Capturing the Beauty of Simonside at Its Best
I often share my favourite local spots in this blog, but I realised I had not spoken much about this wonderful walkers paradise.
Northumberland’s Simonside Hills are a treasure worth exploring. Lying on the edge of Harwood Forest, the area offers some of the best views in the entirety of Northumberland National Park.
When painting, inspiration can strike from anywhere. I have traditionally concentrated on seascapes and coastal scenes, but visiting Simonside Hills has changed my approach and brought a new sense of wonder to my artistic journey. After walking the hills and seeing the heather rolling across the landscape, I was smitten and knew I needed to paint them.
A guide to exploring Simonside
In August, Simonside blooms its best with wild heather growing in abundance across the landscape. This soft blanket of purple brings wonderful colour to the area that is truly a sight to behold. If you’re going to visit, I recommend heading there during the summer months to see it at its most serene – though winter brings its austere charms to the picturesque fields of Northumberland.
Simonside boasts several different walking routes, but the best are those that encourage hikers to summit the hills to take in the panoramic vistas of Northumberland. One of the more challenging routes is a 7.1-mile walk through the area that allows you to take in all of the sights available, from lush forestry to the area’s famous fell sandstone outcrops. For intrepid explorers, try to seek out Little Church Rock, a fell sandstone outcrop named for its usage as a meeting place by non-conforming religions of the era.
It’s during these long walks that Northumberland often offers up its most sporadic inspiration – moments where you’ve forgotten yourself and are concentrating on the route, when suddenly you look up and find yourself enthralled by the beauty you’re surrounded by.
The painting below aims to capture the same sense of wonder and delight I felt when I first looked across these rolling fields, which I first sketched out as a means of describing the scene before committing to canvas.
If you love Northumberland, why not take a piece of it home with you? Available as limited edition prints, you’ll be able to reminisce on your visit to the region or just celebrate your love for it at all times.
To understand the process I use to create my artworks, take a look at this video which sees me visiting Simonside Hills before I start my next landscape. You can also visit my Limited Edition Northumberland art print page to take your pick of a scene that most calls to you.