Jo’s Monday walk : Bellingham and Hareshaw Linn

Hareshaw Linn, or waterfall

Hareshaw Linn, or waterfall

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 is where we'll start

This is where we’ll start

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.

Let's follow the path down into the woods

Let’s follow the path down into the woods

And look what we find!

And look what we find!

Growing right up into the tree

Growing right up into the tree

There are six bridges to cross, but for some reason only the first is numbered.

Looking for fish!

Looking for fish!

The trees are laden with moss

The trees are laden with moss

Tangling with ferns and water

Tangling with ferns and water

Which gurgles on its way!

Which gurgles on its way!

There’s an element of fantasy to this woodland setting.  It feels somehow lost to the real world.

And look!  Someone's been wishing on a penny!

And look! Someone’s been wishing on a penny!

A last dramatic curtain before the grand reveal

A last dramatic curtain before the grand reveal

Isn't it lovely?

Isn’t it lovely?

And below- peaceful today!

And below- peaceful today.  Before the rains!

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.

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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.

A wooden nativity outside St. Cuthbert's

A wooden nativity outside St. Cuthbert’s Church

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.

walking logo

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!

A walk around Luskentyre

Still learning new words this week!  Thanks a lot, Anabel :

Torwood Castle and Tappoch Broch

I just know how much I would love Corsica!  Look at this!

A walk in shadow of history

Amazing share from Violet- the most incredible Junk Art!

Junk Art

For those of you who didn’t see it on BBC2, here’s Laura’s version of the Pennine Way :

Peaks and troughs

I am so privileged again to feature Suzanne’s beautiful handiwork.  Don’t miss it!

Walking in Tower Hill

Henry Moore sculptures a-plenty from Jackie this week :

Monday Walk- Toronto

Did you ever see anything lovelier than this?  I know Sue S will approve!  Many thanks, Amy!

Monday Walk : Bow River

You have to applaud the sentiments of the next one, as well as the beauty!  Cheers, Jesh!

Friends Walk Together

And if you’d like, share some reminiscing with my beautiful friend, Meg?

Walking a memoir

It wouldn’t be Monday without Jude in Cornwall, now would it?

St. Just in Penwith

For something a little wilder (and spectacular!) grab your poles and join Ruth :

A rocky walk to Bicheno Blowhole

First the water spouts up, and then it flows down!  Thanks to the Eternal Traveler!

Over the Cliff

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!



  1. Jo, I enjoyed the weaving of history and friendship on this walk. It inspired me to tell you all about my walk last week. Not quite ready to post yet. I’ll come back when it is.

    1. Hi Jill 🙂 Lovely to hear from you and thanks. I’ve scheduled my walk for Monday and am leaving for Bristol in about half an hour. I won’t have laptop with me and won’t be back till late Monday, so I’ll add your walk next week instead, if that’s ok? Bye for now! Excited!!! 🙂

    1. You just caught me! 🙂 I’m off to Bristol at crack of dawn tomorrow and need to spend this evening organising my time there. I’ve scheduled the walk for Monday so I’ll add you in. Many thanks! 🙂

  2. I really must visit Northumberland… it just looks stunning. Did if feel strange to go back to Bellingham after such a long time? The stump with all the pennies is really weird and wonderful… thanks so much for taking the time to share on #MondayEscapes

    1. I can’t remember exactly where you’re based but it would make a great family holiday (though you need a bit of luck with the weather 🙂 ) Monkey would absolutely love the water gardens at Alnwick Castle 🙂 I’d love to visit more of your escapees but the week isn’t long enough as it is 🙂 Thanks for your support.

  3. Lovely walk, Jo. Beautiful pictures. I particularly liked the one with the pennies! How old were they?
    The slide show is fabulous and an extra bonus to your wonderful line up.
    I must confess that you got me very curious to see your photos of the hot air balloons!

    1. Hard to say about the pennies, Lucile. Extremely slender and weathered some of them. There were half a dozen of the old town photos up on the wall but my photos weren’t great. Atmospheric though 🙂 No idea how well I’ll do photographing the balloons. I’ll be jumping up and down with excitement! Thanks for your company 🙂

      1. Don’t be so hard on your photos! I disagree with you. My take is always to not focus on technique as the only truth. A good photo is that one which always speaks to you. Your photos not only speak but have additional voices coming from your fantastic narrative and warm presence! What else could we wish for?
        Just to see the balloon photos next!

  4. This is like a fairyland, Jo. I love the moss and lichen in the trees – it actually reminds me of the tropics so it’s hard to imagine it snows there! I’m intrigued by the penny stump. It’s a classic! 😀

  5. I like your north country walks, and this is a gem. The traces of its industrial past, cobble stone paths, the wooden nativity and the penny stump are a delight. It’s kind of your friends to let us share their time with you!

