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Slaggyford, Snope Common, Whitfield Moor, Dewley Fell, Northumberland.
[ 18.5 km] Wed 20 Jun 2012

NY 6760 5236

I had a great drive along the A686 over the Hartside pass towards Alston in Cumbria. The views back across to Penrith were fantastic. Before Alston I turned left on to the A689 to Slaggyford and into Northumberland. The lanes in the village are too narrow to park safely so I left he car in a small car park by the long closed and abandoned railway station. The lines are long gone but the station platform and buildings are still there.

Slaggyford Station

Shut the Gate, or else!

Walking through Slaggyford

Bridge to Parson Shields Farm across River South Tyne

I headed north along the main road then soon turned off right down the farm track to Parson Shields farm. The map doesn’t show a public footpath but there is one at the farm which continues north. Unfortunately there were no path signs to say how to get to it so I had to do my own rout finding. The path crossed a field then up a gradient to run along a lovely green track above Stockeldgreen Burn.

Green track above Stockeldgreen Burn

The views across the valley of the River South Tyne were also impressive. I descended to the unfortunately named farm buildings of ‘The Bog’ which were far a Bog. The farm track continued north to join the public road at Eals Bridge. At the next junction I turned right then up the track that leads up to the fell tops. I hadn’t gone far before coming to a delightful wooden cabin by the track that had been converted in to a home from home. The name plate said ‘John’s Cabin’ but there was no sign of John or anyone else.

The Bog Farm

John's Cabin

John's Cabin

I continued up the steep track and on to the moor. Just after Smiddy Cleugh I came to the Shooting Box that is shown on the map. It is one of the better looked after shooting huts and had a veranda at the rear looking out across Snope Burn.

Smiddy Cleugh cabin

The doors were locked but I could see through the windows and tidy chairs around a table. The easy walking was soon over as I came to the end of the track, thorough a gate and on to rough moor. I had difficulty following the fence due to very rough ground so cut across towards Snope Burn and a better route to Whitfield Lough.

Inside the cabin (through the window)

Whitfield Lough

Ruin above Whitfield Lough

It is a tarn with very dark and dirty water. I continued up towards the fence but made a short detour to investigate a ruined stone hut which seemed too large for a shepherds hut. It’s large enough to be shown on the map but the map doesn’t show it. I followed the fence to the trig post on Pike Rigg.

Pikerigg Currick

Another feature I wasn’t expecting is Pikerigg Currick which is a stone hut still with its roof on and in surprisingly good condition. The door wasn’t locked so I had a look inside. There were a few containers that looked as though they were associated with bird rearing and the shooting. Thankfully I was on much better ground and headed south along Pike Rigg to Whitefield Law. The earlier sun had largely been covered with high cloud but the distant views were good and I could see the Great Dudd Fell Radar Dome in the distance in front of me.

Cairn and trig post on Pike Rigg

I followed the fence heading SW down to Horseman Ford where there is quite a nice waterfall. It is easy to walk across the top but to get the best view would mean a long detour to get to the bottom as the sides were very steep. I crossed the top and continued up to High Green Hill. I left the fence here and headed west across Dewley Fell. I’d seen an old mine level on the map and had a look at it and its spoil heap on the way down. Below is the ruin of a farmhouse of Dewley Field which still had the chimney stack up to full height, but no roof.

Dewley Field ruin

Along the track was the farmhouse of Blackcleugh which was being renovated, but there was nobody about. I was soon on the road and heading back to Slaggyford. On the left I noticed a footbridge. It wasn’t on my route but I couldn’t resist investigating. The bridge started at the road and the far side, the opposite side of Barhaugh Burn, was on a huge stone pillar. Steps then descended to the field on the far side. The whole structure seemed way over the top for a humble footpath, especially as just a few minutes away is a road bridge over the river. I returned to the road and on to Thompson’s Well bridge then back on the A689 back to Slaggyford.

Bridge over Barhaugh Burn

River South Tyne from Thompson’s Well Bridge

Slaggyford Railway Station platform