Saturday, 3 February 2018

Witton, Witton and Witton or In the Deep Mudwinter. (Northumberland) February 2nd
Not another lot of solicitors or estate agents but the prefix/suffix of several of the places we will be visiting on our walk today
 Another fairly local walk as the days are still fairly short and as the young lady on TV promised, it was a cold day, but dry and no wind. There are six of us out today, John H., Brian, Harry, Dave, Ben and me.
The walk is based on Netherwitton in Northumberland, small village with what was a large mill. Probably as well to use a satnav to find it or head north on the A1 to Seaton Burn, take the old A1 , turn second left to Berwick Hill, turn right, turn left and at the Entrance to Kirkley Hall Agricultural College turn right go through Ogle to Walton. Turn left at the pub and somewhere on the road to Belsay turn right and watch out for sign posts.
On the way we stopped for tea/coffee/bacon at the Kirkley Cycle café. (Turn right at the bottom of Berwick Hill and go north for a bit less than a mile.
Great café, good coffee and full of lycra clad ladies taking a break from their exertions in the gym in the barn next door. They were very noisy.
                    Kirkley cycle café next door to the gym in the barn
            and it has a car park too.
A map is advisable for this walk, the one to use is OS Explorer 325, Morpeth and Blyth. We parked at the north end of Netherwitton, GR NZ099903.
                     We parked just off the road in Netherwitton..............
                                         ...................followed this sign post
Once booted and suited in several layers of lagging to protect us ageing gadgies against the cold we headed west past Bellion Farm on a road that became a track that became a sequence of muddy fields until we reached Bellion (mile 1).
Continuing in a vaguely westerly direction across muddy fields and through a plantation we crossed a minor road and came to Hill End Farm.
                              Not this way....................................
                                  ..................past this well defended fortress farm.
From Hill End we crossed more muddy fields, past Heugh Plantation to Southwitton where we turned east walking along the Long Plantation to LongWitton Dene. (mile 5)
At some point walking by the woodland above Dene Burn we called a Herbie Spot. Not much in the way of comfort for sitting, fortunately we all carry sitmats, except for Dave who has a fine inflatable he calls Jackie.
          Herbie in the shadows. We shared cranberry cookies, ginger biscuits, gold bars, tracker bars and ginger cake from Mrs A. (Don't like to boast but with the help of a kitchen elf I made the cranberry cookies)
Break over we walked on a track through the wood above the dene to Garden House.
                We decided  this implement was used for lifting potatoes. Anybody who can offer an explanation?

                                    The Garden House.
Beyond the house we crossed the stream by the footbridge and walked up to a road, turning left when we reached it.  A few hundred yards along we spotted the sign post on the left, followed the footpath down a steep bank to the stream. We decided the water was too deep to wade across so followed a path that wound round The Banks to Hartburn.
 This grotto was built in the 18th century on the orders of the local vicar as a changing room for ladies who wished to bathe in the stream below
                  The ladies could get warm after their bathing
                                         Grotto interior
Climbing out of the dene we were soon in the village of Hartburn. We followed the road south east,across Hartburn Bridge (mile 7) and turned  north just beyond the telephone exchange.
Hartburn Village church, St.Andrew's has Saxon origins with Norman and 19th century additions. And very interesting grave stones.
                               Interior of  St. Andrew's
                                      St. Andrew's church, Hartburn

                             A cheery sight
The road we followed north was very straight. We could have taken paths across fields but some of us were getting a bit tired of mud, boots were getting heavier. At the first junction we turned left and at Thornton Moor took the footpath on the right that follows for a while the line of a Roman Road called The Devil's Causeway.. Shortly after entering a plantation, most of which had been cut down, we turned north west, eventually reaching a road  that took us back into Netherwitton.
Changed we headed for the Dyke Neuk on the way back to Morpeth. Unfortunately the pub had suffered a flood. There was no food on offer and only one ale, called Halo. The lady behind the bar had no idea who brewed it and there was no badge on the pump. It was good though, and it was a good day for the birders; Heron, (makes it a real walk),nuthatch, buzzard, kestrel, lapwings, longtailed tits, great tits, wren and lbjs.

 With the return of Dave we have a complete matrix again!
                                                                                steps                            miles
NAK                                                                       26813                          10.11
IPhone                                                                   23411                            10.7
Dave's 3D                                                              22406                            10.53
  """" USB                                                             21305                            10.42
""""""NAK                                                            21092                            10.31
Sylvia's mother                                                      22288                            10.9
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                          10.1
Brian                                                                                                            10.4

Some agreement there

Contains OS data. Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018

And a few more photos

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