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Mon 15th April 2019

Blanchland Moor 2019

Blanchland Moor 2019

It was a sunny and bright morning as the 20 walkers for today (plus 3 well behaved dogs) met in the delightful medieval village of Blanchland. Mark introduced himself and gave a brief description of the nature of the walk.

Our route initially followed the river to the tiny hamlet of Baybridge and then a gentle climb through farmland  on to Bulbeck Common where we joined the old “pack horse trail”. Mark gave a brief history of Blanchland and the monastery and pointed out a “hush” (from early lead mining activity). Despite the bright weather there was still a chill breeze and a coffee break in a shooting lodge was welcomed by all.

The well defined path traversed the open moors and lovely views of Hexham Race Course and in the far distance Simonside and the Cheviots were enjoyed. Our lunch stop was in Slaley forest where there was shelter from the cold wind. As we began to head back over Blanchland moor the sun came out, the temperature rose giving glorious views of the Derwent reservoir and the surrounding moors.

We stopped at the impressive Shildon Engine House – another relic from the region’s lead mining industrial past – and Mark talked about a miner’s hard and perilous life in the 18th and 19th centuries. As we were almost back to our starting point, Mark thanked everyone and wished them a safe journey home. 

Mark

Tue 2nd April 2019

Nordic Walking - Rothbury - April 2019

Nordic Walking - Rothbury - April 2019

On Saturday we had our first Nordic Walking Training course of 2019. This fully booked course took place in Rothbury, Northumberland.

At the start, Jane did a quick Facebook live and below is a copy of this.

If you want to join us on a Nordic Walk please do, you can see all the Nordic walk dates online here

Tue 26th March 2019

Red Kite Trail

Red Kite Trail

Our group of walkers for the day assembled at the new Oak and Iron Heritage centre at Winlaton Mill on a lovely sunny and clear morning albeit with a brisk breeze. Mark introduced himself and Jackie and welcomed everyone to Shepherds Walks and outlined the day’s walk.

Mark took us up Kite Hill from where a wonderful panoramic view of the Derwent Valley was enjoyed with the Nine Arches bridge, the Gibside Estate and the ruin of Hollinside Mannor were prominent. We then joined the disused Derwent railway and made our way through Rowlands Gill to Lintzford – on this stretch we saw our first (of several) red kites and the remains of Friarside Chapel, an old medieval plague hospital.

After leaving the railway our route took us into and through the wonderful Chopwell Woods to High Spen. Whilst several sightings of kites in the distance had been seen, it was at this point on the walk that above an open field one of these majestic birds flew and circled right above our group for a few minutes. Our trail then took us through more woods and open fields to Thornley and then back to our starting point at the heritage centre.

At various points on the walk we rested while Mark talked about a number of topics – the Northern Red Kites programme, the industrial history of the valley incorporating Ambrose Crowley’s ironworks of the early 1700’s, the Derwenthaugh coke works, and the Derwent railway.

Everyone enjoyed this 11mile trail and some of us were rewarded with a welcome hot drink in the café at the centre!

Mark