Staff at the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have put their walking boots on to come up with five favourite winter walks in the area.

The AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark covers a large area of Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria and offers a beautiful landscape for walkers in any season with high moorland, wooded river valleys, stunning waterfalls and welcoming villages.

And now you can pick one of five favourite winter walks chosen by the staff so you can get to know the area even better in this often surprising season, whether you’re a photographer, wildlife watcher or simply a lover of the outdoors.

Simon Wilson, from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, explained: “There are over 120 self-guided walks free to download from our website, with great opportunities for people to get out and benefit from the North Pennines countryside during the winter months.

“The interactive map on our website allows you to search for activities by area, meaning it is easy to plan your day around other essentials like a village start or end point that includes a visit to a cosy pub or café.”

The walks include an Allenheads geotrail – a three-mile trail at exploring the area’s geology and mining heritage. For those that enjoy cycling as well as walking, Derwent Reservoir near Blanchland is also a favourite. The all-weather path around the reservoir is suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and bicycles.

The other three walks are at High Force in County Durham; the Slitt Wood and West Rigg geotrail in Weardale and a circular walk around Dufton Pike in Cumbria.

Paul Mitchinson, from the British Mountaineering Council added: “When walking in winter especially in remote upland areas, you should always be prepared for the winter weather, have the right kit, know how to use it and explore within your abilities. The BMC has great resources and information at to help you get started.”