We were wondering whether or not the Morpeth to Bothal walk would go ahead. It had been a very wet night and some were doubtful about the weather conditions for the walk. However, the Met Office forecast said that the rain would ease. So, it was on.
Immediately, the effects of the overnight rain were obvious, as the normal start of the walk was now in a puddle about a foot deep. We’d have to find a different route to get us onto the main path. We walked up the road to the entrance of the Wansbeck Valley. This wasn’t great for Nordic Walking but we managed.
Once on the path proper, things started improving. The weather was improving and we had shelter whilst under the trees anyway. Soon the sound of the road had disappeared and all we could hear was birdsong, the sound of the river, and the chatting of the walkers of course.
As we followed the path we saw many birds, including nuthatch, wren, greater spotted woodpecker and a solitary heron gliding gliding above the river. Considering that we were still less than a mile from Morpeth Town Centre, it was amazing how many birds were here.
The path eventually leads to Bothal Mill, next to the road bridge. The remnants of the weir are visible in the river here. The mill buildings have seen better days too.
The best way to get into Bothal village is to walk up the road. It’s only a short distance and provides a great view of Bothal Castle on the way. In 1343, Sir Robert Bertram built this castle around his manor house . The castle is currently in use as a private residence by the Cavendish-Bentinck family.
From Bothal, we took the lovely grassy path down to the stepping stones. These are relatively modern and allow walkers to cross the river safely. Alongside the stepping stones is a privately owned suspension footbridge. This was originally to allow the rector to cross the river from the rectory on the South bank of the river to the 13th century Church in Bothal village. It looks very rickety and no one fancied walking across it.
On the way back through Bothal, we stopped at the Church, for some lunch. It was dry and there were seats in the church doorway.
Time to head back. The call of the tea shop was clearly being heard and it didn’t take too long to get back to the start. A quick cool down and off we went to Cafe des Amis, in Morpeth, for refreshments.
Thank you all for coming along.
Julie and Martin x
If you liked our Morpeth and Bothal walk why not take a look at our other walks.
Strolls with poles – Nordic Walking for Fun and Fitness