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Northumberland Walk
Circular incl. Pennine Way from Ladyhill to Bellingham

Nat Park - Northumberland

County/Area - Northumberland County

Author - Andy Chaplin

Length - 16.0 miles / 26 km

Ascent - 1300 feet / 394 metres

Time - 9 hours 20 minutes

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY838833
Lat 55.143782 // Long -2.255691
Postcode NE48 2AU (approx. location only)
what3words start hides.tumblers.jetting

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Circular incl. Pennine Way from Ladyhill to Bellingham
Click thumbnails for larger images.

By the time I got to Hadrian's Wall, after many years and many circular walks designed to walk the Pennine Way in stages, I came across and bought a copy of Kevin Donkin's book, "Circular Walks along the Pennine Way". I would thoroughly recommend it for added details about the areas and walks that I have subsequently described. In many cases we have walked the same paths, in many we diverged. His descriptions of the surrounding areas make his book a great read.

There is plenty of parking in Bellingham and I started from outside the Rose and Crown. This made for 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 - but there are many miles to go before we get to that part of the walk.

Follow the B6320 south out of Bellingham, across the North Tyne River and then turn right on the road to Dunterley. At the house (grid ref. NY826831) turn left on the road signposted as Cycle Route 68 and continue on up Dunterley Fell past the road signposted as a footpath to Pundershaw. At the top you swap views of the North Tyne valley behind you for the Blacka and Houxty Burn valleys in front of you.

Come down to the road junction (grid ref. NY810804) and turn left, still on CR 68 signposted to Wark and Hexham. Go past the first bridleway on your right at Hindrigg Farm then take the second track off on the right which isn't way-marked but leads towards Watergate Farm. When the road goes right over the cattle gate to the farm carry straight on up the bridleway with the wall on your right hand side through way-marked gates keeping the fence and wall on your right.

You come down to the footbridge over the Blacka Burn (grid ref. NY801778) and pick up a farm track that leads to the road where the forest is now on your right. Take the road, which is again CR68, straight ahead (not to the left) and continue all the way to the Old School House (grid ref. NY786766). Turn left on the road towards Stonehaugh where you pass a Forestry Commission picnic area with parking and toilet before coming into and then through the village on the main road. As it goes into the wood turn off right on the second public bridleway shown on the map - this one is clearly signposted to Picnic Area and Middleburn. The path bears to the right as it goes over the hill then down to a gate where it meets another bridleway. Turn left here, going around Willowbog House in the distance and come out on the road (grid ref. NY798752).

At this point you are back on the Pennine Way. Take the road left towards Ladyhill then turn off left opposite the Falconry Centre. After crossing the next road there is a diversion (at NY804756 in September 2014) that takes the Pennine Way along the forestry track rather than through the trees until you rejoin at NY807758. Angle off to the right where there is a PW way-marker on the top of the hill. Head off right down a shallow valley towards a sheep enclosure on the left where you cross Fawlee Syke then up the hill with the wall on your right.

Go over the stile at the top then down to another stile before turning right and making your way past the rickety tin barn to the path going through the gate on your left down to the footbridge and over Warks Burn. Up the other side you cross the fields and pass to the right of Horneystead where there is, it says, tea and coffee for walkers in the barn.

The farm road from Horneystead goes off to the left and the PW angles right across the field towards a couple of stiles in the angle of two walls then on towards The Ash house. The path seems to be diverted around the south then east of the Ash then back along the side of the wall and road to Leadgate. When you cross the road at Leadgate carry on across the fields to pass just to the right of a row of trees on the top of the hill where you see a PW way-marker and then descend to Lowstead. The path goes around the garden and out onto the road where you turn right and follow it until you turn left on CR68 again.

Cross the next road and take the path down to Houxty Burn. Towards the end leave the track and go to the left to find the footbridge over the burn then go right to take the footbridge over Soot Burn. Go to the right of Shitlington Hall, take the track to the left then go right through the gate towards the Relay Station.

The path up the crags can be difficult to find in the bracken but should be straight ahead before angling up left through the crag rocks. Turn right after the stile along the track to the aerial and ½ km past it turn left over the moor. There are 3 way-mark posts across the moor to guide you and when you cross the top you aim towards a new house built on the corner above Fell End.

Take the road around the corner then turn off left across the field. At the main road there is a new bit of path that goes back around King's Wood and comes out at the Forestry Commission Office. From here there are footpaths on the left then right of the road. Cross the river on the road bridge then go down the steps on your right and follow the path along the river and back into Bellingham.

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