Walk 1477 - printer friendly version
Bellingham to Kiln Rigg by Pennine Way Circular Walk
Author - Andy Chaplin
Length - 14.3 miles / 23.2 km
Ascent - 900 feet / 273 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference NY838833
Lat 55.14378152 + Long -2.255691313
Postcode NE48 2AU (approx. location only)
This walk gives some feel for the emptiness of the Cheviots north of Bellingham before coming back in a loop by the North Tyne. The road sections are a necessary evil with only the last section being particularly busy. There is plenty of parking in Bellingham and for this and a previous walk I started from outside the Rose and Crown pub. Once more it was a very pleasant spot to de-boot while sitting at a table outside the front of the pub with a pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord.
The Pennine Way is not signed from the centre of Bellingham. However go out of town on the road to West Woodburn which is Cycle Route 68. At a junction in town keep left when the road signposted for Redesmouth goes off right. Eventually you pass a caravan park and when the road bends to the right the PW is signed off to the left (grid ref. NY845837).
The track goes to and through Blakelaw Farm and then the path climbs up the hill with posts marking the way. At the top go through a gate and continue to follow the posts until you come to a sign that shows an alternative PW route to the left and PW to the right. In the distance you can see the wood around Hareshaw House. Continue along the Pennine Way. As you approach Hazel Burn it can be a bit boggy. There is a bridge over the burn and you come out onto and turn right on the track that leads up to Hareshaw House. Very shortly afterwards you turn left behind the derelict barn and cross the fields in front of Hareshaw. You go through a gate onto moorland then angle right to join the tracks coming from the back of Hareshaw. As you go over the top of the hill you can see where the track comes down to the B6320 (grid ref. NY841883).
When you cross the road you are in a large area of moorland. Follow the direction of the PW signpost from the road, going just to the left of the slate spoil heap. You should pick up the path as it becomes better defined as it goes up Lough Shaw and there are a series of way-markers all visible one after the other to the top of Deer Play. From here there is a signpost sending you off to the left and as you descend there are a couple of way-markers helping you keep a line through another boggy section. When you cross Black Sike you can see the path going on up to Whitley Pike and from here you can see where it crosses the road near Kiln Rigg. As you go down from Whitley Pike keep to the fainter path on the right that goes close to the fence and then meets up with the flag stones that make it possible to cross the quagmire before the road.
Leaving the Pennine Way, turn left on the road (grid ref. NY824917) then shortly afterwards turn left on the track signposted to Sundaysight. There are some great views back down to the North Tyne valley and as the track is gated at Sundaysight there is little traffic on the track. Carry straight on through North Sundaysight and Sundaysight until you come out on the road (grid ref. NY819881). Turn right on the road, signposted for Kielder and Greenhaugh.
The road is reasonably quiet and there are verges on both sides. It is predominantly downhill and the 2 km. to Birchhope passes fairly quickly. Having passed the track on the right to Clough Head, take the track off to the left as the road bends right (grid ref. NY801869). This follows the wood and then goes to the right of Bimmerhill Farm. It is not very clear where the path goes at this point. Go through a gate on your right and cross the field to another gate below you on the right. The path then follows the right hand side of the wall that goes down the ridge towards Charlton. There is some now planting on your right and you eventually merge with the track on your left coming down from Boweshill (grid ref. NY807851).
There is a new camp site coffee shop and bunkhouse at this point. From here there is just over 1km to the path off on the right (grid ref. NY819839) that follows the river back to Bellinngham. This section of road is busier than previous sections and less easy to walk on the verges so it has to be a case of head down and get walking. The path from Cuddies Loup goes generally along the river though it may not be worth trying to find your way through the wood on the bend below Shaw Banks. It is possible to walk through the adjacent meadow until the path sticks closely to the riverbank after Copseford. After a short time you pass under the road bridge then continue along the river path and, as you pass the car garage, turn left back into Bellingham centre.