A guidebook to walking the Reivers Way. Follow in the footsteps of the border reivers on this 240km (150 mile) route running from Corbridge to Alnmouth. The reivers route wanders through wild and scenic parts of Northumberland, and can be walked in 9 days. The book also includes variants and alternative routes.



spring can be the most attractive time; in summer accommodation needs to be booked ahead but ferries will be running to the Farne Islands; weather is less reliable in the autumn; in winter some accommodation providers will be closed and walking may be harder (in deep snow or after prolonged rain)


Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Corbridge, Rothbury, Bamburgh, Alnwick, Alnmouth


The Reivers Way is straightforward but sometimes the walk is remote and not specifically waymarked so navigation skills are required; terrain is varied; the route is described in 9 day stages but experienced long-distance walkers could tackle it in a week
Must See

Must See

North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; Hadrian’s Wall; Northumberland National Park; Cheviot Hills; Northumberland Heritage Coast; Farne Islands; dramatic castles and wild, empty landscapes
14 May 2009
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.1cm
  • Overview

    Walk in the footsteps of the notorious border reivers and discover how they survived centuries of strife and warfare.

    The Reivers Way almost encircles the county of Northumberland, offering a wonderful opportunity to walk and explore its wildest and most scenic parts.

    The trail starts at Corbridge in the North Pennines AONB. After following part of Hadrian’s Wall, a series of little towns and villages are visited, as the route heads in an out of the Northumberland National Park. After catching a glimpse of Lindisfarne, the route traces the scenic Northumberland Heritage Coast to finish at Alnmouth.

    With an extra day to hand, walkers can include a boat trip to the bird reserves on the Farne Islands.

  • Contents

    Brief History of a Borderland
    Geology and Scenery
    Access Land and the CROW Act
    Travel to Northumberland
    Travel around Northumberland
    Food and Drink
    Tourist Information Centres
    Planning Your Walk
    Rescue Services
    The Route
    Day 1 Corbridge to Allendale Town
    Day 2 Allendale Town to Bardon Mill
    Day 3 Bardon Mill to Wark
    Day 4 Wark to Elsdon
    Day 5 Elsdon to Rothbury via the Moors
    Alternative Elsdon to Rothbury via the Forests
    Day 6 Rothbury to Uswayford
    Day 7 Uswayford to Wooler via the Cheviot
    Alternative Uswayford to Wooler via Linhope
    Day 8 Wooler to Bamburgh via Belford
    Alternative Wooler to Bamburgh via Chillingham
    Day 9 Bamburgh to Alnmouth
    The Farne Islands

    Appendix 1 Route summary table
    Appendix 2 Accommodation list
    Appendix 3 Useful information
    Appendix 4 The Archbishop's Curse

  • Maps

    Four Ordnance Survey Landranger maps cover the Reivers Way at a scale of 1:50,000. The relevant sheets are 75, 80, 81 and 87. Extracts from these maps are used throughout the guidebook, with an overview (pages 8 and 9) to show the full course of the Reivers Way. For greater detail, and to see the extent of designated access land, five Ordnance Survey Explorer maps cover the route at a scale of 1:25,000. The relevant sheets are OL16, OL42, OL43, 332 and 340.

  • Updates
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    January 2017

    The gap in accommodation at Uswayford can now be met by crossing the border at Hexpethgate and making use of B&B at Cocklawfoot Farm. It adds a few miles but makes for an interesting diversion, returning by Auchope Cairan and then on to Cheviot. Thanks to Ken Coulson for sending in this information.

    August 2014

    Unfortunately the bed and breakfast at Uswayford, the only accommodation on offer, has now ceased operating. As Uswayford is the end of Day 6 on the itinerary described in this guide, this will require breaking the trip in a different place or taking a tent.

    Barrowburn and Trows lie 2 miles (3km) off-route from Uswayford. Barrowburn has a camping barn and tearoom. With careful planning and attention to finishing on time, it is possible to negotiate a pick-up at Trows. This is provided by Forest View Walkers Inn, far off-route at Byrness, and must be booked in advance, tel 01830-520425,
    mobile 07928-376677.

    May 2012

    P94 ...along a vague and rugged moorland path... Apparently a reader reports that this wasn't visible at all, so he found a more obvious path to the right....

    Comment from the author is: The 'vague' path will just get vaguer if people don't follow it! I'm sure it's easier just to aim straight for Broadstruther Cottage.

    Also a general note: This route crosses a number of streams without bridges. In periods of heavy rainfall, these may become very fast moving and dangerous.

  • Reviews

    'Here is a very useful pocket-sized guidebook for anyone planning to follow all or part of the 150-mile route of this 'unofficial' long-distance trail.'

    The Northumbrian Aug/Sep 2009

    'This is a welcome update to the first edition from 2004 with better route descriptions, extra stops to reduce some lengthy days and with around 500 GPS waypoints. I’ve walked a number of the sections and can vouch for the accuracy of the descriptions and the splendour of the route.
    Each day has a detailed map, profile and excellent route descriptions with times and heights.'

    Justin Gutmann, Strider Aug 2009

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Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon is a prolific walker and guidebook writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other titles. He has written for several outdoor magazines and other publications, and has appeared on radio and TV. Paddy is an indefatigable long-distance walker who has walked all of Britain’s National Trails and several European trails. He has also walked in Nepal, Tibet, Korea and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the US. Paddy is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.

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