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Blanchland, Actonmill, Warlaw Pike, Carriers’ Way, Newbiggin, Northumberland.
[16.1 km] Thu 16 Jul 2015

OS Grid Ref: NY 96487 50437
Lat/Long: 54.848727, -02.056236

I drove via the M6, A69 and Hexham to Blanchland. There is a sizeable car park which is free but had an honesty box with a suggested £1 donation. That’s how car parks should be. I walked by the large ancient gatehouse which was shrouded with scaffolding as builders worked on it. The first part of my walk was along the B6306, back the way I’d come.

Towards Actonmill Bridge

Actonmill ruin

Actonmill ruin and marks

It was easy walking and thankfully little traffic as there was no footpath. At Actonmill Bridge I left the road and though a gate followed a track to the ruin of Actonmill. The remaining stones were pock marked with what looked like bullet impacts. It is possible that is the case as many old building were used as target practice during World War II. I was following the line of track shown on the map but there was nothing on the ground. After the ruins of High Actonmill I went through a gate and on to a substantial track heading west across Acton Fell. All along the track were shooting butts and in the distance I could see Warlaw Pike and the trig post on the summit.

Warlaw Pike trig post

That was my next objective. On the final approach I left the fence line and crossed rough ground to the trig post. The weather was fine and I had great views all around. I descended to the west across a short stretch of rough ground to join the Carriers’ Way path. Its name seems to suggest an ancient way.

View from Warlaw Pike

On the ground it’s a sunken path for a lot of its route which means it is probably very old. I made a short detour to check out a barn of corrugated iron then re-joined the path to continue towards Blackburn Head. In the distance I could see a stone shooting hut and lots of vehicles parked around.

Carriers’ Way path

Blackburn Head hut

Blackburn Head hut interior

Just before the hut was a gas pipeline marker and nearby a stone circle of rubble. At first it looked ancient but as its not marked on the map I’m not so sure. At Blackburn Head I walked past the vehicles and across Newbiggin Fell were lots of people with dogs were walking. I only saw one man with a gun and only heard a couple of shots. I was now on a vehicle track across Reeding Edge to Whitehill Plantation. Through the trees I descended to the track that took me to the group of buildings at Newbiggin. Just before I reached the road I came to the church shown on the map but now converted to a private residence. Over the door it said “Wesleyan Providence Chapel 1867” It has a fascinating history and the last service was in 1991. On same spot in 1747 John Wesley preached. Along the road I returned to Blanchland and made a detour round the village to return to the car park.

Wall repairs

Wesleyan Providence Chapel

Wesleyan Providence Chapel 1867

Blanchland

Blanchland Post Office