Isaac's Tea Trail



Discover Isaac's Tea Trail

Isaac's Tea Trail is a 36-mile walk in the North Pennines. Starting in Allendale, it passes through some of the most remote countryside in England. These are the moors and rivers where the counties of Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria meet - a landscape steeped in history and rich in industrial heritage.

Hexham Ramblers has had a long involvement with the path and retains, to this day, responsibility for maintaining a 12-mile section centred on Allendale that stretches from Ninebanks to Knock Shield. We also occasionally include parts of it in our Sunday walks.  Keep an eye on our programme!

Hexham Ramblers out on Isaac's Tea Trail


Who was Isaac?                                           

The trail follows in the footsteps of Isaac Holden, a travelling tea seller in the early 19th century when lead-mining activity was at its peak and travel on foot was often the only way tradesmen could conduct their business. Working out of a grocer's shop he owned in Allendale with his wife, Isaac followed his route in all weathers, selling tea to farms and outlying hamlets.

Isaac became known as a philanthropist, raising money for community projects such as the fresh-water supply to Isaac's Well in Allendale Town. This well marks the 'official' start of the trail.


Where does the trail go?

On leaving Allendale, it heads first to Nenthead, a important lead-mining centre for over 100 years until 1882. It then follows the valley of the river Nent to Alston, one of the highest market towns in England. From there, the trail leads to the village of Ninebanks and back to Allendale.


More information

The trail website has full details of the route and the places it passes through. It also includes news on footpath diversions affecting the trail, including the diversion to avoid Kirkhaugh Bridge near Slaggyford which was closed following storm damage in September 2018. Visit

Look out for the printed guide by Roger Morris, the man behind the creation of the trail, in local shops.



Roger Morris


Tea trail blog

The local journalist, Anne Leuchars, publishes a fascinating blog about the trail.

And yes, there really is a Dalek in this picture.


Clare Balding walks the trail

Clare Balding walked part of the trail for her Ramblings series on BBC Radio 4. The podcast is still available on the BBC website


2019 - the trail's 20th birthday

Work started on the development of Isaac's Tea Trail in 1999. A programme of activities is being planned to mark its twentieth anniversary. We will highlight some of these here as details become known.


Views from the trail

  Monk Wood



Rowantree Stob bastle near Sinderhope, south of Allendale


Ninebanks church


Another stunning view....