Return to Whittle Wanderer

Lambley, HartleyBurn Common, River South Tyne, Featherstone, Northumberland.
[16.1 km]  Thu 10 Dec 2015

OS Grid ref: NY 68215 60741
Lat/Long: 54.940311, -02.497670

It was dark and raining during my drive north along the M6. The traffic was unusually busy and the weather conditions didnít help. Overnight there had been very heavy rain in the Glenridding area causing more flooding and damage. Large areas of Cumbria were affected by record levels of rain when Storm Desmond hit last Saturday 5 Dec 2015.
On 19th November2009 Seathwaite in Cumbria had 316 mm of rain in the 24-hours from midnight to midnight - a UK record for any 24 hour period.
On 5th Dec 2015 a rain gauge at Honister Pass in the Lake District showed 352mm of rain had fallen in 24 hours.

Car park
Keswick, Glenridding and Carlisle were severely flooded. This morning the radio told me of more flooding. I was heading for the A69 to the east of Carlisle and the bridge over the River Eden at Warwick Bridge. It was closed to heavy vehicles but OK for cars. As I drove over the river levels were extremely high. The start of my walk is a small car park by the line of the old Haltwistle to Alston railway line and Featherstone Park station. It is now the South Tyne Trail.
South Tyne Trail
The small car park was half underwater but there were still a few spaces available. It came light as I arrived and shortly afterwards another car parked and a couple got out to walk along the trail. I set off shortly afterwards heading south towards Coanwood. I hadnít walked this section of the trail before but at Coanwood I was on a section I had walked before. The walking was pleasant and the weather had improved. As I approached the Lambley Railway Viaduct I was interested in what the River South Tyne would look like.
On the old station platform

Lambley Railway Viaduct

Lambley Railway Viaduct
When I got there I looked down from the parapet into the brown swirling river below. I could see from the debris and silt along the banks that the river had been about 3m higher when in full spate. The pedestrian bridge below looked very precarious with its single concrete column in the middle of the river.
View of the pedestrian bridge below.

Lambley Viaduct (1852 - 1976)

Lambley Viaduct (1852 - 1976)
At the far side of the viaduct I descended the steps to the river bank and walked part way across the pedestrian bridge to get a better look at the viaduct.
Lambley Railway Viaduct

Engineers drawing
I returned and climbed the steep path up to the road just south of Lambley. I joined the A689 for a while before taking the second right turn to follow the lane to the bridge over Hartley Burn. I was in a very picturesque valley then left it by climbing the steep road up to the north. It was clear weather but a cold wind. I left the road to follow a public footpath along a farm track to the left. When I reached the wall I crossed to the other side to search out an ancient cairn show on the map. I found it but there was little to see. My next objective was a cup marked rock but the infant Kellah Burn shown on the map was a raging torrent.
First Cup marked rock
A farm track crossed by a ford but it was deep and too fast to wade. I headed upstream to try and find a narrow point where I could jump across. I followed it all the way to Denton Hill Plantation but the river was even more difficult and deep. There was nothing for it but to return to the ford and re-think about altering my walk. Just downstream was a narrow point. This was my only option so I threw my ruck sack to the far bank and was now committed to jumping across. I took a long run and managed the jump with half a metre to spare. Up the bank I found the cup marked rock but by now it had started raining. I headed across open ground to another cup marked rock then across Hartleyburn Common to the cup marked rock Iíd found on last weekís walk.
Second Cup marked rock

Third Cup marked rock

Third Cup marked rock
I headed east across open ground to the farmstead of Ash Cleugh. The original building is in ruins but has been stabilised by capping the wall tops with mortar. It is grade 2 listed.
The unsurfaced farm track took me to the road and on to complex of buildings at Kellah.

Ash Cleugh probably a former Bastle
(a form of fortified farmhouse)
A public footpath goes between the buildings but there wasnít a single marker or sign. I found my way through to a very wet field where I followed the field boundary to the next road and a very small war memorial near Maidenway House. The House gets its name from the Maiden Way Roman road that runs south-north.
Pennine Way crossing the road


The British Listed Buildings website details it as:
World War 1 memorial to James Hope Wallace, killed in action 1917. Sandstone.
Tall octagonal-plan cross with moulded base, shaft ring and statuette of the
Crucified Christ under a gabled hood. Cross stands on an octagonal-plan
pedestal inscribed:
Across very wet fields I came to the building of Horse Close. The house didnít look occupied though there were curtains up and an interesting garden with manicured hedges round it.
Horse Close and hedges
I then reached a wooded and very steep descent to the bank of River South Tyne. The map showed a footbridge but I didnít know if it would still be in-tact.
The footbridge was in-tact
It turned out it was and the central section had been recently replaced with substantial steel sections. The central pier was of stone and the far bank buttress had been overrun by the high river but was still OK, though there was a lot of bank erosion upstream. On the road I could see Featherstone Castle which is a grade 1 listed building and parts dating back to the 13th century.
It is a private building.

East end of the bridge

Featherstone Castle old entrance

Featherstone Castle

Featherstone Castle by William Miller

Site of the former Featherstone Park station

Featherstone Park station when in use
Up the steep road I returned to the car park where I started. 
Featherstone Bridge and steep approach.
Constructed in 1775