Rothbury Railway - Rothbury Walking Festival
Tue 21st June 2011
Sundance has lost it, no matter how hard he soft shoe shuffles he does not seem able to get the dry weather on his walks. By the time we had a waterproofed up it was virtually time to take them off again but and a big BUT it did rain during the walk.
By 10am every one was at TIC and Mike started to do his introduction when the church bells started a peel or two or even more and fortunately drowned him out. So we set off on slight diversion to look at Haw Hill Cemetery and Lord Armstrong’s grave as well as admiring the Coquet Anglers head stone.
We then took the steps down to the river side path and walked along to the new bailey bridge and crossed the river and walked up to the industrial estate, which was on the site of the former Rothbury railway station. By now we were far enough away from the church bells for Mike to get into his full whitter stride as he talked about the history of the branch line and the layout of the station.
We now started to follow the path of the railway line (and St. Oswald’s Way), it first took us through a cutting in solid sandstone some twenty to thirty feet high. The cutting gave way to open fields, after Wagtail farm the line is cut into the side of the hill.
This section of the track is heavily wooded with little in the way of views. After a kilometre or so you leave the steep sided hillside and the way opens up, with a clear view of the eastern side of the Cragside estate with Longframlington moor beyond.
The track was now starting to swing round the end of the last little hill in the Simonside Ridge to Brinkburn Station.
Mike again started to whitter about rocks and how the Shilbottle coal seam was mined and the fact there was an aerial ropeway from one mine which was on the north side of the River Coquet to Brinkburn Station which was roughly 1.5miles long. He also mentioned the reason for the large number of Pill Boxes in the area.
The walk now left the railway line and we continued to follow St Oswald’s way through some fields and down to the river at Pauperhaugh Bridge where we had lunch.
During lunch Mike once more started to whitter about an iron works that stood near Priors Gate and how a house at Bushy Gap had once been used to hold smuggled goods.
As we left the bridge we followed a minor road towards East Row. It started to rain but after only a short while it eased off and we were able to remove waterproof jackets. From east Raw we walked to West Raw crossing our outward route to follow St Oswald’s Way.
This eventually lead us back to the railway line which then took us back to Rothbury the way we had come.