31. The Alwinton Round
Meeting Point: Gallow Lane Car Park, Alwinton, Morpeth, NE65 7BQ
The stage starts and ends in Alwinton, a small but historically rich village at the head of the beautiful Coquet valley. We begin by walking a loop that takes us through the village to Barrow Burn Wood, the site of a small Roman Settlement, and then through West Wood to Harbottle Lake.
A short diversion takes us to see the Drake Stone. Of legendary status due to its supposed supernatural healing powers, this was a druid meeting place in times gone by. Re-energised, we skirt the fringes of Geordy’s Nick before leaving the path to explore the ruins of Harbottle Castle, built c.1160 at the request of King Henry II and which withstood numerous sieges including an incursion led by Robert the Bruce.
After a lunch break in Harbottle village, we venture into the forest to Dove Crag and the nearby falls before picking up the old Roman road that leads us to Rob Roy’s Cave, and then on to the small village of Holystone. We pay a visit to Lady’s Well where we find a cross and a statue of St Paulinus, who was instrumental in converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity in the 7th century.
Finally, we pick our way through gentle countryside, crossing the River Coquet and arriving back at Alwinton, where our adventure ends.
Distance: 20.7 km (12.86 miles)
Difficulty Rating: ★★★★☆