The North Pennines fall into a gap between national parks. Between the Yorkshire Dales and the Northumberland National Park, the North Pennines still contains some of the wildest countryside in England. Teesdale, Weardale and the South Tyne valley cut into the highest land in the Pennine chain. If you like wild and empty country, this is the area is for you.
One feature of this part of the Pennines are the reservoirs that dot the valleys. Weardale has Burnhope, tree lined with glimpses of the mountains around. The River Tees actually passes through Cow Green reservoir, the largest in the area, and at just under 1,600 feet, the highest. Further south Lunedale and Baldersdale contain five reservoirs, with a visitor's centre on Grassholme Reservoir.
Each of the main valleys have their towns and villages. Teesdale has Middleton, a welcome break on the Pennine Way (and Barnard Castle on the edge of the region). Wearside has Stanhope, with an excellent visitors centre, and the South Tyne valley has Alston, the highest of the three.
Teesdale is also justly famous for its waterfalls, including High Force, the biggest in England, and Cauldron Snout, the longest cascade.