Walk: Bellingham and Hareshaw Linn
Walk leaders: Martin / Ruth
Weather: Sunny and hot
Distance of walk: 8.5 miles
Taking advantage again of the unbelievably good weather we are having, we arrived at Hareshaw Linn car park, ready for the day’s walking around Bellingham and Hareshaw Linn. The group was mostly familiar faces but with three additions, Daniel and Annabel, the children of one of our regulars and Andy. Andy was a new customer and had seen our walk advertised in the local newspaper. He was welcomed into the group immediately. Once we were all ready we did a short warm up and then set off.
Carriages Tea Room
Walking down to the start of the walk proper, we passed the venue for later. This was the Carriages Tea Room, where we would end up for tea, coffee, chocolate, pop, sandwiches, scones, cake and ice-cream, among other things.
The start proper
Passing the tea room we reached the road that led to a gate in a field. From here we followed the path across the field and up to a stone style in the wall, passing many sheep and lambs on the way. This path ran alongside the old railway trackbed of the Bellingham to Redesmouth stretch of the Border Counties Railway. This railway closed in 1963 and remains disused.
We crossed the wall and followed the path across more fields of sheep. Here we saw a pair of skylarks flying close to the ground. These are quite a distinctive bird, brown with flashes of white. Obviously we were close to a nest, so we took care as we walked. We continued down to a gate onto a bridleway. This bridleway took us down to the Redesmouth Road and under one of the old railway bridges.
The North Tyne
After a short stretch of road we entered another field through a gate and followed the path down to the river. This river is the North Tyne and is one of the most beautiful parts of the walk. However, we had to negotiate some cattle with young and a more than interested bull before we could enjoy it. With the cattle successfully avoided and everyone safe, we could relax.
The walk back to Bellingham was easy from here on, so we could enjoy the flora and fauna around the river. There were beautiful colours from the pink, blue and white flowers, ducks on the water and salmon jumping. It was difficult to believe that we were only about half a mile from Belingham.
A little way along the river there was an area that looked perfect for lunch, so we stopped there. There was shade under a tree, for those avoiding the sun, and the bank of the river for the rest.
When lunch break was over we walked the last stretch back to the car park. This wasn’t the end of the walk yet though. Some of us dumped our rucksacks and poles in cars. Some exchanged them for photographic gear, anticipating what was to come.
Hareshaw Linn was originally a very industrial site and we passed the remains of an old dam, used for the extensive ironworks up until the mid 19th century. The area was discovered later by the Victorians, who created the winding path up the gorge.
It’s a mile and a half up to the Linn and it’s not as easy as you might think. However, it is worth it, especially if photography is your interest. Paul and Daniel. especially. were reveling in the photo opportunities, spending a great deal of time looking for just the right shot.
Further up the gorge, we crossed the first of the six bridges on the route to the Linn. It’s even marked as the first bridge, just so that you know. Every one of the others has a number too.
After ups, downs, lefts, rights, bridges, waterfalls and countless photographs, we reached the Linn.
We spent a very enjoyable half hour at the Linn before heading back down the same route. Everyone agreed that Belingham and Hareshaw Linn are places that they will return to.
Return to Carriages Tea Room
On returning to the cars we stretched and those with sore feet took the car to the tea room, even though it was only around the corner. The rest walked.
Unexpectedly, there were plenty of tables available outside. Maybe everyone had stayed in for the Royal wedding. Anyway we refueled and chatted over teas and coffees, having enjoyed a great day of walking in a spectacular area of Northumberland.
Thanks to Ruth for her assistance and hope to see you all again soon.
Julie and Martin