Anyone planning a walk may take inspiration from some of the websites mentioned below.
There are numerous free sites giving details of walks in the north east, but I believe these are some of the most interesting and comprehensive.
www.billswalks.co.uk This is an excellent resource with an archive of monthly walks going back to 2009. The walks are well described with lots of historical anecdotes. As ever an OS map is essential.
www.thegreypanthers.com There are a vast number of walks in the north east of England detailed on this superb website, helpfully it's possible to pick an area, for example, Weardale and then get an alphabetical list of walk locations. More walks are added every month and the descriptions are thorough. Most of the walks are about 10 miles.
www.walkinginnorthumberland.co.uk This is part of a vast 'walking in England' website. The walks are of varying lengths and the descriptions often come from other websites, for example parish council websites.
www.cheviotwalks.org As the name implies these walks tend to be more serious hill walks
where a map and compass and the ability to use them are essential. The route descriptions are thorough with lots of historical detail.
OS maps (1:25000) can be browsed at www.bing.com/maps/
Small areas of the OS map can also be printed out for free.
bing.com also has satellite imagery but google earth perhaps has sharper images and the street view facility, which will gives an idea how much traffic may be on a country lane. It's possible to see how well trod a footpath is using google earth, although this is not the case if it's obscured by trees.
Finally the legality of a path can be checked on the appropriate county council rights of way map, for example www.map.northumberland.gov.uk/prow/
Perhaps the easiest way to come up with a walk is to think of a good pub (with handpumps please), or cafe and then look at the OS map to see which nearby footpaths can be linked up to arrive there for a well earned refreshment.