If I told you that today’s walk takes us to the site of two former blast furnaces, you could be forgiven for being less than enthusiastic. But you might remember lovely Hareshaw Linn from a previous post. I was in the company of two friends with whom I go back a long way, so I had a smile on my face, even in the uphill stretches.
Ian and Pam have a caravan on a small site on the edge of Bellingham, a neat little market town in Northumberland. It just so happens that it also sits right beside one of that county’s best walks. I hadn’t been to Bellingham for more than 30 years, but I have an enduring image of waking up there one morning to a winter wonderland. The railing of our hotel balcony was delicately traced with snow, of which there hadn’t been a sign the night before. No snow on our walk today! It might make the going a little slippy, but wouldn’t it be pretty?
This area was once the site of an iron works, established in 1833. At the height of operating, it contained 70 coke ovens, 24 large kilns for roasting the iron ore, a blacksmiths, stables and stores. It remained in production until 1848. The dam in the photo above supplied water to power the works, and is one of few reminders of the past. Nature has taken this valley back to herself, and it’s hard to imagine now the roar of those ovens.
There are six bridges to cross, but for some reason only the first is numbered.
There’s an element of fantasy to this woodland setting. It feels somehow lost to the real world.
There’s only one way out of the valley, and that’s to retrace your steps, so you can’t get lost even if I rush on ahead. You might want to pause to examine a few flowers. The trail is one and a half miles long, so that’s a round trip of 3 miles, with a few ups and downs.
The path brings you out by the old bridge. If you cross over the road and take a few steps back the way, you will see evidence of former times and the power of water.
I’m pretty sure you’re ready for a bite to eat by now, and the Rocky Road cafe will give you a warm welcome. Or there’s the ‘Rose and Crown’, just as friendly, next door, if it’s open. The houses are largely built from the local grey stone, enlivened by troughs of flowers and hanging baskets. I continue past the village hall to St. Cuthbert’s Church, consecrated in the 12th century. Unlatching the door, I step briefly inside, then leave quietly again. St. Cuthbert’s Well (Cuddy’s Well) is easily missed, down by the river.
I couldn’t leave without a quick look at the hotel where we stayed so long ago. There was still a lovely view down to the river, but agreeably, no snow! A footpath beside the river will bring you back into town, where you might want to visit the Heritage Centre.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s walk, in the company of my lovely friends. This link will take you to the Northumberland National Park site, with a map and full details of the location.
Time for a cuppa and to share some more brilliant walks! Many thanks to all of you who’ve submitted walks, and to those of you who are simply armchair readers. To join me, you’ll find details on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or just click on the logo above. Here we go!
Got to brave the weather when you’re in the Hebrides. Well done, Geoff!
Still learning new words this week! Thanks a lot, Anabel :
I just know how much I would love Corsica! Look at this!
Amazing share from Violet- the most incredible Junk Art!
For those of you who didn’t see it on BBC2, here’s Laura’s version of the Pennine Way :
I am so privileged again to feature Suzanne’s beautiful handiwork. Don’t miss it!
Henry Moore sculptures a-plenty from Jackie this week :
Did you ever see anything lovelier than this? I know Sue S will approve! Many thanks, Amy!
You have to applaud the sentiments of the next one, as well as the beauty! Cheers, Jesh!
And if you’d like, share some reminiscing with my beautiful friend, Meg?
It wouldn’t be Monday without Jude in Cornwall, now would it?
For something a little wilder (and spectacular!) grab your poles and join Ruth :
First the water spouts up, and then it flows down! Thanks to the Eternal Traveler!
That’s it for this week! Next week I hope to schedule my Monday walk, as I will be in Bristol gazing at hot air balloons. Pinch me, somebody- I must be dreaming! I don’t get back until late on Monday evening so I may be rather slow with my responses, and I will be all in a daze.
If you have any spare time, pop in to see those lovely folks at Monday Escapes, won’t you? Meanwhile, have a great week!