St Oswald’s Way – 97 miles – 10 days – Heavenfield to Lindisfarne. This route follows the trajectory of the great battle king Saint Oswald, born in the early 7th century. You start at Heavenfield, where Oswald erected a wooden cross under which he prayed before defeating the Welsh and Mercian forces in a decisive battle that allowed him to take control of Northumbria, a very powerful kingdom at the time. He suffered a terrible fate, and his severed head was eventually buried with Cuthbert, perhaps first at Lindisfarne, where this route ends. The church built over that fateful spot at Heavenfield seems to feel pivotal in its placement both in the landscape and in Christian history. After all, King Oswald was the great benefactor of St Aidan, who founded the monastery at Lindisfarne.
The scenery is stunning – following almost the entire length of the Northumberland Coast Path. You will visit castles at Warkworth and at Oswald’s royal seat of Bamburgh, Norman churches, medieval abbeys, neolithic sites with rock art, gentle remote villages, sites of special conservation and meet much wildlife, especially birds. The journey traverses diverse landscapes of farmland, heather moorland, sandstone crags and sublime coastline. A particular charm of this route, because of the low visitor numbers and low-density population in Northumberland, is that despite this rich offering you will meet very few walkers compared with elsewhere in Britain- a fact that belies the route’s extreme beauty.
Exciting history of battles, nobility and Christianity
Sweeping Simonside Hills
Grandeur of the Northumberland Coast Path
Lindisfarne’s island paths
Holy Places along route listed in our book Britain’s Pilgrim Places: Heavenfield; Bamburgh; Holy Island/Lindisfarne