Daft as a Brush River Tyne Trail, Sources to Sea.

Guest of honour Mr Len Gibson

This 135-mile walk passes through a wonderful variety of terrain and scenery leading from close to the Pennines in Cumbria and the Cheviots in Northumberland.

It encompasses Northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, vestiges of Roman, early Christian heritage and railway history as well as the regeneration and transformation of one of the world’s most foremost shipbuilding regions.

It entails various river crossings including numerous bridges, a tunnel and even a ferry. The spirit of this wonderful river is captured in two contrasting songs, the beautiful 18th century ballad, “Waters of Tyne”, and the powerful modern, Jimmy Nail song, “Big River”.

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Watch the short film - The creation of the River Tyne Trail

Dedicated to cancer patients

River Tyne Trail Stone

How it all started....

The idea for this walk, from the sources of the Tyne to where the river reaches the sea, was the brainchild of Brian Burnie. Former businessman Brian is the founder of the charity, Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care.

He believed that such a walk would generate interest in the charity and have particular relevance for people affected, in one way or another, by cancer.

In March 2012, Brian, together with three friends, carried out the original pilot walk from each of the two sources of the River Tyne to the sea at Tynemouth and South Shields. In October 2013 a Chinook helicopter from RAF Odiham lowered two four-metre-high stones, weighing 5 tonnes each, to establish an obelisk marking the source of the North Tyne at Deadwater Farm close to the border between Northumberland and Scotland.

The source of the South Tyne at Tyne Head in Cumbria already had a similar monument. In March 2016 marker stones were erected at the finishes of the walk at both Tynemouth and South Shields. Subsequently, one was installed near the meeting of the North and South Tynes near Warden.

Joy Hornsby, Phil, Helen and their dog, Chance have walked the River Tyne Trail in stages. Joy has written an excellent blog, highlighting her experiences and adventures on their walking challenge – from Sources to Sea. Read her blog by clicking here. (Opens in a new window).

The guide book

The River Tyne Trail Guide Book

Written by Peter Donaghy and John Laidler and published by Sigma Press in 2015, contains clear, easy to follow and comprehensive directions.

We’re delighted to announce, the guide book received the Great Outdoors Magazine’s Silver Award as runner-up in the 2018, Book of the year competition! In 2019 the walk received national recognition when it was included on Ordnance Survey mapping.

The walk is divided into twelve stages of approximately the same length, based on ease of access, with additional entry and exit points. This enables walkers to create their own itinerary, thus serving both long-distance walkers and day-walkers.

The book, in a convenient pocket-size format, contains outline maps for each stage together with extracts from the relevant OS maps. It is beautifully illustrated and contains abundant background information of interest also to “armchair walkers”. Sir Alan Craft explores what lies behind Brian Burnie and his vision to help cancer patients; Brian Burnie himself explains his reasons for establishing the walk and his hopes for its future; while international rock star, Sting, reflects on his childhood memories and the symbolic significance of the “irrepressible” River Tyne.

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River Tyne Trail route amendments

From time to time, it is necessary to update the walking route due to erosion, weather or storm damage, pathway closures etc. Areas of land may also change ownership or become unsafe for walkers. We do our best to keep this up to date, however, should you feel there is a significant change as you walk the trails, please report findings to the author, Peter Donaghy. Thank you.


Current amendments

Route amendments – Stage 1

Source to Kielder Dam

Some diversions may still be in operation following storm damage in 2021. See Kielder Water & Forest Park 'before you go".  Alternatively follow the Lakeside Way from Kielder to the Dam on the NORTH Side of Kielder Water

Route amendments – Stage 3

Bellingham to Barrasford
Redesmouth Bridge has been temporarily closed (September-November 2021). The cross-country alternative that follows could also be used to avoid walking on the busy road even when the bridge and road reopen.

See Page 47.. beware of the traffic while walking beneath a railway bridge. Turn left almost immediately after the bridge onto the byway, “Sandstone Way Cycle Route”. Follow the surfaced track, ignoring tracks- off and with some steep ascents/descents, for about a mile to cross a stone bridge (Rede Bridge). Bear left and climb a short way on the stony track to reach a fingerpost, “Redesmouth ½”, with a cottage on the left (Crossing Cottage). Turn right and proceed through a number of gates/stiles along the broad track for about ¾ mile until you reach the main road where a fingerpost indicates, “Countess Park Wood½”. Cross the road with care and proceed onto the access road between the dwellings…. This alternative is about a mile longer than the direct route

Route amendments – Stage 5

Source of the South Tyne to Alston Page 71
The route no longer goes through the farmyard at Hole House and Paragraph 3, Line 6 should now read: After some 60yds go over the waymarked stile next to a gate and walk ahead to pass the farm buildings of Hole House on your left. Go through the gate, cross the farm road and …

Route amendments – Stage 7

Haltwhistle to Haydon Bridge – Allen Banks National Trust site
Due to severe landslips and the loss of the wobbly bridge it is no longer possible to access Morralee Tarn from the car park side of the National Trust site at Allen Banks. Walkers now need to follow the road from the site entrance as detailed in the Guidebook Page 100.

