From Holy Island (Lindisfarne) in the north, St. Oswald’s Way follows the stunning Northumberland coast, before heading inland across beautiful countryside to Heavenfield and Hadrian’s Wall in the south. You will find castles, coastline, islands, scenic river valleys, hills, attractive villages, forest and farmland on your walk. St Oswald's Way links three important sites associated with St Oswald - Holy Island, Bamburgh and Heavenfield.
The first section of St. Oswald’s Way is also the longest. From the start at Lindisfarne Priory on the historic and beautiful Holy Island, the Way heads towards the mainland via the causeway (when tides allow) and through the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. After reaching the mainland, the route heads south through Fenwick towards Kyloe Woods, with its surviving population of red squirrels. St. Oswald’s Way passes within a mile of the famous St. Cuthbert’s Cave, and along higher ground that gives lovely views of the coast, before reaching the village of Belford. The route then heads eastwards to Budle Bay and through stunning coastal scenery to the attractive village of Bamburgh, with its superb castle.
Bamburgh was the site of King Oswald’s royal seat. It is now dominated by one of Northumberland’s most familiar landmarks, the magnificent Bamburgh Castle. From here, St. Oswald’s Way heads towards the popular seaside village of Seahouses, where boat trips to the nearby Farne Islands can be taken. The route then follows the coast southwards. When tides allow, it is possible to walk on the beach as an alternative at various points on this section. After this, The Way passes the ruins of another famous Northumbrian castle, Dunstanburgh, before arriving at the fishing village of Craster.
From the beautiful village of Craster, the St. Oswald’s Way continues down the coast. It passes the site of Northumberland’s earliest Stone Age settlement at Howick. As you head towards Alnmouth, the beach can be used as an alternative to the path on the shore. The route passes around the Aln Estuary before using paths through the coastal dunes with splendid views of Amble and Coquet Island. St. Oswald’s Way then meets the River Coquet for the first time at the historic village of Warkworth.
Warkworth is a beautiful village set in a meander of the River Coquet beneath the imposing castle. From here, St. Oswald’s Way wanders up the scenic Coquet valley on one of the longest sections of the route. It passes through the village of Felton then through woodland and along riverside paths to Weldon Bridge. The route glimpses the Brinkburn Priory on the other side of the river, through attractive rolling farmland to reach Rothbury, “the Capital of Coquetdale”, set in superb Northumberland scenery.
St. Oswald’s Way leaves the River Coquet and heads southwards over remote but appealing country. The route enters Northumberland National Park and passes the remains of an Iron Age hill fort and rock carvings at Lordenshaws. The heather-clad moors of the Simonside Hills are crossed before reaching Harwood Forest. The route then crosses farmland to reach the settlement of Knowesgate where there is one accommodation and then to the scenic small village of Kirkwhelpington. If there are no accommodation options in Kirkwhelpington you can stay in the village of West Woodburn, approx. 3 miles further on from Rothbury.
The final section runs southwards through picturesque rolling farmland. This part of the walk is fairly remote and includes interesting small settlements such as Great Bavington and Hallington before reaching the village of Great Whittington. South of Great Whittington, the route joins Hadrian’s Wall Path and runs westwards along the famous Roman frontier to the historic site of Heavenfield, the ‘end’ of St. Oswald’s Way. There is no public transport to Heavenfield and no suitable car parking, so continue walking along Hadrian’s Wall Path to the village of Wall, or head south into Hexham, approx 1 mile further along.
There is a railway station in Berwick upon Tweed, from here there is a bus service to Holy Island which operates 01 April - 01 September. Otherwise you will need to take a taxi. At the end of your walk, likely to be staying in Wall or Chollerford. Regular buses run between Wall and Hexham. From Hexham you can catch buses to Newcastle along with a train service.
Edinburgh and Newcastle airports are your closest options. You can fly into London and catch a train to Edinburgh or Newcastle from where onward travel is by train.