Grade of Trail:
Length of trail:26 miles
Trail is currently open
The Lakeside Way multi-user path offers visitors to Kielder Water & Forest Park a truly unique experience giving access to the most scenic parts of the lake shore and the opportunity to get up close to some of Kielder’s abundant wildlife.
The 26-mile path encircles Kielder Water and is suitable for walkers, cyclists (on off-road mountain bikes), horse riders, mobility scooters and wheelchair users.
Some routes incorporate the Osprey ferry (please remember it is vital to check in advance for sailing schedules). Also, the ferry has limited space for bicycles so booking is advised.
The Lakeside Way has a good surface and is excellent for cycling, although some hills may be difficult for younger or less experienced cyclists. It is recommended that people in wheelchairs are accompanied. Horse riders should move at a controlled walking pace only. Visitors using a mobility scooter should ensure batteries are fully charged before setting off. No other motorised vehicles are permitted.
The Lakeside Way is one of England’s finest long distance paths. For those adventurous enough, it can be completed in one visit. If cycling, allow 3-4 hours if you are fit and looking for a good ‘pedal out’. Allow more time if you wish to take in the scenery, have lunch or visit some of the contemporary Art and Architecture along the path. When planning your day out, please always take account of the remoteness of the site and the weather forecast - in this area the weather can rapidly change.
For most people, completion of small sections of trail at each visit is far more relaxing and enjoyable. Shorter route options and links to the local villages of Falstone and Kielder are available. The route incorporates a number of art and architecture pieces including 'Sylvan Capitalis' known locally as 'The Head' and the landmark bridge over Lewisburn inlet.
The south shore is approximately 14 miles in length, stretching from Kielder Dam to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and including Tower Knowe Visitor Centre and Leaplish Waterside Park.
The Lakeside Way on the north shore of Kielder Water runs from Hawkhope car park at the north end of the dam to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre. The distance is just less than 12 miles. Unlike the south shore, there are no visitor centres along the north shoreline so please be adequately prepared before setting out. Note some of the climbs on the Northshore can be steep and require a decent level of fitness.
The North and South shores at the Kielder village end are connected by a new loop of track at Kielder Viaduct that allows you to access this spectacular 150 year-old skew arched viaduct via the route of the old Border Counties railway line.
Overview map of ALL Kielder's 100 miles of trails (download pdf here).
What do other visitors say?
4 StarsShotleywalker, 30/Oct/2016
Hawkhope anti-clockwise walking. 10 til 6 just before darkness closed in!
5 StarsAnonymous, 24/Aug/2016
Did this route today in perfect weather - I am not a dedicated cyclist but bought a new "all road" bike recently. Slick 28 mm tyres were only marginally capable of dealing with the terrain. Around Kielder was great but aged 64 I was knackered by the end. Took 2.5 hours. Great fun but advice on (1) type of bike needed or precluded (this route would not be advisable for a 23 mm road bike)should be indicated (2) also route descriptions should spell out height gain and height loss. It is all short up and down on this route but they do go on and on. Somewhere I picked up 600m up and 600m down - that is 2000ft. Is this correct?
Forestry Commission Response
Good to hear you enjoyed the cycle around the lake. Yes, it can be tough with a number of short but steepish climbs. These climbs move the trail into a blue grade ride. I do not know the exact height gain/loss, but as the route is 25 miles long your estimation of 2000 feet may not be far off the mark. We will update the advice on road bikes which you are correct are not really suited to this off-road trail.
5 StarsSteve H , 24/May/2016
Brilliant ride out harder than I remembered from the last time I did it about 5 yrs ago ....saw a few deer along the way as I was there early morning so very quiet