Two of our intrepid Footloose band set out on a rather damp morning and drove the few miles north west along the A696 to Kirkwhelpington. We parked up near the Post Office and walked the few yards to the 13th century St. Bartholomew’s Church, with its lovely carved west arch above the entrance to the tower, and the 15th century porch and door with its fine filleting and nail head ornamentation. Pity about the window on the eastern wall of the chancel – how anyone got away with putting in such an inappropriate style is a mystery !
Leaving the church behind, we made our way out of the village over the Whiteridge Sike via a footbridge, and followed the northerly path towards the farms of Whitehill. We joined the Knowesgate – Cambo road for a little while, before cutting across a grass field, alongside the West Plantation and through the Fawns farmyard. Apparently there are many archeological remains in this area, but we did not pass close to any that we recognised as ‘manorial earthworks’ or ‘tumuli’. We eventually arrived at Broom House and passed through the door in the garden wall, following the right of way as it headed east onto the farm road. Taking the left hand fork, we traversed diagonally across a field to the northern fringe of a woodland shelterbelt, and on through arable fields towards Cambo, thankfully missing the heavy showers that we could see around us.
We approached the village along a field edge, crossed over the road and entered the picturesque collection of stone houses. Holy Trinity Church stands proudly on a slight rise at the north eastern corner of the hamlet – it was glowing in the late summer sunlight as we walked into the graveyard, and made our way into the interior ….. and what a delight greeted our eyes. Wonderfully warm tones in the woodwork, and a light, airy feel helped by the tall, arched windows, stretching right through the chancel to the semi-circular apse at the eastern end.
Having satisfied the inner man, we left Cambo eastwards towards Saugh House, where we stumbled upon a fascinating monument – a stone erected to commemorate a preaching occasion by John Wesley in 1782 on his 79th birthday. Another reminder of God’s presence with us on this beautiful day !
Heading south now, through grass fields towards Prior Hall, and thence to Wallington Hall, where we entered the walled garden, admiring the neat and tended borders in direct contrast to the untamed wilds we had traversed earlier.
A stop for coffee in the National Trust cafe enabled us to avoid a very heavy shower of rain, which thankfully cleared quickly, and we were soon back on the route westwards, back to Broom House. This time we followed the path south west through stock paddocks, before eventually joining the road back into Cambo village, and the completion of our circular route.
Having thankfully missed the heavy showers that punctuated the day, we returned to the car for our journey home, happy in the fresh air, exercise and company that we had enjoyed.