North Pennines


North Pennines AONB

The North Pennines is one of England's most special places - a peaceful, unspoilt landscape with a rich history and vibrant natural beauty. It was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1988.

Tumbling waterfalls, sweeping moorland views, dramatic dales, stone-built villages, snaking stone walls and friendly faces - the North Pennines has all this and more. The impressive landscape of the North Pennines - from High Force on the River Tees to the sweeping valley of High Cup Gill above Dufton - are the product of millions of years of geological processes. The worldwide significance of the geology found here is recognised by the fact that the area is also a European Geopark as well as an AONB.


Set in the heart of this area is Alston with its steep cobbled street and market cross, and said to be the highest market town in England. Alston is also the home of the South Tynedale Railway, a double gold award winning narrow gauge railway winding from Alston into the South Tyne Valley. The trains are hauled by steam, diesel or battery electric locos and all have a fascinating history. Both of the restored stations at Alston and Slaggyford house a café, ticket office and gift shop. 


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