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Northumberland gets few visitors – everyone is heading north to Scotland. This is a pity as it is one of the hidden gems of England with super scenery, marvelous people and some excellent walking. Everyone knows about Hadrian’s Wall country or Lindisfarne, Holy Island. The North Tyne Valley with the largest man made forest and the largest man made lake in England is less well known.
One of our favourite short walks is from the small town of Bellingham up the Hareshaw Burn to Hareshaw Linn. It starts from the town centre, so call in at the Village Bakery for something to keep you going as you walk. Their ginger slices are excellent.
The walk takes you past the overgrown remains of a 19thC iron working site and then follows the burn up the valley, crossing a series of bridges to the small waterfall of Hareshaw Linn. It’s a reasonable path and there are steps up the steeper bits. Keep your eyes open as you may see the elusive red squirrel.
There is a cafe in Bellingham for something to eat at the end of the walk or the Cheviot Arms if you need something a bit stronger.
Details of the walk and a map can be downloaded here:
Oh, super super walk, I’ll take the details and certainly do this one. Thanks for it.
It is a delightful walk which we never get tired of doing as there is always something different to see.
I’ll add some more walks in Kielder Forest and Kielder Water over the next few days.
WALKS IN KIELDER FOREST AND AROUND KIELDER WATER – part 1
A bit further up the valley from Bellingham is Kielder Water and Kielder Forest.
There is a link to a pdf of all the walks around Kielder Water here:
There is now a properly made path around the lake. We’ve only walked bits of this but it is described as suitable for mobility scooters and wheelchair users, so will be easy walking. Short stretches of this would make a good walk with nice views across the lake. You might be able to use the ferry to reach the more inaccessible parts of the walk, like Plashetts (see p18 on the pdf). The ferry trip is enjoyable as it lets you see the lake and forest from a different angle.
There are some pictures here which give an idea of what the walk is like:
http://www.northumberland-walks.co.uk/k … /index.htm
The walk along the shore from Tower Knowe Visitor Centre to the dam described on p7 is nice although it does get busy.
For a quieter walk drive across the dam and park. Follow the trail through the trees to the Belling and find the Wave Chamber as there are good views across the lake here. If time allows and legs are willing continue up the belling inlet to where you cross the Belling burn. Details on p16 and 17.
Alternatively drive to Kielder and park in the car park by the Castle. Follow the trail along the north side of the lake to Bakethin dam. (The top of this can only be seen if water levels are low. It was built to hold back water at the top end of the lake when water levels drop so there wouldn’t be a large expanse of mud exposed). This is a good walk with few people on it. Details on p20 of the pdf.
A word about Plashetts:
This used to be a small colliery village on the North Tyne Railway which was closed in the 1960s. It was flooded when Kielder dam was built. The steep road leading up from the landing stage is called the ‘incline’. This is the top bit of a rope worked tramway which carried coal from the mines down to the railway sidings. If you walk up to the top of the incline and take the forest road straight ahead (I think it may be signed Falstone – its bear left then right) this takes you past the site of the mine and you can still see the remains of the row of colliery workers cottages on your right. It must have been one of the most isolated settlements in Britain as there was no road connection, only the railway.
Duke and Duchess Trails – two short walks from Kielder Castle.
There is a small shop and information desk in the castle as well as an exhibit about the area. The cakes in the cafe are recommended too.
There is a large car park across the road from the castle and it is a pleasant walk from the top right hand side of the car park, across the road (which is the start of the Forest Drive) through the trees to the castle. After you’ve crossed the road, check the gateway of the field on your left. The two heavy horses which worked in the forest used to be stabled in this field. It’s a while since we visited so I don’t know if they are still there. They were very friendly and enjoyed apples.
The start of the Duchess Trail (p 23 in pdf) from the castle is great fun as it follows the stream passed the old kennel buildings for the castle (the dogs lived in a much better constructed building than the keepers) and over an old stone bridge. It then does a loop climbing up through the trees to a viewpoint. It is quite a steep climb in places and can get muddy after rain. Many people only walk as far as the bridge and then back.
The Duke’s trail (p22) can be directly accessed from the car park. Walk to the top left hand corner of the car park and take the path through the trees to the forest road to pick up the trail. This is a good walk through pretty woodland.
If you want a longer walk then use the start of the Duke’s trail to pick up the road to the top of Deadwater fell at 1900’ and the highest point in the area reached by a road (p24). It is quite a stiff pull but is on a properly made road to the top which gives access to all the surveillance equipment. Turn your back on this and admire the views across Northumberland and lowland Scotland. If you are lucky you may see wild goats here.
If it has been a dry summer it is possible to head across the moors to Peel Fell which is slightly higher. BUT it does need to have been dry as this is across peat bog which can be very wet.
Another really thoughtful alk for me – thanks as always. Do we get to eat the wild goats? I do have an eye on the mallard we see here and there but keep my poacher in check.
Looking at them, I think the goats may be a bit tough and stringy…. their smell isn’t great either.
Something I should have said… If you do decide to do Deadwater, take a spare sweater with you. It is very exposed, and even in summer, the weather can change suddenly. I remember going up there one Christmas. We were well prepared with plenty of layers and waterproof and windproof tops and trousers. Even so the wind chill was bitter and we had to go down after about 15 minutes. We didn’t start to get warm again until we dropped down into the trees and lost the wind. We then began to shed layers.
