Three of the group journeyed once more to Kirkwhelpington to begin the second of the Wansbeck Walks. Whilst gearing up, a taxi disgorged an American girl who was doing St. Oswald’s Way north to south, and we enjoyed a few minutes chatting about things before both parties set off.
This stretch was to be almost a repeat of a previous ‘church walk’ but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm, and we set off out of the village and headed north into cultivated fields. A slight alteration in direction took us back to the correct heading, and we followed the course of Howden Sike past St. George’s Well towards the farm of Fawns. From here the path led us south west over Comb Hill and then down to Broomhouse Farm.
We passed through the small gate in the wall, crossed in front of the house, and then headed out eastwards towards Cambo. There had been much money spent around here recently, evidenced by lots of new fencing, gates and surfaced tracks. The National Trust are really trying to attract more people with these improvements. I loved the evidence of the old field boundaries, piled stones and a line of ancient hardwoods.
We exited the field via a stone stile, avoided any cycles on the newly created track, before crossing into Cambo village, our coffee stop, and then made a visit to Holy Trinity church, with its unusual apse and wonderfully decorated altar frontal.
Leaving the village in front of a row of cottages with a super view of the church to the north, we walked due west across a couple of grass fields towards Saugh House, and the memorial to John Wesley, who preached form that spot on June 17th 1782, his 79th birthday. Turning south here, we made our way to Prior Hall and eventually to the back entrance to Wallington Hall, behind the conservatory. A couple of young mums had nabbed the bench inside the glasshouse to eat their lunch, so we wound our way to the head of the garden and sat down on a bench overlooking the bicycle pond.
The drizzle was not very pleasant as we ate our sandwiches, but we did have an interesting conversation with a gentleman about the time taken to prepare and then eat food ! A little damp, we moved on to the courtyard and then, via the car park, on to the Broomhouse Farm Walk route, alongside, and then through mixed woodland. Crossing the minor road, we made our way back to Broomhouse Farm, but instead of retracing our outward route, we took the path heading due west.
Passing the time of day with a group of heifers, and the occasional sheep, we quickly made the minor road back into Kirkwhelpington and the car. The afternoon being not too far gone, we popped into the Kirkharle cafe for coffee and cake. A lovely end to an interesting walk.