The day of our second walk along St. Oswald’s Way dawned bright and clear, though a stiff breeze from the north west promised to keep the temperature hovering around 4⁰C. We drove to Great Bavington and spent a pleasant hour looking at and learning about (from Nicola – thank you) the oldest Presbyterian chapel in Northumberland that is still regularly used for worship. A real gem – a simple building but well maintained, and the coffee was very welcome.
Eventually we took one car down to Great Whittington to begin our walk. Heading east out of the village, we followed a metalled road out into the countryside, turning northwards, for a couple of miles. The hedgerows and fields were showing little signs of spring, although there was the occasional robin trilling its song in the roadside bushes. We were climbing steadily as we passed “Click’em in” Farm (I cannot find a convincing explanation of the meaning via t’internet), and, as we turned off left down a track, we emerged onto a gently rising plateau of rough pasture. We had super views from this spot, a wide panorama through 180⁰ of the rolling Northumberland countryside, with the spire of Holy Trinity church over to the east and Bingfield to the west. It is easy to see from where Lancelot Brown got his inspiration.
The cold wind continued to blow as we dropped steadily to the Erring Burn, but we chanced upon a sheltered spot in the lee of a small copse, and decided to have our lunch stop there. The sun shone, we had a smashing view and the ground was comfy – and the mewing that we heard suggested the presence of buzzards; … and so it proved. We marvelled at the soaring and gliding display that two birds put on high above us as we ate our sandwiches.
Moving on, we walked gradually downhill to join the minor road near Bingfield and then followed it due north towards Hallington, stopping briefly to inspect the war memorial at the road junction. We paused for a short period of remembrance of the names listed there – http://www.newmp.org.uk/detail.php?contentId=7568#listlink On again, we passed through Hallington, and then continued to walk due north towards Little Bavington. We did not turn off down Carrier’s Lane (the route of a previous walk : no. 66 on Dec. 9th 2015) but maintained a northerly direction, climbing steadily towards Bavington Mount farm and the hamlet of Little Bavington. We had good views over to our left, where the Dovecot stands conspicuously on the skyline. Was it really a dovecot, or maybe a pele tower, or merely a folly ?
Thankfully, we did not have very far to walk along the busy B6342, so after inspecting the battleship grey transformer by the roadside, we turned off towards Clay Walls farm steading. The noise from the nearby quarry assaulted our ears as we crossed the fields (we spotted another horse gallop nearby) and we had a quick chat with some guys doing some stone walling, after admiring a fine looking bull in an adjoining paddock.
The farmer was using reject potatoes to supplement the winter feed for his housed cattle, though we suspected that the horses in the nearby fields had better provisions. We stopped for a while to watch the hunt across the valley, before completing our walk, back at Great Bavington chapel, the donkeys and another coffee. So ended a lovely walk, cold but sunny for most of the day; a real pleasure to be walking in an unspoilt area of rural Northumberland.