    1. ‘Penny stump’! That’s what I’ve heard it called, Gilly, but I couldn’t remember the expression. Anabel suggested ‘wishing tree’. 🙂 I rather like both. Thanks, darlin’ 🙂

    1. I knew I’d confuse somebody, Cathy, and it might as well be you! 🙂 🙂 I didn’t actually enclose a photo of my hotel. I took one but didn’t think it did the place justice. It’s a big old house with ivy sprawling up the sides, a patio looking down on the river and wood paneled bar. You’d like it! 🙂 The photo I think you mean is of the row houses which are very nearby. Hugs, darlin’ 🙂

  6. A beautiful walk and with wonderful ‘old’ friends too…what could be better? I can see why you get ‘lost’ in these woods – in a good way of course, ha! I’ve never seen an old tree trunk with pennies pushed into it like that, fascinating. Your photo of the waterfall is so lovely the way the light plays on the water. I am sure I caught a glimpse of a fairy or two dancing in a sunbeam 🙂 Lovely walk, thank you for taking me along with you Jo, I enjoyed it very much 🙂

    1. It definitely had a hint of fairy dell, Sherri. But for real fairies have a look at Violet Sky’s share! 🙂 (it’ll be featured on mine next Monday, if I manage to get that post scheduled before I go, but it’s in the comments just below yours 🙂 ) Thanks, darlin’. Look after yourself!

      1. Thanks Jo, you too 🙂 And I will take a look when I get back to blogging in a couple of days, promise. Hubby is getting impatient with me now, been blogging for hours, yikes!!

    1. Hi Violet! You’ve just caught me in the sulks because I’d planned a boat trip along the Avon Gorge with the balloons overhead but I’ve left it too late to book! 😦 Serve me right- I should have done it sooner! 🙂 I’ll console myself with your walk. Thank you very much!

      1. what a shame – a boat trip sounds fantastic. glad I could cheer you up a bit.
        I’m planning on a trip back to Scotland and England next year, and am thinking of timing it with the balloons, since I have a cousin who lives near Bristol. Pity it happens in high season… expenses account may not allow.

      2. yes, fares go down considerably by the second week in September!
        There is also a Balloon Festival in New Mexico, tbhough that may not be any cheaper as I’d have to pay for accommodation 😉
        We used to have one in London Ontario, but it got too expensive to run.

  7. Such a beautiful walk Jo. Glad there was no snow this time. Are those mushrooms growing up the tree? We don’t see many here because our climate is so dry. That’s my guess. Now tell me about that stump with the coins. I’ve never seen anything like it. Gazing at hot air balloons? Do tell!

    1. Fungi, Sue- strictly non edible 🙂 The ‘wishing tree’? No idea where this custom originated, but I have come across a couple on my travels. Supposedly lucky if you wedge your penny in the poor old tree stump! No- I did not have a penny to my name and nobody offered me one 😦
      Hot Air balloon fest in Bristol is an annual event. I’ve wanted to go for years! Daily Telegraph featured the pre-festival flight last weekend. There should be a video in my Facebook page. EXCITED! And no, not flying, sadly… too expensive.

      1. Thanks for all the info Jo! Have a good weekend in Bristol. I’m sure the photos will be fabulous. Regarding the price, you could make a proposal to do a story on them in exchange and to run photos and the post on your social media. Just a thought.

      2. You are SO resourceful, Sue! Why don’t I think of these things? I did see a tweet advertising last few places but I didn’t even dare look at prices. I might just back track later today (frantic activity here atm!). Nothing ventured, right? 🙂 Thanks for that!

      3. Jo feel free to send me an email if you want to chat more about these kinds of pitches. Absolutely it never hurts to try. That has definitely been my experience. Good luck!

  8. I love the bridges! And to think that once this was the site of such industry. Now it has a prehistoric feel. Perfect for a lovely walk with friends. 🙂

  9. I love the shadows and panels of light in the first photo: is that really an industrial dam? and i’d be down that path into the woods like a shot. Your walks are always so varied – after mossy logs we get that wonderful wooden nativity.

    Thank you so much for linking to memoir – I didn’t really think it fitted the parameters of Jo’s Monday walk.

    I hope the balloons are giving you at least as much pleasure as this post gave me.

    1. The head of the dam is the second photo in, Meg (behind the sign board). It’s a lovely spot. I couldn’t believe how many years it had taken us to visit it, because I’ve seen it featured in the Daily Telegraph before! Lovely to spend time with Ian and Pam! I see her quite often, but never Ian. Really nice couple. 🙂
      Beyond excited about these balloons! Planning and organising to do (and meeting Viveka 🙂 ) Hugs!

  10. Thank you for another lovely walk. How lucky your friends live nearby such a gorgeous place. I love the idea that nature takes over as soon as we abandon a structure. I’ve posted photos from a small lake I used to swim in when I was young. There was a beach, short pier and lifeguard’s chair. The pier’s long gone and everything is so overgrown that the lifeguard’s chair looks like it’s in the middle of the woods. 🙂

  11. Now that was a nice walk, about the length I prefer, with lots to look at on the way. Reminds me of the Pacific Rim rainforest walks on Vancouver Island with the wooden bridges and the hanging moss. No windswept beach at the end though. Northumberland is a lovely county and isn’t amazing how different these former industrial regions look now? The people working at them would never have believed how different it would all look in the future.

