WildlifeWithin the area, spruce, larch, Scots Pine and lodgepole pine are grown to supply timber for industry and create splendid shelter for a wealth of wildlife. As well as roe deer, badgers, otters and foxes, it is also home to red squirrels and much activity is underway to preserve the habitat for this much loved creature.

There is birdlife in abundance too since the area can count the red and black grouse, the hen harrier, golden plover and merlin as residents.


RSPB website - www.rspb.org.uk



Longtown welcomes cyclists to the area and boasts a number of picturesque cycle routes suitable for all ages and levels of experience.  Why not talk to your host about the different cycle routes available? Here is a taster of some of the most popular routes with visitors to The Debatable Lands


Hadrian’s Wall

Cycle beside the Roman Wall on Hadrian’s Cycleway, a new  long distance route opened in July 2006.
For more details visit www.hadrians-wall.org/Plan_Walking_info.aspx and


CyclistsBorder Reivers

There is also a Border Reivers cycle route that is roughly 187 miles long and the journey takes you through the Longtown area. 

See www.holiday-lakeland.co.uk/reivers for more details.


Carlisle to Glasgow

Route 74 is the newly established Carlisle to Glasgow cycle route.  Longtown is the first and last English town on this 193 mile journey which uses the old A74 road - now replaced by the M74 motorway.

See www.gobike.org/feat_route74.php for more details.


Eden Valley Circular Cycle Route
Spur 1 of the Eden Valley Circular Cycle Route from Carlisle to Brampton is an ideal way to experience much of The Debatable Lands. The majority of the route is on small, quiet roads that see little more than local traffic and provide spectacular views of the beautiful countryside.


click to see a larger version



With its attractive 18th Century bridge, Longtown is the perfect area to explore a variety of spectacular woodland walks, wildlife and pony trekking routes along the River Esk and surrounding countryside.  Please speak to your host for further information on these superb opportunities around the Longtown area.


Bailey Mill (easy)

Distance 3 miles approximately.
Use Explorer Map 324 Liddesdale and Kershope Forest.

Park in the lay by near the sign “Bailey Mill” GR: NY 515785. From the lay by follow down the road to Bailey Mill Bridge. At the bridge go through a gate and follow the river bank to stile, then onwards to another stile which you cross. Keeping the fence on your right, continue to two footbridges which you cross. Turn and follow the farm track to Low Todholes farm. At farm gate turn left and cross the field to a footbridge over Blacklyne Water. Go up the hill to a wicket gate where you turn right onto a farm road. Pass Nook Farm on your right and walk up the hill past Holehead on your right. Continue until you reach the B6318 road. Turn left and go approximately ½ mile to a way marker “Public footpath Craig’s”. Go through the gate and follow a grassy track to Little Craigs where you turn right and go down through the fields to a footbridge over Bailey Water.

Cross this and at the road turn left and go up the hill to your car.

Bewcastle Church

Use Explorer Map 324 Liddlesdale & Kershope Forest. Approximatley 2 miles.

From the car park at Bewcastle Church,( with your back to the church),turn right and at the main road turn right again and follow this road up hill for approximately one mile.

At the way marker in front of the cattle grid and “New House” turn left down a lane (unmetalled cart track), past a wood and through a gate. Continue on this lane until a gate is reached on your left. Go through this gate and continue past Park Farm and also Park Old School House. Continue until you reach a way marker. Go down the side of this field to a footbridge and stile. Cross this and then continue across the fields, following way markers until you reach the road. Turn left and after a short distance you will reach your starting point.
At the church, notice the Bewcastle Cross, circa 8th century, the exhibition and many interesting headstones with coats of arms dating from 1657.

A permissive way marked footpath now can be followed. Leave the car park and descend the hill to Shopford House (once the Limekiln Inn).Pass this and continue to a lane on your left. Follow the way markers throughout. Good views can be seen from the higher ground. Approximately 3 miles.


Distance approximately: 2miles
Use Explorer Map 324 Liddesdale & Kershope Forest.
GR: NY 449773

Car-parking is available at Nicholforest Public Hall.

From the car park turn left and follow this quiet road to Nicholforest Church. Opposite the church is a way – marker “Bridleway Catlowdy” at the lane end. Follow this lane passed Kingfield House until you reach a gate. Keep right here and follow the lane to another gate. Cross the field and also cross a small stream. Turn right and cross this field to a footbrige and gate. Go through the gate and follow the edge of the field to a gate on your left. Hence immediately turn right and go down the field to a stile and footbridge which you cross. Continue across this next field to a kissing gate and narrow lane which takes you passed some houses and back to the car park.

