Fun and free nature walks this summer in County Durham

If you are looking for fun, free and outdoor activities to do this summer, County Durham has some exceptionally beautiful scenery, with countless fantastic nature trails.

Here are a list of local, outdoor adventures that can be enjoyed by the whole family.


High force and Low force loop from Middleton in Teesdale.

This is an intermediate hiking tour with easily-accessible paths, and suitable for all skill levels. A circular walk through the heart of the Durham Dales with one of the most spectacular waterfalls in England.

Seaham seafront and Hawthorn Dene woods loop

Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness is required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The starting point of the Tour is accessible by public transport.

Seaham seafront is home to some popular ice cream parlours, and has a wide range of restaurant and café options to enjoy during or after your hike.

Barnard Castle and Egglestone Abbey loop

A very  popular area for birding, hiking, and mountain biking. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths and suitable for all skill levels. The starting point of the Tour is right next to a car park.

Gruffalo Sculptures at Hamsterley Forest

If you venture into the deep dark wood you may bump into the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child plus other characters from Julia Donaldson’s fantastic story. 

Each wooden sculpture has been carved in a different position.

Suitable for all fitness levels and accessible via a car park. Parking charges may apply.

Castle Eden Dene and Nature Reserve Loop

Take in all the best parts of Castle Eden Dene with old buildings, open country and ancient woodland. This is an intermediate hiking tour suitable for all skill levels, the starting point is next to a car park.

Causey Arch and Beamish Parkland loop

This is a circular walk from the small village of Causey. The walk follows farm tracks and local lanes to reach the nearby woodland within Beamish Park.

Durham Cathedral and Castle loop

This walk takes in the main visitor attractions in Durham, starting from the Howlands Park and Ride, visiting the Oriental Museum, Botanical Gardens, Castle, Cathedral and Market Place.