A walk in the park

David Wilson, who is walking the entire length of the Northumberland National Park.

David Wilson, who is walking the entire length of the Northumberland National Park.

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As Northumberland National Park celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, businessman and outdoor enthusiast David Wilson is taking on the epic challenge of walking the entire length of the Park non-stop.

Setting off at the crack of dawn this Friday, the 70-mile route will take him from the most northerly tip of the Park at Kilham, across the Cheviots, down the Pennine Way and eventually join Hadrian’s Wall to finish at Walltown.

The route covers stunning areas including Yeavering Bell and Newton Tors along with practical areas that allow him to access food, water and other supplies.

David, from Newcastle, is a park volunteer when he’s not busy running his own financial advice company. He aims to use the challenge to encourage more people to enjoy the great outdoors by showcasing some of the most beautiful, remote and uninhabited countryside in England.

“I’ve lived near the National Park all my life and I still find hidden treasures and places I’ve never seen or heard of before,” he said. “I hope that through my Walk in the Park challenge I can show people that Northumberland National Park is on their doorstep and encourage them to go out and explore their own little piece of it.”

The trek is expected to take him 28 hours and the final route was created with the help of Northumberland National Park’s GIS officer Ed Hudspeth, using new Ordinance Survey (OS) data called the Detailed Path Network (DPN). The DPN will feed into an OS tracking map embedded on the Northumberland National Park website so people can follow David’s progress during the challenge in real-time.

Tony Gates, chief executive at Northumberland National Park, said: “David is a wonderful ambassador for the Park. He’s worked with us on a number of occasions. It is fantastic that his experience and passion for the landscape has inspired him to show people how much there is to explore and do in and around Northumberland. He’s about to put himself through an enormous physical challenge and we all wish him every success in his endeavour.”

The team at the Park will also be sharing photos and links to each of the areas David passes through and running a number of giveaways on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow the Walk in the Park challenge on Twitter @NorthumberlndNP, #WalkinthePark and Facebook at Northumberland National Park.