    1. Beach next week, Jude! 🙂 I have a relatively straightforward one I’ve meant to share for ages and it keeps getting pushed to the back. It doesn’t need any research so hopefully I can get it done before I go on Thursday. I’m not taking laptop. Still sorting arrangements and so many things I want to see and do this weekend!
      Thanks for your company. How are the roses? 🙂

      1. It was glorious this morning and we were with the group at Middleton One Row on the Tees. Goodness knows when that will be posted! 🙂 Keep smelling those roses! I expect to see them soon.

  12. enjoyed your lovely walk as always Jo! greens, bridges, waterfalls and the coin stone (?) all rich in history. 🙂 love the wooden nativity! thank you! 🙂

    1. I’ve only seen a wishing tree a couple of times, LolaWi, and don’t know where the idea originated but it’s rather nice. Thanks for your good company 🙂

  13. That walk was just delightful Jo. I loved the cobblestones almost buried in the grasses and wild flowers and look you found fungus and bridges over streams and the beautiful water fall I agree it has to be one of the best walks and as always choice of places for a snack and cuppa. I’ve been out and about in our so unseasonal winter, warm weather, well not really unusual as it is often sunny, but we are 6-7 degrees above the average…

    1. I’m late getting here, Pauline (and will be even later next week!) but as always it’s good to have your company. 🙂 I’ll be over as soon as I can. Thanks a lot!

  14. A walk that is both lovely and nostalgic for you,Jo. Nice to be with old friends. Did you try to wedge in a penny of your own? Interesting tradition. The ironworks is long gone but it looks like a charming community that remains. Balloons. How exciting. Have fun!

    1. Do you know, Lynne, I didn’t have a penny with me! And no-one volunteered one either 🙂 But we did have a very lovely day together. Thanks! I’m beyond excited! 🙂

      1. Often enough my replies are a bit ambiguous, Sally. It depends how many I’ve written and how tired I am! 🙂 This place had quite a unique atmosphere, but what made it special for us was being there with our friends after so long. We couldn’t have had a better location. 🙂

    1. It’s not long, Viv, but it’s rather ‘uppy-downy’! 😦 Perhaps taken slowly 🙂 Beautiful surrounds just for driving through, though, and you could certainly have a cuppa in Bellingham.

  15. Lovely walk – I’ve been to Bellingham, but not for many years. Delighted to see the wishing tree! I posted about one a while back – I knew I’d seen another one but couldn’t remember where. It’s not this one though.

    1. Indah asked about the custom, Anabel, and I said I would Google it if I knew what to call them. Wishing tree sounds good to me! 🙂 Many thanks for your walk. I’m not long back from walking by the River Tees so I’ll hopefully join you soon.

    1. It was a wonderful day, in excellent company, Mr. B! What more can I ask? Thank you so much for your visit. I’ll return it soon. Hope all is good with you and the family 🙂

    1. Hi, Indah! It’s a funny old custom! Yes, they are real pennies. I’m not sure quite why or who started it. I expect I could find out on Google if I knew what to call them! 🙂 Thanks, hon.

  16. This looks gorgeous! I love waterfalls! My family are from Northumberland but I don’t think I’ve ever been to Bellingham.

    St Cuthberts! So many North east churches are dedicated to him 🙂

    1. Nice part of the world, Sue! I’m resolved to go back. It’s only about an hour and 15 from here, and sometimes it takes that long to get down into the York Moors. 🙂

  17. Wonderful, so inspiring… 🙂

    Excellent captured… 🙂

    So glad you remember that ‘Madhu’ and I always are tempted for something delicious food after enjoyed one of your walks… 😀

    1. I was kind and didn’t show you any of those homemade cakes I know you would have wanted, Drake 🙂 The pea and ham soup was wonderfully tasty, though. Not biking territory in the valley but you could have such fun on the rolling hills! 🙂 Thanks, and take care!

  18. interesting walk Jo amongst greenery where there was once much industry – btw – I only did a postcript taster of my sojournings along the start of the pennine way – the walk I describe is up and over from edale to castelford

  19. Gosh you manage to find some picturesque walks Jo in lovely quaint places! As always I found your little historical slide show fascinating. It must have looked so pretty when it was snowing when you stayed there but much better weather for walking today! Have a good trip away to Bristol 🙂

    1. Have your guests gone? However lovely, they do make extra work, don’t they? Enjoy your picking and pickling and whatnot while it’s nice enough to get out there. Thanks for your time, Tish 🙂

      1. Yes, guests gone, and am enjoying the brief aftermath of the clean house that their coming necessitated. I don’t why it doesn’t stay clean for longer though 😦

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