THE ALTERNATIVE HEDGEHOPE HILL CIRCUIT

 

Majestic Hedgehope Hill is the second highest of the Cheviot Hills. From the end of the public road, deep in the Harthope Valley, the charms of this hill are plain to see. It rises steeply behind Housey and Long Crags and looks directly across the valley towards the Cheviot, Northumberland`s highest hill. The Breamish Valley lies to the south and is perhaps the area`s favourite valley. From here the crag scattered Dunmoor Hill obscures the views northwards towards Hedgehope Hill. This walk starts in the Breamish Valley and heads towards the summit of Hedgehope Hill via Cunyan Crags and Dunmoor Hill. You will skirt the expansive Threestoneburn Wood as you enjoy extensive views in all directions. This is a walk on the quiet side. Listen to the sound of silence.

 

 

Hedgehope Hill

 

Hedgehope Hill seen from the Harthope Valley

 

 

The Walk

 

1. Less than a mile north of the village of Powburn lies the entrance to the Breamish Valley, better known to locals as the Ingram Valley. The 4 mile drive from the A697 offers superb views of the  Cheviot Hills and by the time you reach Peggy Bell`s Bridge your walking appetite will be well and truly whetted. There is roadside parking on the other side of the bridge, in the shadow of Ingram Glidders (NT 996166). The word `glidders` means `scree slope` and it is hard to believe that each year the long established Ingram Fell Race climbs this 60 degree slope to the top of Brough Law. Lung bursting stuff indeed! Follow the road as it climbs away from the valley with Knock Hill and Hunt Law to your right. On reaching the farm of Greensidehill, take the bridleway signposted  `The Dod and Ilderton Moor` and once through the small field next to the farm continue in a north westerly direction, with the Willow Burn below you to your right. When the bridleway splits in two (NT 980168), take the left hand fork and, in turn, when the Linhope to Ilderton Moor bridleway is reached (NT 977174), turn right with the prominent Cunyan Crags away to your left. After little more the half a mile of easy walking along this delightful green track the route bends away to the left, as it climbs towards the corner of the Threestoneburn Wood.

 

 

Brough Law

 

Brough Law

 

2. Once the edge of the wood, which is now, as at 2017, being extensively harvested, is reached (NT 984181) you must now begin your climb towards and through the impressive Cunyan Crags. With the fence to your right, follow the obvious track as it winds its way towards the `twin` crags. The views to the south are extensive and photo opportunities will abound. So take time to pause and enjoy the prospect of Shill Moor, Cushat Law, Bloodybush Edge, Hogdon Law and much more besides. Once the main crags are reached, be sure to cross the fence where an easy scramble will give you fine views across the expanse of Threestoneburn Wood towards The Cheviot. The volcanic rocks of the Cheviot Hills have weathered to form generally rounded hills and craggy outcrops of lava are relatively rare. Examples of these exposed `tors` are to be seen here on Cunyan Crags and on Great and Little Standrop, distant views of which you will see later in the walk. Back across the fence, it is time to leave the crags behind as you now climb towards the summit of Dunmoor Hill. Catch your breath at the small, rather dilapidated gate and soak up the views back over Cunyan Crags and beyond to the North Sea coast.

 

 

 

Dunmoor Hill from Cunyan Crags

 

3. Once through the gate it is just a short distance to the flat top of the 569 metre high Dunmoor Hill (NT 967182). Leave the security of the fence for a while as you visit the tiny walkers cairn and then the small rocky outcrop where there are great views of Hedgehope Hill, Comb Fell and, of course, The Cheviot. Rejoin the fence and head downhill in a north westerly direction. When you reach the saddle between Dunmoor Hill and Hedgehope Hill the ground becomes much wetter as this area is the watershed of both the Dunmoor Burn, which eventually joins the Linhope Burn just below Linhope Spout, and the Threestone Burn. At the point where the fence heads away from the trees (NT 958188), you will need to cross over in order to begin your 1¼ mile ascent of the second highest of the Cheviot Hills. With the trees on your right the sometimes boggy path keeps with the fence all the way to the summit, crossing over another fence at the 640 metres contour. At that point, to the south, lie Great and Little Standrop with the former looking suspiciously like two giant stone cairns. After a short, stiffish climb the gradient eases and before you have time to feel your muscles aching, you are crossing the step stile to the cairn and triangulation point topped summit (NT 943198).

 

 

 

The Cheviot from Hedgehope Hill

 

4. At 714 metres high Hedgehope Hill enjoys superb views in all directions. Across the Harthope Valley stands the bulk of The Cheviot whilst to the east the North Sea coast is clearly visible. A small stone shelter provides an ideal lunch spot on a cold windy day. Each year, on the first weekend in July, the Chevy Chase Fell Race, first established in 1967, crosses this summit as it makes its 20 mile journey across the surrounding countryside. You must now retrace your steps for a short distance as you follow the fence back down the south east side of the hill. When the first of the trees of the Threestoneburn Wood are reached (NT 951189) you must part company with the fence as you take the track which heads south eastwards towards the Linhope Burn. The way is clear on the ground so, with no route finding difficulties, just enjoy the easy walking and the lovely views. On reaching the gravel track, turn left and cross over the Linhope Burn, via a wooden, gated bridge (NT 955171) and follow the track as it rises away from the burn. Away to your left, out of sight, is one of Northumberland`s finest and most frequently visited waterfalls, Linhope Spout. Continue with the track as it descends between the steep sides of Ritto Hill and a wind sheltering plantation. Way below flows the Linhope Burn.

 

 

 

The view from Dunmoor Hill

 

5. The track soon joins the start of a tarmac road at the hamlet of Linhope. On your left, hidden within the trees, stands Linhope Lodge, built in 1905 for Lord Joicey of Ford Castle in the style of a bungalow in the Himalayas of British India. It has long projecting wings and a beautiful central porch. Still on the left, just prior to the bridge over the Linhope Burn, stands the mid-19th century Linhope Farm. The farmhouse, byre and stable are all built in one range and remain unspoilt and very picturesque. The tarmac road climbs away from the burn as it heads towards Hartside Farm, with delightful views once again beginning to open up. The buildings of Hartside Farm date back to the early part of the 19th century although there is evidence that buildings may have existed here as long ago as the 18th century. Continue along the road and all too soon you will be, once again, passing Greensidehill Farm with the steep stone slopes of Brough Law looming in front of you. Before heading home take time to dip your toes in the cool waters of the River Breamish.

 

 

Distance

16.5 km. ( 10.25 miles )

Total Ascent

765 metres (2510 feet)

Grading

Moderate

Start & Key Grid References

Ingram Glidders, Breamish Valley ( NT 996166 ), (NT 980168), (NT 977174), (NT 984181), (NT 967182), (NT 958188), (NT 943198), (NT 951189) & (NT 955171)

Time

4 hours

Nearest Town

Wooler/Powburn

Terrain

Two ascents, good stretches of green tracks/paths, a few potentially boggy paths, two  lengths of tarmac and some gravel track

Maps

OS Explorer (1:25000) OL16. Harveys Superwalker ( 1:40000 ) The Cheviot Hills

Accommodation

Youth Hostel Telephone 01668 281365, small hotels & guest houses & two caravan parks all in Wooler

Public Transport

None ( except to Powburn )

Tourist Information

www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk

 

 

 

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VISIT: AUCHOPE CAIRN: NORTHUMBERLAND`S FINEST VIEW?

 

Devised, written & photographed: Geoff Holland 2006 (re-measured, amended & photographs added 2012 & 2017)