Walk – Rothbury 2

Circular – The Carriage Drive

Total Distance 7 miles.
Time 3 – 3½  hours.
Difficulty: 2-3 Challenging
(1: easy, 4: difficult)

  A medium length reasonably challenging walk.

Start: Rothbury, Cowhaugh Car Park on the riverside.

(The Cowhaugh Car Park is occasionally prone to flooding in very wet weather, so only park here if the weather is reasonably settled.)

Leave Cowhaugh Car Park, heading north via the footbridge over the river, walk up the alley directly opposite the footbridge towards the High Street. When you emerge onto the High Street you will see the CoOp store opposite.

Cross towards the CoOp and go up the alley to the right of the CoOp, at the top of the alley turn left and then immediately right, follow the steep lane onto a narrow path up to Hillside Road. When you emerge onto Hillside Road take the steep lane opposite and walk up the lane which is called Blaeberry Hill.

Blaeberries are also known as billberries or whortleberries, (in America, blueberries) they thrive on the heathland around Rothbury.

Continue up Blaeberry Hill until you reach the left hand bend, here you will see a narrow rough path on your right leading up onto the hills. Take this path and follow it until you reach the top of the hill and a gravel cart track.

This is the old carriage drive which was made on the directions of Lord Armstrong for pleasure carriage rides for himself and visitors to the Cragside Estate. (Cragside now belongs to the National Trust, but the Carriage drive and surrounding land belong to the Armstrong Estate (owners of Bamburgh castle)

You will see a gate on your right, ignore the gate and take the track on your left away from the gate in a westerly direction.

Follow the track west, stay on the main Carriage drive and ignore any other tracks that may lead up to or away from the Carriage drive. The path begins to curve to the left and the crag and high point on your right is called Ship Crag.

As you walk below the summit of Ship Crag the path begins to curve to the right. On the south side of the dale to your left standing majestically above Rothbury is Simonside flanked by Ravensheugh to the right and Dove Crag to the left.

Continuing around the curve in the track you will see the Cheviot Hills in front of you in the far distance, the long hill is Cheviot, to it’s right is Hedgehope. The red scar in the side of the hill is the Biddlestone Quarry where red felsite stone is quarried. The stone is used for roads, and driveways including the forecourt in front of Cragside.

As you continue along the carriageway you will see over to your left the remains of Cartington Castle.

Cartington Castle once gave lodging to Margaret Queen of Scotland and her infant daughter who was to become the mother of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots. The Castle was besieged in 1648 by Parliamentarian forces and was badly damaged in the affray, the Castle fell into decay and was later abandoned.

All of Coquetdale is open to you on you left as you walk along the carriageway.

Dale is the northern (and old Viking) word for valley, and is used in several places in Northumberland – Allendale, Coquetdale, Glendale, and Tynedale, and across the Border marches in Scotland – Teviotdale, Liddersdale etc

The Trig point on your right is 249 metres. A few hundred metres past the trig point you will see a sheepfold or stell on your right hand side this is an ancient enclosure for the shelter of sheep.

Continue along the path for about 2 miles until you come to three gates. Go through the first gate onto a new track, this is an ancient byway leading between Snitter and the Alnwick road.

Ignore the gate to you left, and go straight ahead through the opposite gate.

The path leads you down the north east side of the woods with views over to Debdon Farm on your left. Eventually the path leads out at Primrose Cottage, a former lodge of the Cragside estate.

Turn right at Primrose Cottage through the gate which crosses the byway, and walk for about 1/4 of a mile until you come to the end of the deer fence on your left which is protecting the young trees.
Turn left along the next path and follow the deer fence, after a few hundred yards you will see a style and gate on your left, cross the style onto open moorland. You will see an obvious path through the heather going diagonally south uphill.

Follow the path to the top of the hill and you will come to the start of your walk on the carriage drive with a gate on your left.

Go through the gate and follow the obvious cart track for about 1¼ mile, you will emerge into a clearing with a wide gate in front of you (private) and a kissing gate on your right, you will see Addycombe Farm on your right, and Rothbury below you.

Go through the gate and follow the grass path diagonally down hill towards Rothbury, with the farm to your left. Cross the style at the bottom and emerge onto a cart track, turn right here and after 200 – 300yds, you will come to a tarmac road.

A short distance along the road you will come to some narrow strip fields on your left, a footpath is signposted Rothbury, take this path which will lead you down to the town centre.

When you reach the Queens Head Hotel turn right here it will lead you back to the village greens, cross over to the United Reform Church on the opposite side of the road, and take the narrow lane back to the car park.

Note! Whilst most of this walk is on decent hard paths a short part of this walk is over boggy peat (about ¼ of a mile after Primrose Cottage) so waterproof boots and gaiters are reccommended

Alnwick Walks and Rothbury & Coquetdale Walks
are the copyright of
B. Hewison @ www.westacrehouse.co.uk, Alnwick. Tel. 01665 510374

Disclaimer: Some of these walks are on the Public Highway, although the route chosen is usually very quiet, please remember that vehicles may legally travel along open country roads at speeds in excess of 30 mph. If possible, please walk along the right side of the highway or the verge if appropriate. Please stay on the right hand side, facing the traffic. This walk has been provided in good faith and the author can accept no liability for any accidents which may occur.

Walking Northumberland Links:
Shepherds Walks
Enjoy photos of the area by Graeme Peacock

If you have a favourite walk in Northumberland, particularly in Alnwick District and you would like to share it with others send us an email to West Acre House and we could include it on these pages with a credit to you.
Reproduction of the information contained herein is usually permitted with permission of the owner.