For our final walk of the year, there was a full complement of Footloose, and we returned to that area of Northumberland we had walked the previous week, but this time beginning our ramble at Hallington, some little distance from the old Roman Dere Street.
We parked in the centre of the village and tried, unsuccessfully, to negotiate the footpath out to the west. It appeared that a local resident was not too keen on allowing walkers through his/her property, so we walked some way south, out of the village, and picked up another path by the side of Hallington Burn. This appeared well used (certainly by a horse), but when we reached the spot where we were supposed to cross the Burn, there was no bridge !
Backtracking towards the village, we espied a small footbridge (on the original path we surmised) and struggled over a fence to access it. Once across, we had to ascend, awkwardly as it turned out, a very steep wooded slope to a gate, to attain the path towards Whiteside Law. We turned left before the farm steading, then right to follow a more or less direct line to Liddell Hall, through a series of grass and arable fields. Liddell Hall had some interesting blocked off windows – where is John Grundy when you need him ?
From the Hall, we followed a good farm track towards Colwell, crossed over the B6342 and through to the village proper – lovely stone built houses set atop a gentle south facing slope. There had been a lot of rain recently, and a heron was taking advantage of a flooded field to find some waterlogged worms. We left the road near the outskirts of the village and cut off right, opposite a farm, up a track and into more fields. The route zigzagged a little as we made our way towards some woodland which screened the main A68 road. We decided this was a suitable place to stop for lunch, and found some useful rocky outcrops as seats.
This place was close to some ancient settlements, according to the map, but the ghosts of the former inhabitants left us in peace to enjoy our sandwiches.
After lunch, we joined the road as it headed eastwards to Swinburne Quarry, and even after the quarry entrance, the track remained firm and level. It emerged back onto the B6342 over a cattle grid, but our path left the road soon afterwards, opposite the entrance to Fell House. We had some good views to the north, with the church at Thockrington very prominent on the skyline. Proceeding north westerly, alongside a stone wall, we came out onto Carrier’s Lane, which joins Little Swinburne Farm and Cheviot Farm. This lane crossed the B road and struck out straight towards Hallington Reservoir. Another conspicuous feature we could see on the horizon was the Dovecot, and an internet search revealed it is a grade II listed building http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-238579-the-dovecote-capheaton-#.Voaf8v8rGos.
Carrier’s Lane continued eastwards and led us to the pathway cutting across the northern end of Hallington East reservoir, from where we climbed past Cheviot Farm to join with the metalled road. We turned right here, past the tree topped mound of an ancient tumulus and the impressive gates of Hallington Hall, to reach the village and the end of our walk.
It was a lovely finish to a very enjoyable walk, to round off the year, especially when some of our spouses joined us for coffee and cake !