WALKS IN KIELDER FOREST PART 3 – SIDWOOD AND THE BORDER REIVERS.
This walk is different from the above as it is at the edge of the forest and below the dam. It takes you well away from the main tourist areas and into a very different part of the forest.
From the 14th to the 16th century, the Reivers were the riding and raiding families on both sides of the English/Scottish Border. Back then, no man could sleep safely and no cattle could be left unguarded. They lived by stealing and the enemy was anyone outside your own clan. Centuries of warfare between the two countries had resulted in a lawless society where people just tried to survive. Riders, raiders, guerrilla fighters, and gangsters, the border reivers gave the words ‘bereaved’ and ‘blackmail’ to the English language. All that remains now are their fortified bastles and peles.
This way marked route takes you past some of their ruined bastles and peles. It is another cracking walk and, chances are, you won’t see anyone on it. There is some information here:
From Bellingham, drive to Lanehead. Turn right following signs to Greenhaugh. After Greenhaugh take the next left and then the next right for Redheugh. In the field opposite the farm is a dove cote. It is no longer used and you can look inside. There is a bit of information about it on p8 on the pdf downloadable from here:
• Park under the trees just inside the forest (see map on p8 above), and follow the footpath along the river with the deciduous forest to Sidwood. We’ve seen barn owls and foxes along this stretch. This will take 20-30 minutes.
• Drive along the road and park in the large grassy area near Sidwood. There is a sign in the car park about the Border Reivers Trail. After the house, turn right down the side of the wall to the river. The path follows the river and is a delightful walk. We love this. (Note the footbridge as you may come back this way). The footpath takes you to Waterhead.
You have three choices here.
(i) You can return the way you came.
(ii) You can either cross the river and walk along the road on the opposite side of the burn, visiting the ruins of Black Middens Bastle, which is a short walk up a field from the car park by the road.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/days … -research/.
Continue on the road until the sharp bend and where the road climbs steeply. There is a signed footpath from the bend which follows the wall to the footbridge seen earlier. Then follow the trail back to the car.
This is about 2.5 miles. Allow 90minutes for this walk.
(iii) At Waterhead the trail continues up the valley. Do not cross the river. Stay on the road and the trail is signed off to the right. This takes you up the valley past the ruins of two more peles to Barty’s Pele. At this point the trail rejoins a forest road back to Sidwood. (Go straight over the first crossroad and straight on at the next junction.
If you want to follow the footpath back to the car, at the crossroads take the left turn which takes you back to Waterhead.
Alternatively follow (ii) above to see Black Middens.
This walk is 4 miles and you need to allow 2-3 hours for it, depending on how fast you walk, how many stops you make and which way you come back.
This is a delightful walk following the Tarsett Burn. A lot of it is through deciduous forest. This is always one of the first walks we do when we visit the North Tyne. If you are only wanting a short walk, we think the nicest bit is from the picnic site at Sidwood to the footbridge and back. This will take 30-40 minutes depending on how many stops you make.
I’ve saved the best walk to last. This is probably our favourite walk, and if you only have time for one walk in Kielder Forest, then this is the one to choose.
It is one of the nicest parts of the forest and, best of all, gets few visitors. Chances are you will have this walk to yourselves.
The car park is reached along a forest road off the main road to Kielder. It is not well signed and easy to miss. Coming from Bellingham, it is the left hand turn just after the right hand turn (signed) to Matthew Linn. It is just BEFORE the large bridge across the Lewisburn. It is a very pleasant 2km drive up the valley to a large open car park. There is a £4 all day parking charge.
The walk is described on p 31 of the pdf, however we don’t follow this exactly.
Continue on foot along the forest road to The Forks (2 houses). Here the road forks. Take the left hand fork and follow the Lewisburn to an old pack horse bridge alongside a newer forestry bridge,Cross this. The road gradually turns into a track which peters out. Retrace your footsteps.
At the Forks, we follow the forest road up the main valley (now the Akenshaw Burn)to a bridge. The trail takes you up the hillside above the road to a lookout point. We’ve done this but decided it didn’t repay the climb so stick to the road. Cross the bridge and pick up the trail again. Look for a footpath back through the trees on the opposite side of the burn. This will take you across a footbridge back to to the car park. Allow 1-2 hours for this.
If you have time, it is worth continuing up the valley from the bridge, following the old toll road to the Scottish border at Bloody Bush with its huge pillar with tolls on it. This used to carry coal from the mines in Newcastle to the textile mills in Scotland. The forest ends and you can follow the footpath across the moors to the mast on Larriston Fell. You will need to allow 4+ hours for this, depending on how fast you walk. This is Kielder at its best.
If however you decide to do this it is advisable to have a map with you as these will show all the forest roads.
Either OS Landranger Map (1:50 000) Cheviot Hills & Kielder Water (Sheet 80)
this is at a scale of 1.25” to 1 mile
OS Explorer Map (1:25 000) Kielder Water & Forest (Sheet OL42)
At a scale of 2.5” to 1 mile