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The Way of Light

at a glance

Day 1 Arrive Durham -
Day 2 Durham to Lanchester - 12.4 miles (19 kilometres)
Day 3 Lanchester to Derwentside - 11.6 miles (18 kilometres)
Day 4 Derwentside to Juniper - 12 miles (19 kilometres)
Day 5 Juniper to Heavenfield - 10 miles (16 kilometres)
  • Grade: Grade 2

Standard Package Includes:

  • Total distance - 45 miles / 72 km
  • Holiday start date between 1st April and 30th September
  • Northern Saints Visitor Guide
  • Northern Saints Passport
  • 4 Nights B&B En-Suite Room Basis
  • Price based on 2 people sharing a room
  • Luggage transfers
  • Transfer at the end of your walk to Hexham Train Station
  • Emergency Telephone Support
  • Holiday Information Pack

Holiday options

  • Solo walker supplement - £275 (price includes single room supplement) please call to book
  • Single room supplement - £200
  • Additional Night in Hexham - £130 Room Rate
  • GPS rental - £60

Welcome to a breath-taking trail that transports you from the dawn of Christianity through to contemporary pilgrimage via Dark Ages battles that changed a region’s faith, abbeys that matched Rome for majesty and a stunning seminary that taught England ’s leading ecclesiastics.

The remote Way of Light provides a larger-than-life low-down on Christianity’s illustrious history in the North East. It starts at the magnificent Durham Cathedral, with St Cuthbert’s Shrine, but also 12th century wall paintings depicting St Oswald opposite St Cuthbert. For whilst the latter’s cult might have given rise to the cathedral, without the former the North East’s Golden Age and pivotal role in the spread of Christianity may never have come about at all.

But settlements are few and far between on this route. It proceeds via historic Hexham and its abbey, and pauses alongside one of the most wondrous testimonies to Catholic faith ever built in Northern England, one-time seminary Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels and Gardens, a glamorous ensemble of Gothic Revival edifices, chapels and gardens.

Finishing at the site of a battle victory for the pious future king and Saint Oswald, a win that vanquished theregion’s invaders, reunited Northumbria and brought about its Christianisation. 

What impresses just as much are the fabulous, far-reaching views from the valleys, forests and fells that form the finest upland scenery.



Day 1 - Arrival day to Durham 
Day 2 - Durham to Lanchester - 12.4 m (19 km)
Day 3 - Lanchester to Derwentside - 11.6 m (18 km)
Day 4 - Derwentside to Juniper - 12 m (19 km)
Day 5 - Juniper to Heavenfield - 10 m (16 km)

Unfortunately, this is not a dog friendly holiday.

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Day 1 Arrive Durham -

Your arrival day to the historic city of Durham.

It is easy to travel to Durham by train and as parking is at a premium we highly recommend this.

Settle into your accommodation and take the opportunity to explore the city.

Day 2 Durham to Lanchester - 12.4 miles (19 kilometres)

Starting at Durham Cathedral and heading for the river, you leave the city and head towards Hangman's Hill. This is not a time to dwell on what happend in the past, but it is a good place to look back at the fine view of the cathedral.

You will pass through the Flass Vale Nature Reserve, and following the river passing Witton Gilbert, and through the country lanes bypassing Langley Park, before re-joining the Lanchester Valley Railway Path taking you into the town of Lanchester where you will spend the evening.

Day 3 Lanchester to Derwentside - 11.6 miles (18 kilometres)

Leaving Lanchester following the Lanchester Valley Railway Path with good views to the South, you pass over Lydgetts Junction, the former Consett Steelworks site, this is marked by a sculpture of a smelt wagon! 

After crossing the Hownsgill viaduct the route brings you to the village of Castleside. From castleside you follow footpaths and farm tracks until you are alongside the Derwent Gorge National Nature Reserve. This is the largest oakwood in northern England. Crossing farmland from Mugglewick you then reach Edmunbyers, where you will spend the evening.

Day 4 Derwentside to Juniper - 12 miles (19 kilometres)

After a hearty breakfast, you leave the witches of Edmundbyers (Elizabeth Lee) crossing over Buckshott Fell then start your decent down to Blanchland. The Lord Crew Arms offers a warm welcome in its traditional bar, with outstanding 'bar bait'.

Leaving Blanchland you follow the famous Pennine Way passing Pennypie house. (Penny pie house was named because the lead miners did get their pies for a penny here!)

