The start of the Ponteland walk was changed to the Methodist Church. This was courtesy of Geoff and Angela. They had arranged for us to enjoy tea and coffee there, after the walk. Geoff was also our guest walk leader for the day, as he had planned the walk.
The old railway path
The walk starts by walking along the old railway path. It’s a typical railway walk here and a joy to walk along. We followed this path up past the old ICI site, which is barely visible now, but used to be an explosives storage depot. This path then leads to the gate by the roundabout outside the entrance to the airport. A place that everyone has seen but nobody investigates. This is the entrance to what used to be Prestwick Pit, which has been largely restored back to grassland.
A track leads from the old pit site alongside the A696. This path rises up into a field and passes the outer reaches of the runway lights. We stopped here for Geoff to explain how the airport operated (He used to work with Dan Air and then became an air traffic controller). As a bonus Geoff arranged for the Emirates flight from Dubai to come in as we stood there. This is a Boeing 777 and is one of the biggest aircraft operating from Newcastle.
The Ouse Burn
Continuing on, we turned a sharp right at a small stream. This small stream is a tributary of the Ouse Burn, the same one that emerges into the River Tyne about a mile East of Newcastle City centre. We return to the Ouse Burn proper later.
There are no footpaths connecting to the second half of the walk, so the only option is to divert into Woolsington village. From here we crossed the Metro line, on a track called Black Lane, and then crossed the A696 again, followed by a sharp right. We then followed the footpath by the road, up to the Ouse Burn.
We followed a lovely track down to Callerton, where we enjoyed lunch at a conveniently placed picnic table.
Continuing on, we followed the road up to Black Callerton, where we took the path through West Farm. This section is over grassy fields, so very different again from the disused railway and farm tracks we had been on. The route took us under the Western approach to Newcastle Airport, so we saw plenty more planes coming in for landing.
The return leg
The final section of the walk took us from High Callerton, behind the old opencast workings and back to the disused railway. We retraced our steps back to Ponteland.
On our return to Ponteland Methodist Church, we found that Angela had kindly set out tea, with scones and cakes. She had even made the Victoria Sponge. Martin made brownies and Chris brought fruit cake. We were all very grateful and very much enjoyed refreshments after the walk.
Another lovely walk. See you on the next one.
Julie and Martin