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Newbiggin Fell, Nookton Fell, Halleywell, Riddlehamhope Fell, Northumberland/Co Durham.
[19.3 km] Thu 09 Jul 2015

OS Grid Ref: NY 91015 52405
Lat/Long: 54.866336, -02.141520

I drove north along the M6 to Carlisle then east on the A69 to Hexham. I was approaching rush hour when I got to Hexham so it was quite slow getting through the town. I still had quite a drive through narrow and winding lanes via Dotland and Whitley Chapel to the start of my walk. The road goes as far as Harwood Shield Farm but I didnít know if there would be anywhere to park.

Low Hope

Above Stobby Lea was a wide grassy area between the road and wall so I left my car there. I set off back along the road in the morning sunshine, turning right and right again down a lane which passes the property called Folly. It had a for sale sign up. I continued down the lane to pick up the path by the property called Steel.

View from Blackburn Head

Beware of Adders

Whitehill Plantation

When I got here I couldnít find any indication of where the path goes. I could see a path sign on a post by a field but no way to get there. Fortunately there was a man working in the garden who showed me the route through his garden which isnít marked. Down through a field I reached the farm buildings at Long Lee where there was no marker showing where the path went through the complex of buildings. Down through a field of long wet grass I reached a wooden footbridge then up through fields to Low Hope buildings. It was a well maintained refurbished building with no sign of anyone about.

County boundary

Track through the trees.

Nookton Burn

There was no vehicle but I could hear dogs barking in kennels. I left the area by the only access track which I followed up to Blackburn Head. A lot of track construction work was going on with large machines working away. I reached the gate into Whitehill Plantation where I saw an Adder warning notice. The track descended through the trees, across a field to a track. I saw a couple of walkers approaching from the left but my way was across the track and down through a field to a steep descent through woods to the River Derwent. I crossed the footbridge which took me over the county boundary. I left Northumberland to cross into County Durham. Up through the woods and across a couple of fields I reached the road. Turning right I followed the road passed the estate buildings and on to Nookton Burn.

Building the track.

Building the track.

Shooting Cabin Norham Burn.

Shooting Cabin Norham Burn.

My map showed the path going steeply up to Nookton Farm but I had to make a diversion near the top to reach the farm track. Through the farm the track headed steeply up the hillside but the path shown was not visible on the ground. I followed up the wall to the line of a track being built with a substantial stone foundation. Further up was another large machine working on the track. The cost of all the track building work Iíve seen today must be considerable. The track wasnít on the route I wanted so I cut across the south side of Nookton Fell to reach the correct track.

Above Quickcleugh Burn

On the way I saw my first Adder. It was curled up in the sunshine but set off into the undergrowth as I approached. It was too quick for me and I wasnít able to get my camera out in time. I followed the track to a wooden shooting hut which was unlocked so I was able to have a quick look inside.

I didn't take this Adder photo.
It is copied from Wikipedia.

No dogs

Bridge over Quickcleugh Burn

On the approach I was able to look down Norham Burn to see the amazing large building of Riddlehamhope. It was partly dilapidated but the roof was still on. The shooting hut is by Norham Burn which is also the county boundary. I now crossed back from County Durham into Northumberland. I followed the line of a path shown on my map that crossed Heatheryburn Moor. It was a rough crossing as there was no sign of a path on the ground. I reached Quickcleugh Burn and a wooden footbridge. A sign on the bridge said no dogs allowed.


I headed up the hillside to have a look at the substantial buildings of Hallywell. It seemed nothing more than a large barn complex. I couldnít see any evidence of a house. I turned east to follow a track over Riddlehamhope Moor to the junction of the track to Heatheryburn. I turned left to follow the track to Harwood Shield. Here I reached the road and a short walk back to my car.