Ingram Valley was one of my favourite days out from the last couple of months, and one of the easiest from Newcastle. The weather is on the up for this coming weekend, and although the bars, restaurants and pubs are reopening, it’s still nice to get out into the countryside occasionally, and is probably something we will be doing in this country for a while yet. Just a 45 minute drive from Newcastle, here’s what you need to know for a day out to Ingram Valley in Northumberland.
Why You Should Visit Ingram
It’s relatively close to home, easily done in a day, and despite being a very popular spot there’s plenty room for everyone who wants to picnic, or park and explore the local area. Truthfully, there isn’t a lot there, the area has been very much unspoiled so it’s beautiful, natural and ideal for families, couples or solo explorers.
The Breamish River runs through Ingram and Breamish Valley, perfect for a paddle or a stream side picnic, the Cheviots offer views all across Northumberland if you’re after a hike, and Linhope Spout is a beautiful 18m wild waterfall with a plunge pool at the bottom if you fancy a cold dip.
How to Get to Ingram Valley, Northumberland
Driving up there is by far the easiest way to get there, and if you put the postcode of the little cafe in Ingram village into your sat nav you can’t go wrong. It’s NE66 4LT, and will take you through the tiny village of Ingram, past the cute little stone cottages, the village hall and the Church. From here you just keep driving into the valley, across the bridge, and along the River Breamish until you find a spot you want to stop.
At the moment due to Coronavirus there are signs for good parking spots, and when you get so far along the signs tell you when there isn’t any further parking beyond a certain point. There are LOADS of good spots, some on road side car parks, and some on grassy flat land. Depending on where you want to picnic, some spots are sheltered by the trees, some a bit more wild and rugged, but even on the busiest days I’ve been up there we still got parked no problem.
A Picnic by Breamish River
A day out to Ingram Valley isn’t complete without a picnic. Once you’ve found your spot, set yourself up for lunch. We took our Andes picnic hamper, a rug and an umbrella as there was a light breeze through the valley even on the sunniest day. It is quite far North you know! Much more seasoned picnic goers than us were there with their windbreaks and camping chairs, all worth taking if you have them.
I found that large family groups tend to congregate on the grassy areas, they were really packed in even mid pandemic. To get those spots you do have to be there pretty early. Being surrounded by kids isn’t our personal preference, so instead we chose a bit more wild spot, further into the valley and it involved a bit of a scramble over uneven grass and a few rocks to get right by the river on a flat spot.
It was worth it, as nobody came anywhere near us and we didn’t have to worry as much about other dogs coming over near Arthur while he’s still quite little. I can always remember being a kid enjoying a picnic by the river and a dog just running over and wolfing my sandwich down. A couple of families with young kids that arrived later in the day also tried to do the same thing, and gave up – so if you do have young kids definitely get there early for the easy to get to spots.
We spent a good few hours eating our picnic, enjoying the sun and the occasional paddle in the stream. It was full of tadpoles, and tiny fish. Although there was a bit of a breeze, it’s definitely worth putting suncream on – we both really caught the sun.
Other things to do at Ingram Valley
Although our trip was very relaxed as it was so hot the day we went, there are some more adventurous things you could get up to:
Red squirrel spotting – they’re often seen among the trees on the walk to Linhope Spout, keep your eyes peeled for these endangered squirrels that are far less common than the grey squirrels.
Linhope Spout – take the plunge in the water at the bottom if you’re brave enough.
Archeological sites – known for ancient settlements, history fans will enjoy the various archeological sites that you can visit in the area. A hike to Brough Law Hillfort will take you to the remains of a number of circle stone huts, and so does Cochrane Pike. Ingram Cafe also has an archeology exhibition inside it which details the history of the area, and the 11th Century Anglican Church is still there in use in the village to see as you pass through.
Ingram Cafe – in the village the cafe just opened again last Saturday 4th July, and they serve tea, cakes, scones etc, and dogs are welcome.
Star gazing – being in the heart of Northumberland with very few settlements, Ingram is part of the Dark Sky Discovery area that is perfect for star spotting.
Hikes and cycle routes – there are a lot of these, and some are detailed on the tourist board by the bridge.
However you choose to spend your day out to Ingram Valley I promise you will come home having had a great time. It’s a lovely escape if the weather is good, just please please take your litter home and don’t light camp fires that damage the environment.
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