87. Newburn to Wylam and return – 10th May 2017

With just a couple of us to walk, a gentle stroll along the Tyne and back seemed to be the order of the day. So it was that the Footloose Two drove to Newburn Riverside Park to start their stroll westward. We parked up close to the memorial stone erected to commemorate the Battle of Newburn Ford in 1640 https://community2.newcastle.gov.uk/bofn.nsf/a/history and http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/resource-centre/civil-war/battleview.asp?BattleFieldId=29  skirted the slipway and headed off past the children’s playground to follow a very good path alongside the river. Where the path took a right towards Blayney Row cottages, we followed the Hadrian’s Wall Path due west, passing the tide stone http://www.bridgesonthetyne.co.uk/tide.html nestling in the bankside undergrowth.

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The path hugged the river for many hundreds of yards along this stretch, with several arable fields bordering it to the north. We spent several minutes watching sand martins prospecting for nest sites where the bank had fallen away, revealing a vertical wall of exposed soil, obviously des res for these lovely birds.

We joined the former waggonway, http://heddonhistory.weebly.com/waggonway–railway.html where the going underfoot was much easier, as it bordered the Close House golf course, until we came upon the cottage which was the birthplace of George Stepehnson. https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Stephenson Here we stopped for a cup of coffee before continuing along the old waggonway for a little while, before cutting down to the river path again. This was fine until we arrived at the Wylam end, where we had to negotiate a quite uneven stretch of the path. We safely emerged onto the metalled road beside the fine row of terraced properties (Stephenson Terrace) before turning left to cross the road bridge over the Tyne.

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Rather than wait for the level crossing barrier to lift for us, we crossed the Tyne Valley rail line by the fine bridge to the east; … and then it was time for a beer in The Boathouse pub across the road. A Free House, CAMRA member and lots of real ales from cask – a treat to savour.

Having satisfied the inner man, we eventually found the footpath at the end of the station platform and took the track eastwards as it made its way between the river and the railway line. A little later, the path left the railway to more closely track the river, and, where Ryton golf course came into view, we sat on a grassy bank to have our sandwiches.

The riverside path continued to skirt both the river and golf course until we reached the area known as Doctor’s Stanners (Following dredging of the river bed and strengthening of the river banks, at low tide, large areas of shingle are exposed. These were known in Geordie dialect as ‘stanners’. The name still lives on in the place name Doctor’s Stanners on the south side, now occupied by the grassland of Ryton golf course) where an underground fire still burns, necessitating a diversion.

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We continued to follow the path, past the Ferry House, Ryton Willows nature reserve, and finally crossed back over the river via Newburn Bridge – the end of another interesting Footloose walk.

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About gardeningdave

Retired - living in Northumberland - walk, usually every two weeks, with a group of three or four friends in the wider Northumbria.
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