Three of our group took the short journey north to Mitford, near Morpeth, and parked near the Agricultural Cottages to the west of the horsey hamlet of Pigdon. The first part of our walk followed the minor road past Maidens Hall and Stantonfence, towards the small settlement around Stanton Hall. At the T-junction, we turned left and then, when the road continued right, dropped down to the river along a good track.
There was a footbridge over the Font, but the river level was low enough for us to use the ford, with its interesting method of anchoring the concrete trackway to the bank. The farm buildings of Wood House provided a suitable spot to sit down for a coffee break, and then we followed the farm track as it arrowed almost due south, bounded by arable fields at first and woodland towards its end.
We zigged and zagged for several hundred yards along the edge of some large fields full of sheep, before turning back south towards Nunriding Hall. What a super house it appreared to be from the gateway, and for sale too !
Out here in the countryside, with the weather being as clement as it could be for mid February, we could hear skylarks singing high above us; and there were little birds flitting about in the hedgerows as we passed. The early songsters were trying out their fresh notes too – blackbirds, song thrush, and the robin, of course. A lovely spot to have lunch too !
We rounded the farm buildings and then tracked a field edge as far as the belt of woodland that bordered the river. Turning south here, the path along the field boundary led us to Quarry House, where we climbed up a steep bank past a small array of solar panels in the field, before emerging, briefly, onto a minor road. After only a few yards though, we turned off through more woodland, to pass along the edge of another field, heading for Newton Mill.
A little further on, we dived into the woodland once more, before emerging into a paddock adjoining the house. We were headed up the slope before the house owner kindly directed us to the correct path adjacent to his garden boundary. From here we took the track back over the river (crossing on the footbridge on this occasion, rather than the ford) and then through the steading of Newton Park. We walked through more fields, skirted a wood, crossed Harry’s Burn and then climbed steadily towards the hamlet of Pigdon, admiring the impressive houses and gardens on the edge of the village, as we turned back along the road to the car. With spring just around the corner, we had enjoyed another lovely day in beautiful countryside and good company; … and a new river to follow !