STAFF who work in one of England’s finest upland landscapes are urging people not to wait until summer to get outside but to head for the hills now.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark covers a large area of County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland and offers visitors high moorland, wooded river valleys, stunning waterfalls and welcoming villages to explore.

Members of staff at the North Pennines AONB Partnership have selected their five favourite winter walks and urge photographers, wildlife watchers and ramblers to try them.

They take feature High Force, Allenheads, Derwent Reservoir, Slitt Wood and West Rigg and Dufton Pike.

Simon Wilson, from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, explains: “There are over 120 self-guided walks free to download from our website, with great opportunities for people to get out and benefit from the North Pennines countryside during the winter months.

“The interactive map on our website allows you to search for activities by area, meaning it is easy to plan your day around other essentials like a village start or end point that includes a visit to a cosy pub or café.”

Walking guide Paul Mitchinson,of the British Mountaineering Council, said: “There is little finer than enjoying the wildlife and tranquillity of a crisp winter’s day in the North Pennines.”