Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Walking on the Edge (Northumberland) June 22
   Another extra walk, this time based in Rothbury. A1, A697, turn left at Weldon Bridge. In Rothbury turn down Bridge Street and go to the free car park on the right.
There are four of us out for a Monday stroll, Brian, Margaret, Dave and me. The forecast is for a warm day with the possibility of showers. The walk has been chosen as being knee friendly for those who are slightly arthritic.
Rothbury is an old town, a cross roads for turnpike roads to Newcastle, Alnwick, Morpeth and Hexham. Granted a charter by bad King John in 1291 but now it relies to a large extent on tourism. The parish church, All Saints is Victorian but incorporates some Saxon wall.
Close to Rothbury is Cragside, the home built by Lord Armstrong. Now run by the National Trust the house is currently closed because of the pandemic but the grounds are open although it is necessary to book a parking slot.
The problem with Rothbury walks is that the town is on the edge of two maps;
OS OL 42 Kielder Water and Forest and OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble. Best to photocopy and laminate even if your daughters tease you.
(Unfortunately a computer malfunction means no photographs taken on the day. I have used some from a very similar walk. Such is life)
                  Rothbury free car park taken in July 2018. Social distancing for cars then too.
The walk:
Cross the River Coquet by the footbridge and turn right. Normally on this walk we follow the footpath all the way to Thrum Mill, cross the road and enter the estate through a gate. Nobody is too sure of the legality of this but we have never been stopped. Today, because the gardens are only open by booking in advance we turned up Bridge Street, crossed the main road and turned right. Take the road that goes up to the school but keep going past the attractive cottages which are actually flats and find the gate on the left. The path here goes between two fields, cows to the left, rams to the right but fear not, the path is fenced off from the animals.
At the top of the field is Hillside Road, turn right and walk on to the B6341. Turn left and walk uphill. This is the worst part of today's walk as the road is narrow but is busy, even in lockdown. Another reason for going through Cragside if you can.
Tumbleton Lake is visible from the road and you do pass the main entrance to Cragside, guarded today by a couple of National Trust girls, checking entry tickets. Debdon Lake is on the left but out of sight.
 Looking back on Rothbury.
After about a mile of walking up the road, take the forestry road on the left and stay on it to Primrose Cottage.
                                       Not this one
There are two paths at Primrose, take the one on the right. This track, easy to follow, loops round the edge of the wood and crosses the moor south of  Cartington Hill before it reaches the entrance to Blue Mill wood.
                         Blue Mill, entrance just to the left of the picture.
The track climbs, but not too steeply. After about half a mile watch out for the marker on the right. Take this footpath, cross a proper stone stile and walk up to the next well made track.
Turn right and follow the track. We stopped near this tree, resting on large stones and making use of a gate post that had been pushed over.
                     Picnic site. Sharing is still off the menu, sadly, I miss all those treats.
Lunch over, and a chat with some fellow walkers known to Brian and Margaret we continued on the track before reaching the gate that leads to Physic Lane.
                   Brian and the gate that leads to Physic Lane
              The easy going grassy track that leads to Physic Lane.
There are several houses on Physic Lane and at the bottom is a small estate of new bungalows. Go through the small estate and there is a footpath that leads to the road. Turn Right, pass the Cross Keys, (closed of course) and walk downhill to Thropton.
                     Cross the Black Burn by the footbridge, the road is busy.
Cross the road and walk through what looks like a coach park and take the footpath alongside the burn.
Eventually it joins the River Coquet and a short distance upstream is a footbridge.
              Bridge on the River Coquet.
Cross the bridge and turn left. The footpath stays close to the river almost all the way back to Rothbury. The north bank was home to a number of Sand Martins and we saw a heron perched in a tree which meant the walk was a true gadgie walk. There had been some discussion on this although a minimum number for a gadgie walk has never been set.

                                    On the Coquet.
The path eventually comes to another footbridge which takes walkers back to the north side of the river. After crossing a field take the very well made path that goes all the way back to Rothbury.
                                      Cross back to the north bank

                                          All Saints, Rothbury
Take the footpath back to the car park and I am afraid the pubs and cafes are still closed.
                 Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2020


                                                                              steps                                     miles
NAK                                                                      23583                                     9.42
Dave's NAK 1                                                       19874                                     9.09
""""""""""""""2                                                      19881                                     9.09
SM                                                                         19902                                     9.11
Garmin 3.17 walking 1.35 talking                                                                        9.42
OUTDOOR                                                                                                           9.06
Brian                                                                                                                      9.14

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