Note: Red squirrels and peacocks may be seen as near Kingfield House.


Nicholforest (no.2)

Distance approximately: 3 ½ miles
Use Explorer Map 324 Liddlesdale & Kershope Forest.
GR: NY 449773

Car-parking is available at Nicholforest Public Hall.

From the car park, turn left and after 50 meters and way marker: “Public Footpath Watleyhirst”, go through the gate and down the field and across a footbridge. Follow the way markers with stream on your right. Cross the stile and a fence and continue straight ahead with extensive views to the left with Cniffel in the far distance. Continue straight until you reach a stile. Pass through Watleyhirst garden and at the road turn right.


After 100 metres you reach a gate on your left, way marked “Public Bridleway The Nook”. Through the gate follow the lane to another gate and keeping in the lane, continue to Old Hall Farm. Hence turn right through the gate:’ Way marker Public Footpath Stoneygate’.

Cross the field and go through a gate, then cross another field to a gate where you reach a tarmac lane. Turn right and continue along the lane until you reach a minor road. Here, turn left and after 25 metres you reach a way marker ‘Public Bridleway Heathery Fold’. Turn right into this lane and continue as far as Whiteknowe Farm. Pass in front of the farmhouse and follow a grassy track to a gate. Through the gate turn right and continue with the fence on your right. Pass through another gate and along a field to a further gate. Turn right and follow the side of the field with a hedge, then a wood on your right. Pass through a gate to a lane with a sign ‘Caution Farm Traffic’.


Down the lane is Kingfield House on your left. Here you may see red squirrels and peacocks. Continue down the lane to the minor road and Nicholforest Church. Turn left on the road and follow this road for ½ mile, back to the car park.

Christianbury Crags

Distance approximately: 10 miles ( round trip)
Use Explorer Map 324 Liddesdale & Kershope Forest
GR: NY 521808

Car- Parking is available at Cuddy’s Burn Picnic Site on the B6318 road.
Choose a good clear day for this walk, to enjoy the extensive views from the crags.

From the car park follow the way-marked route on forest roads to Blacklyne House. Cross the Blacklyne River and again follow way markers to a large unplanted area. Turn right at the end of this area and again follow way markers to a ditch which you cross. Turn left and follow a rough path up to the Crags. Return by the same route.

Christianbury Crags (Alternative route)

Distance approximately: 10 miles (round trip).

Choose a clear day for an extensive view from the Crags.
Car parking at the Flatt Forestry car park.

From the car park follow the way-marked route through the forest,by the Whitelyne river, the rough path up Ellery Grain and a rough path by the ditch,(the fosse of the Galwegians) to the crags.



Distance: 3 miles, (easy)
Use Explorer map 324 Liddlesdale & Kershope Forest.
GR: NY 484714

From Stapleton Public Hall,turn left and immediately past the house turn right through the gate. Continue straight ahead and down the field to a footbridge over the River Tyne. Cross this and climb up through the field to Gibstown and the farm road. Follow this for a short distance until a way marker is reached. Here, turn right and follow the farm road past Sykehead and onwards to Low Luckens Resource Centre. Just before the farm, turn right through a gate and cross the fields and continue down to the river. Turn right and cross a stile, following the path through the wood and sometimes near the river until you reach the river and footbridge (which you encountered on your outward journey). Retrace your route back to the car-park.


Distance approximately: 4 miles
Use Explorer Map 324 Liddlesdale & Kershope Forest.
GR: 517749

Car-parking is available at Roadhead Village Hall

From Car park turn right and follow this road up the hill to a signpost(‘Kinkry Hill,Cumcrook’, Dodgsontown Ford).Here, turn right and follow this road to a farmhouse on your left. Immediately past this house turn left down a grassy lane and through two fields to reach a road at Netherhill Farm. Pass through the farm yard, down the field,across a footbridge and a stile. Continue through two fields to a gate and the road. Turn left and follow this road down hill to the Blacklyne River. Turn right through a gate and follow the path a short distance to a footbridge.

