The ski slope at Allenheads is ideal for beginners, whether child or adult, total beginner or just inexperienced. The slope is spacious and gentle, although some practice may be needed to use the rope tow.
A lot of people have learned to ski and snowboard at Allenheads but, be warned, you will need to teach yourself – We have no ski school, no ski or snowboard teachers and we offer no lessons.
If you are a total beginner, we’d recommend that you get some lessons, either at a local dry ski slope such as the Silksworth slope in Sunderland or an indoor ski centre, the closest currently at Snowzone, near Castleford.
If you do come to start skiing or snowboarding at Allenheads, you will be welcome and you may find people to offer a bit of help and advice but you will largely have to teach yourself or be helped by your friends or family.
For more information see our FAQ about equipment and also make sure you wear suitable clothing, including good, grippy gloves such as workware or gardening gloves so that you can grip the rope tows.
For a lot of useful information for a beginner, see this Hobbyhelp skiing website. Its rather American oriented but is well written and very comprehensive.
Getting Here By Car
The skiing facilities of the club are situated on the edge of the village of Allenheads, an ancient lead mining centre in the North Pennines. Access to the village is via the B6295 road from Allendale Town and Hexham – an excellent road which is kept clear of snow in all but the most severe of weather.
Please note: If you travel to Allenheads from Newcastle or Tyneside and use Google maps for directions, you may find the route takes you via Blanchland and Rookhope. This route is very scenic but, when there is snow or ice, can be difficult or even impassable. It is generally better to follow the A69 to Hexham or Haydon Bridge and go via Allendale Town.
Our Postcode is NE47 9HW.
The village can also be reached from Weardale via the B6295 or from Rookhope or the Derwent Valley via a minor road. Whilst this access is easy during good weather, these roads can be closed by heavy snow and have been known, during very severe winters, to be blocked for weeks on end.
There is car parking on the road between the skiing area and the village, with more parking in the village itself and another car park one hundred metres up the hill beside the field.
But please carry a shovel – if there is more than about 10 cms of snow you will have to dig a car parking space.
Also be careful not to block any of the roads as you must always allow access for the snowploughs and the service bus.
Getting Here by Public Transport
There is a regular, approximately every 2 hours, bus service to Allenheads from Hexham which runs every day except Sunday. This service is the number 688, operated by Tynedale Links. The bus stop in Allenheads is about 150metres from the slope. For more information and the timetable, see here.
Hexham is accessible from Newcastle and Carlisle by regular bus and train services.
Most people at Allenheads use their own ski or boarding equipment. If you don’t have any but want to come and ski or snowboard, there are a few options:
Equipment – Buy
Buy your own gear – there are plenty of options to buy new gear in Newcastle and club membership gets you discount at LD Mountain Centre & Snow & Rock.
If you have a bit more time, buy second hand on eBay or similar sites or try Swiss Tims, a local retailer who often has second hand equipment.
Equipment – Loan
We have a good stock of ski, boots and poles, especially in children’s sizes, which are available for members to borrow. We do ask for a £5 donation for each loan of a set of skis and/or boots so that we can replace worn out gear. If you borrow equipment, you must be able to find the correct size of boots and skis and to set bindings yourself. We have no one in the club who is qualified to do that for you.
Equipment – Hire
There is nowhere in the region to hire equipment. The only local option for ski hire, The High Plains centre near Alston, closed in 2018 when the owners retired.
Equipment – Buy, Sell , Swap
If you’re a member of Ski-Allenheads, there is a Facebook group where you can advertise any ski or snowboarding gear you would like to sell or swap or ask about gear you would like to buy. It’s a good way to pass on gear that children have outgrown or find good second hand gear for the winter season. It is a closed group and is only open to members of Ski-Allenheads.
It is not possible to predict the snow at Allenheads more than a few days in advance. So please don’t book a holiday or a visit unless there is already snow or snow is forecast. To give an idea of how much snow we get, see the list below of the number of days we have run the tows over the last few years. With the very rare exception, we run the tows everyday there is sufficient snow for skiing and boarding so this is a good guide to the number of good snow days.
2022/23 – 7 days (as of 20/2/23)
2021/22 – 6 days
2020/21 – 30 Days. Unfortunately, due to Covid, we were unable to open on 28 out of the 30 days, so we missed some exceptional snow.
2019/20 – 4 Days
2018/19 – 5 Days
2017/18 – 31 Days and would have been more had the snow not blocked access for a further 4 days.
2016/17 – 3 Days
2015/16 – 7 Days
2014/15 – 19 Days
2013/14 – 0 Days
2012/13 – 30 Days
2011/12 – 6 Days
2010/11 – 15 Days
2009/10 – 92 Days
Access to field
Access, Sledges & Dogs
Access to the ski slope is from the track which runs alongside the wall of Allenheads Hall. There is a sign at the start of the track. Please do not come onto the field from the other gates on the road.
Over the last few seasons, we have increasingly used all of the field for skiing & snowboarding which means we cannot allow sledging on any part of the field.
Dogs are not allowed on the field. We have had recent experience of dogs biting people skiing, plus, at times, there are sheep on the field.
Where to eat/drink
The Hemmel Café is in the village of Allenheads, about a 300 meter walk from the ski area and is open 6 days a week (closed Wednesdays) from 10.00am to 4.00pm. The food is recommended.
The Allenheads Inn, also in the village, is open on Saturdays and Sundays in winter from 12.30 to 24.00 and midweek from 16.00. Good beer and other beverages. Food is available at times.
There is some accommodation available in Allenheads, either at the Allenheads Inn, or at the Old School House. Please check both before looking to stay.
There is a camping barn at Carrshield, across in the West Allen valley. For more information and booking see the Carrshield Camping Barn website.
The next nearest place to stay is Allendale, about 7 miles away, where there are a number of pubs/hotels offering accommodation.
If you’re happy to stay further afield, try Hexham which has a good range of hotels and B&Bs and, like Allendale, has pretty well guaranteed road access to Allenheads. Accommodation is also available in Alston and the upper Wear valley but the direct roads to Allenheads can be blocked by snow. For more information, see the Bed & Breakfast website