Route amendments Stage 10

Corbridge to Wylam
Due to a significant landslide following exceptional rainfall in December 2015, part of the route between Corbridge and Riding Mill has become impassable. Consequently the route has had to be permanently diverted – See pages 123-125.

(Map OS Explorer OL43). This stage of the trail begins from Corbridge at the south end of the bridge at the access road in front of the Lion Court apartments. Turn right and follow the road as it climbs to go over the bridge over the railway. Just beyond the two traffic mirrors, go up the steps to enter the woods.
Bear right and follow the path between the trees and go through the waymarked gate. Continue up the field edge. At the top of the field go over the stile. Cross the road with care and enter the field opposite. Continue along the field edge with shrub land on your right. Leave the field by the waymarked stile.

Cross the lane (Ladycutter Lane) and go through the waymarked gate. Continue straight ahead climbing quite steeply at times as you pass through a series of kissing gates. You meet an access road at Mount Pleasant Cottage. Turn left and walk down the road for a short way, bear right at the fork and continue on the road which climbs quite steeply, Bear right when you reach the access road to Burn Brae Lodge.

Continue along the minor road as it climbs steadily with woods on your left before it bears left to climb past High Ash and High Level Cottage. At the top of the climb you pass Prospect Hill farm. At the crossroads turn left. The road descends gradually for about 3⁄4 mile. (Map OSExplorer 316). At the T-junction turn left.After about 220yds, turn right into the entrance to some properties at Riding Hills. Walk straight ahead between the properties and turn right before reaching a gate. Walk a few yards along the side of the property and go through a gate. Cross a stile to exit from the properties. Continue down the field edge with the hedge on your left.

After going through two gates you arrive at road. Turn left and follow this slightly busier road past the pleasant properties of Beauclerc. Continue along the road as it bears right and descends to meet the main road. Cross over with care and turn right into Riding Mill. Continue ahead to rejoin the route described from The Wellington on Page 125. This amendment adds 3⁄4 mile to the Corbridge-Riding Mill section. If you wish to make up for lost time and avoid further climbs, you can follow the pavement alongside the A695 from Riding Mill to Stocksfield, rather than the more scenic route (see P125-128).

Download this PDF Information sheet.

Route amendments – Stage 12(a)

North side of Tyne to Tynemouth Page 165
Page 165, Line 6, “Once across the walkways…” to Page 166, Line 13. “To resume the trail…”
Once across the walkways, turn immediately right along the riverside path with some modern housing on your left. The surfaced path soon climbs between the trees away from the riverside. (Further developments should enable you to continue along the waterside all the way to the North Shields Ferry landing). Turn right immediately after the metal barrier and continue up a narrow surfaced path, parallel to an access road. At the top of the rise, bear right to follow the road as it descends past further housing developments and two modern high-rise buildings. You pass a turning circle for the bus service and a few yards on the right lies the ferry landing.
To resume the trail…

Route amendments – Stage 12(b) South side of Tyne to South Shields

Bottom of Page 181- top of Page 184 altered as follows:
You arrive at a further entrance to the Port of Tyne at Tyne Dock. Cross the access road with care to pass Navigation House. A sign indicates that Tyne Dock Metro Station is ¼ mile to the right. At the roundabout turn left in the direction “Riverside B1302”. Look out for a bench behind which are three metal figures of local significance (Sarah Milligan, comedian; a Roman centurion and Norman Fry, cycle maker). Ignore the sign indicating “New Route” to the right and instead keep to the left, with Kennedy’s pub on the right. The busy road passes the Port of Tyne Warehouse Service as it climbs for about ¾ mile. At the top of the rise as the road bears right you need to turn left down an access road

Walk down the access road (West Holburn). Through the railings, you will see the Port of Tyne International Terminal and possibly one of the DFDS Seaways vessels. Follow the road which turns right to join Commercial Road. Turn left to pass the Trimmers Arms and then, on the right, South Tyneside Law Courts. Watch out after about 100yds, to turn left to leave the roadside path. Walk down the narrow path and descend thirteen steps towards a housing complex (to avoid the steps you could continue straight ahead).

Route amendments – Stage 12(b)

South side of Tyne to South Shields
Eventually, you arrive at a roundabout near the centre of Jarrow. If you wish to seek refreshments or you feel you have come far enough after walking about 7 miles, turn right for local amenities and Jarrow Metro Station.

However, to continue on the trail, turn left and follow the road (B1297) for about a mile. On the right you will see a Tyne Tunnel ventilation tower while the Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnels entrances lie to the left. You might like to walk down and visit the entrance and enjoy the view of the river from the riverside park. (Here you have the opportunity, should you wish, to walk beneath the river and continue the trail down the north side of the Tyne.

To continue down the south side of the river, continue ahead on the B1297 for about ¼ mile before turning left just before a gasometer and the exit to Cemex Jarrow Wharf. Bear right and walk past the bollards to follow the surfaced, path as it descends to an access road near the River Don.

For tourist information and transport, click here.