North Pennines National Landscape

An upland landscape of open heather moors, species-rich hay meadows, attractive dales, tumbling rivers and waterfalls, and distinctive wildlife. A place shaped by people, with scattered imprints of a lead-mining past, and farming practices that work with nature.

Millions of years in the making

North Pennines NL - Valley

The North Pennines lies between the National Parks of the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland. It is the second largest of the National Landscapes, with almost 2000km2 to visit and explore.

Millions of years of geological processes formed the impressive shapes of the land, from High Force on the River Tees to the sweeping U-shaped valley of High Cup Gill above Dufton. The worldwide significance of the geology found here is recognised by the fact that the North Pennines National Landscape is also a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Imprints of the area’s lead mining past are visible across the landscape, telling the story of a once thriving industry.

North Pennines NL - Meadow

Unique uplands

The North Pennines is internationally renowned for the extent, variety and quality of its habitats and features.

In the North Pennines you’ll find:

  • 40% of the UK’s upland species-rich hay meadows
  • 30% of England’s upland heathland and 27% of its blanket bog
  • 80% of England’s black grouse
  • 36% of the National Landscape designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • red squirrels, otters and rare arctic alpine plants
  • a haven for tens of thousands of pairs of breeding wading birds
  • England’s biggest waterfall – High Force in Teesdale
  • superb stargazing with the darkest skies of any mainland National Landscape
North Pennines NL - Bluebells

A place to explore

With hundreds of miles of public rights of way, the North Pennines has much to offer visitors, with everything from gentle picnics by tumbling rivers, to high adrenaline adventures. Just over a quarter of the Pennine Way, England’s first National Trail, snakes its way through the rugged landscape, with some of the route’s most dramatic and iconic experiences to be found along this 73-mile stretch.

Bowlees Visitor Centre, the North Pennines National Landscape’s visitor and information hub, is located in Upper Teesdale. With easy access to Low Force and High Force, and other waterfalls along the Tees, plus hay meadow walks, wildlife watching and geological trails, Bowlees is the ideal place to get to know the unspoilt North Pennines.