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shepherd's calendar

June 2021

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Drover roads of Coquetdale

  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Your Guide:
  • Maximum number of places per day: 15
  • Price Per Person: £10.00

walk notes

This walk is part of the Rothbury and Coquetdale Walking Festival.

Drovers (those droving or driving livestock) accompanied their livestock either on foot or on horseback, travelling substantial distances. Droving declined during the nineteenth century, through a combination of agricultural change, the introduction of railway transport from the 1840s, cattle disease, and more intensive use of the countryside through which the stock had passed for hundreds of years.

An initial gentle climb up to the summit of Hogdon Law (548m) usually guarantees a clear view of the drove road and the terrain it passes through. On its own this summit is one of the best value-for-effort climbs in the National Park. Onwards over undulating ground towards Cushat Law (615m) via Black Butt and Sting Head with the edge of Kidland Forest to your left (west) and the Salterís Road in the valley below to the northeast.

Soon after Cushat Lawís summit the route turns downhill following a substantial spur over Bush Knowe to intercept the drove road. This now heads southeast skirting Little Dod and descending to the ford over the Shank Burn.

There follows a short sharp ascent up to, and through, the horseshoe-shaped plantation that provides a windbreak around the isolated farm of Ewartly Shank. A final kilometre beyond the farm following the Salterís Road before turning gently downhill past the Shepherdís Memorial cairn back to the starting point which you wonít see until the last moment.

The true history and harsh realities of these hard men droving cattle and sheep will be explored.

Please note no dogs are allowed on this walk.