have a look around the town, the impressive church or visit the terminus of the narrow-gauge South Tyneside railway.

The onward section to Nenthead follows the south bank of the River Nent until the road up to and around Blagill. The Tea Trail follows the B6294 to Foreshield Bridge, picks up the river again to Nenthall, then climbs up above the road all the way into Nenthead.

From Nenthead take the road going south west climbing up to Nunnery Hill - which is part of the Sea to Sea cycle route - C2C. There are good views back to Nenthead mines then once over the top at Nunnery Hill there are views down to Garrigill way below in the South Tyne valley. Reaching the B6277 walk south to the path through Loaning Head which ends up as a fairly steep and narrow path back to Garrigill bridge and the George & Dragon.


Other walks nearby

Walk 3758 Tynehead and Ashgill Force from near Garrigilleasy/mod8.2 miles
Walk 1659 Race Head & Sedling Rake from Wearhead easy/mod6.0 miles
Walk 3274 Cronkley Scar & Cauldron Snout from Cow Greenmoderate8.0 miles
Walk 1683 High Cup Nick from Cow Green Reservoir moderate12.8 miles
Walk 3336 Cauldron Snout from Cow Green Reservoir easy3.6 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Pennine Way Map Booklet

Pennine Way Map BookletMap of the 270 miles (435km) Pennine Way National Trail, between Edale in the Peak District and Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps. This popular long-distance route typically takes three weeks to complete.
More information

Walking in the North Pennines

Walking in the North PenninesThis guidebook describes 50 day walks across the North Pennines, England's remotest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty taking in parts of Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland. Most of the routes are circular and they range from 5 to 14 miles, with something to suit all abilities. Route descriptions are accompanied by 1:50K OS mapping.
More information

Outdoor Photography

Outdoor PhotographyThis practical handbook covers digital outdoor photography and the whole range of outdoor activities including walking, running, cycling, water sports (in and on the water), as participant or spectator. Covers basic concepts, equipment and processing and optimising your images back at base.
More information

Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

North Pennines Walking

This AONB, the second largest in area, covers some wild and remote landscapes in northern England. The area is dominated by the Pennine hills and includes large areas of undulating heather moors and peat. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Milburn Grange Holiday Cottages
Appleby-in-Westmorland
9.6 miles / 15.4 km away
* Featured Supplier
The Hollies
Appleby-in-Westmorland
13.2 miles / 21.1 km away
Appleby Manor Country House Hotel
Appleby-in-Westmorland
13.6 miles / 21.7 km away
Heather Glen Country Hotel
Ainstable
13.6 miles / 21.8 km away
Eden Holidays
Appleby-in-Westmorland
13.7 miles / 21.9 km away

Self Catering & Cottage Holidays - Properties throughout the UK & Europe

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news. Facebook Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.