Forestry Commission logo

Trail details

Grade of Trail:

  • Moderate

Trail Waymarking:


Length of trail:

26 miles

Trail is currently open


Trail description

                               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, 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 which is suitable for comfortable walking boots, Wellington boots or trainers. Some hills may be difficult for younger or less experienced cyclists and 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 walking, allow 8 to 10 hours if you are fit. 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', better known as the 'forest 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.

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.

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

Have walked it before but me and my pal walked it in 8hrs 47 minutes but starting at 2011 hrs on friday 25 sept on a beautiful dry night however we didnt see any other walkers or cyclists!!

ian hislop, 27/Sep/2015
5 Stars 5 Stars

I have biked the lakeside trail twice in the last week.Saturday I started from the Elk Kirk viewing area and went clock wise today I started at the viaduct and did it anticlockwise. Today's ride was a sponsored ride for the Air Ambulance and Diabetics UK. When I collect every thing in I should get 1500. All in all I think the trail is a remarkable experience.

henry, 23/Sep/2015

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

Email addresses will not be shown

What's Here?

  • Cycling
  • Dogs
  • Information
  • Picnic
  • Viewpoint
  • Arts
  • A number of art features are on the Lakeside Way, including Robin's Hut, Sylvan Capitalis, Salmon Cubes, Freya's Cabin, Janus Chairs, Belvedere, 55/02 and The Wave Chamber.
  • Boat launch
  • Osprey ferry picks up and puts down passengers at various jetties around the lake. Contact NWL on 01434 251000 for details.
  • Cafe
  • Various eating establishments to choose from, including Duke's Pantry, Falstone Tearoom, Tower Knowe and Leaplish Waterside Park. Note that between Kielder Castle and Falstone (14 miles) there is no cafe facility.
  • Camping
  • Kielder Campsite and Lepalish Waterside Park
  • Caravan Site
  • Leaplish Waterside Park
  • Parking (chargeable)
  • 4 all day, valid in all car parks. Parkign available at Hawkhope, Kielder Dam, Tower Knowe, Leaplish, Matthews Linn and Kielder Castle.
  • Telephone
  • Public phone boxes at major centres. Please note mobile reception poor or non-existant for most of the route.
  • Trail (moderate)
  • This path circumnavigates Kielder Reservoir with various access points, including Kielder Castle. The route is surfaced with compacted fine graded stone and is wheelchair/ buggie accessible along its entire length. Several gradients and the distance between access points may make assistance for manual wheelchair a necessity. Electric wheelchairs are permitted, although the distances involved and remoteness of some of the trail require thorough preparation, including ensuring batteries are full and others are aware of your planned route.
  • Visitor centre
  • Visitor Centres at Kielder castle, Leaplish Waterside Park and Tower Knowe.
  • Toliets
  • At Kielder Castle, Hawkhope Car Park (Kielder Dam), Tower Knowe, Leaplish and Matthew's Linn
  • Wildlife
  • Wildlife Hides at Leaplish Waterside Park and Bakethin Reservoir
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

Get directions


Kielder Castle

01434 250209

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.