Following the route for a time through Slaley Forest you then meet the river, Devils Water. When the footpath eventually crosses the water, the small hamlet of Juniper is nearby. You will have a short transfer to your accommodation this evening.

Day 5 Juniper to Heavenfield - 10 miles (16 kilometres)

Returning back to the trail at Juniper, still following the pennine way you cross fields and follow the route to Hexham. Before your decent into Hexham you will splender the views of the Tyne Valley with the site of Hexham Abbey in the centre of the town.

Leaving Hexham heading north, you will cross over the Tyne River and over a footbridge crossing the A69. The route takes you through the small village of Acomb and then leaving the Pennine way you follow the footpath to your destination, St Oswalds Church.

You will then be transferred back to Hexham for your onward journey, or to continue your St Oswald's Way Holiday the following morning. 

If you don't fancy the journey home after a day's walking then we can add an extra nights’ accommodation (not included in price), in Hexham.



(A) Bed and Breakfast accommodation (twin or double share basis).
(B) Maps and instructions specific to your trip, including emergency telephone numbers.
(C) Luggage transfers between accommodation.
(D) Transfer to Hexham at the end of your walk.
(E) Emergency back-up service from Shepherds Walks Holidays mobile telephone number.



(A) Any additional transfers not mentioned in the dossiers
(B) Personal clothing and equipment.
(C) Insurance
(D) Lunch and Evening meals.
(E) Single room option (if required, see single supplement).
(F) Pick up and drop off at airports.
(G) Other entrance fees into attractions and public transport costs not mentioned above.
(H) Car Parking



The Shepherds Walks Representative will:

A) Be available should you have any problems during your trip
B) Arrange the transportation of your luggage.
C) Provide transfers as necessary to your car / station if specified in your booking or itinerary.


We are here to offer you the best holiday you could ever imagine and we aim to do this through the personal service that we offer.

Make your holiday run smoothly – We are here for you. Our sole objective is for us to help you. We are here at any stage of your holiday and even in the planning stages. We tailor things to your requirements, not those of the masses.

We don’t cut corners - We want to see you again and want you to speak highly of Shepherds Walks Holidays. This is why we are literally willing to go that extra mile. The information you receive at every stage will be clear and leave you asking no questions.

We have personally walked all the trips we offer - We know exactly what you are going to embark on and can advise you on any aspects of your holiday over and well above what many of our competitors can.

Press choose to walk with us – Shepherds Walks Holidays are asked to deliver a very high percentage of the trips for journalists in the region. When the Tourist Boards are approached by a journalist wanting to visit the area who do they ask to provide their holiday or take them out walking? Shepherds Walks.

We have had press trips on all our routes and the articles speak for themselves.

Protected Holiday - All our holidays are protected through the operation of a Trust Account.

We are close at hand if you need us – We are a local business and if you need us at any time during your holiday just ask. If you are on a self guided trip we often will catch up with you, even over a drink one evening, just to make sure everything is going well. It’s better to iron out any little problems during your holiday, rather than hearing about them when you are back at home.

We enjoy great relationships with your accommodation providers and they will help us to help you

As we are literally on the doorstep we know the best places to stay. Often we will have block booked the best accommodation the previous year. We want our customers to stay in the best possible accommodation. As we know the proprietors personally and we liaise with them regularly they will go that extra mile to help us to help you whilst out on your route.

That is why Shepherds Walks has won awards and has helped people relax and totally enjoy their visit to this wonderful part of the country. We are willing to go that extra mile!

Do I need travel insurance?

If you are coming to the UK from overseas it is a condition of our tours that you are covered by medical and personal travel insurance that includes repatriation to your home country.

If you are a UK resident medical and personal travel insurance is also highly recommended, especially with cover to include Covid 19. 

If you have not organised appropriate insurance yet, please do so before you travel. 

If you have to cancel your holiday due to ill health we can issue you with a receipt for any monies paid so you can make a claim. 

What type of accommodation will we be staying in - self guided trip

The accommodation on the tours are in Inns, family-run hotels, and Bed and Breakfasts. We endeavour to provide en-suite accommodation.

What is a Double, Twin and Single room?

Room descriptions

Double – One double bed for two people.

Twin – Two single beds each for one person.

Single – A room with a single bed for sole occupancy. We do our best to reserve a double bedded room for sole occupancy where possible but if this is not available, then your room may have a single bed in it. 

The Way of Light photo's

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