After crossing the bridge a short path takes you to a road where you turn right. Continue up the hill to a road junction where you turn right. Follow this road passed Sleetbeck farm and past houses on both sides of the road, until you reach a cross roads. Here turn right and follow this road until you reach a road-bridge and cottages on your right. Turn down past these and at the bottom of this lane turn left into a grassy lane. Follow this up the road. Continue straight ahead to Kinkry Hill and the houses you past on the outward journey, arriving back to the start.


Roman Wall Walks

Hadrians WallHadrian’s Wall national trail stretches for 135km (84 mls) from Wallsend on England’s east coast to Bowness on Solway in Cumbria.  Birdoswald, near Longtown, is an excellent place to visit if you are interested in finding out more about Hadrian’s Wall.  At no other point along the Wall can all the components of the Roman Frontier system, including a Roman fort, turret and milecastle,  be found in such close proximity. The visitor centre contains artefacts and lots of information on the period, plus a shop and refreshment area. 


See www.nationaltrail.co.uk/hadrianswall and www.birdoswaldromanfort.org for more information.


Historic & Countryside Walks

Bewcastle Fells & Ancient Cross

North of Longtown are the wild and rugged Bewcastle Fells which contain many sites of special scientific interest.  These are further enhanced by woodland gorges – all on the edge of one of the largest forests in Europe.


Woddland WalkThe famous Bewcastle Cross is believed to have been created in the late 7th century. Although it is now  incomplete, it remains one of the finest Anglican crosses in Britain.


The true origins of the cross are unknown, however it is suggested that it was created as a means to celebrate the spread of Christianity to the north or to mark the victory of a local battle.


The River Esk

Longtown is surrounded by beautiful unspoilt countryside.  The River Esk, famous for its salmon, runs peacefully through the town and is a haven for those who like to stroll along its banks, enjoying the environment.


Nature, Woodland & Wildlife

Netherby Woodland Trails

These woodlands are privately owned, but do have two lovely walks open to the public. All routes are clearly marked from the car park and feature secret ponds, sunny glades, wildlife and trees from around the world. Please remember that these woodlands are a working part of the Netherby Estate, and stay on the marked paths at all times.


At certain times of the year some of the paths may be temporarily closed for forestry work and wildlife management.


Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead to minimise disturbance to wildlife.

There are two car parks for the trails.  The first is located on the right hand side of the road, nearly 1 mile from the centre of Longtown (Bush Hotel).  The second  is 2.6 miles from Longtown.  Turn right after the 3rd lodge and you will see the carpark on the right hand side.


See www.netherbyestate.co.uk/woodland


Rockcliffe Marsh

This is one of the largest saltmarshes in Cumbria and is home to breeding birds such as lapwings, oystercatchers and redshanks during the summer.  You can also find lesser and greater black backed herring gulls, ringed plover, common and arctic terns, skylarks and meadow pipits plus others.  See www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/cumbria for more information.


Campfield Marsh & Haweswater

Campfield Marsh is located on the Solway estuary where you can see thousands of wading birds including oystercatchers, grey plovers, knots etc. 

Haweswater is located near Bampton, 10 miles south of Penrith and is the only place in England where golden eagles nest.  There is an observation point open from 11am – 4pm April to August during the breeding season.


See www.wildlifeextra.com for more information.


Finglandrigg Woods National Nature Reserve

You can find an impressive number of different species of wildlife at Finglandrigg, near the Solway Plain.  The terrain is made up of woodland, peat bogs, heathland and rough pastures that is the home to a vast array of wildlife such as red squirrels, roe deer, woodmice, brown hares and the harder to find wildlife such as badgers and otters.  There is also over 40 different species of breeding birds such as tawny owls and buzzards.


With this type of terrain you can also expect to find lots of insects and plant life.  For more information see www.wildlifeextra.com for more information.



The 1,400 acre wetlands at Caerlaverock forms a wild nature reserve where you can access various observation towers. The reserve is internationally renowned for its wintering populations of Barnacle Geese etc.  A colony of Tadpole Shrimps were also discovered here, even though they were believed to be extinct in Britain.  The reserve has refreshment facilities for visitors including a coffee shop, picnic area and bookshop.


Solway Estuary

West of Longtown lies the Solway Coast – an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The open salt marshland is a Special Protection Area under E.C. Directive to protect and conserve the wild bird habitat.  It also became a designated Wetland in 1992, under Ramsar Convention.  You can find birds such as Sandpipers, Curlews and Spotted Redshank here.