The Cheviot Hills wander along the extreme northern edge of England sweeping effortlessly down into Scotland like a tide of green, rolling waves. Covering an area of some 1035 square kilometres (400 square miles), they are not, in the great scheme of matters mountainous, particularly big. However, Northumberland`s premier hill, The Cheviot, rises to a height of 815 metres (2674 feet) and is a broad-backed brute of a hill. It stands like a colossus peering down into the Harthope, College and Lambden Valleys. Five other hills in the range, Windy Gyle, Comb Fell, Cushat Law, Hedgehope Hill and Bloodybush Edge, top the magical 610 metres (2000 feet) mark and, with endless views to distant horizons to delight the eye, you cannot help but feel that this is truly big country.
The Cheviot Hills are volcanic in origin and are flanked on the north, east and south by the river plains of the Tweed, Till, Aln and Coquet. On the Northumberland side of the border, these rivers receive their waters from six main tributaries, the Bowmont, College, Harthope, Breamish, Alwin and Usway which are fed by numerous burns and sikes tumbling down from the high tops through deep and narrow valleys. A large proportion of these predominantly rounded hills lie at the heart of the Northumberland National Park where endless space and a fascinating history are never far away. Here, on `Northumberland`s ragged edge`, wandering over some of the wildest and loneliest country in England is just about as good as walking can possibly be.
The walks, all of which are FREE to download, are not designed for absolute beginners. They are intended for those walkers who have warmed their feet on shorter and easier routes and are now seeking a bigger challenge. The walks do not always follow public rights of way. Wherever practicable, they take full advantage of the `Right to Roam` legislation, in many instances crossing rough and pathless terrain.
Each walk contains a detailed, easy to follow, route description, interesting and sometimes little known facts about the area covered during the walk with a few `along the way` photographs thrown in for good measure. There are now map extracts attached to all of the route descriptions. It should be noted that these maps are intended for planning purposes only and we highly recommend that the relevant Ordnance Survey or Harvey map is carried at all times. All walks contain grid references at key points thus making planning even easier. At the end of the text to each walk there is an `information panel` containing details of the length of the walk, the total height gained, the estimated time the walk will take, the nearest town, the type of terrain likely to be encountered, local accommodation and the telephone number of the nearest Tourist Information Centre. Although the walks do not present any real technical difficulties many can be testing in both distance covered and height gained. In bad weather good navigational skills are essential. Be prepared for good and bad, rough and smooth. Get ready to be surprised, but most of all get out there and enjoy yourself. Be safe and prepared to turn back should circumstances dictate. The hills will still be there for another day.
Occasionally it is necessary to change the route description of a walk in some small way. Perhaps there is a need to refine a direction which, based on user experience, could have been expressed in a slightly different way. Maybe the route has, since it was added to the website, altered in some critical aspect thus making an amendment essential. After all, the great outdoors is an ever evolving environment.
One of the great advantages of a website containing walking routes is that when a change becomes necessary an amendment can be made pretty rapidly. However, we are conscious that some users print out a number of walks well in advance of actually undertaking them and, therefore, may well miss a critical post-printing change. In order to avoid this situation, we have created an archive of all important route changes which have been made since we first went online. This archive, which can be accessed via ARCHIVE OF ROUTE CHANGES, can be used by walkers to easily update any route description they have pre-printed immediately prior to setting out for a day in the hills. What could possibly be simpler?
The articles are, in the main, intended to give more detailed information about a specific area within the Cheviot Hills and most of these articles also contain an idea for a relatively short walk within that area. Whilst the route details are by no means as comprehensive as the main walks, walkers should, when armed with the relevant map, find them pretty easy to follow. By making these shorter walks available it is hoped that the website will appeal to walkers of all `shapes and sizes`. It is also hoped that these shorter routes will whet the appetite for a day out in the hills on one of the longer routes.
There are, as stated above, map extracts attached to all of the walks on this website. These map extracts are intended to be a planning tool only to be used before embarking on one of the website routes. It is highly recommended that walkers should always carry with them either the full OS Explorer (1: 25000) OL 16 map or the Harvey Superwalker (1: 40000) The Cheviot Hills map together with a compass and have the ability to use them should the occasion arise. In our opinion, the use of GPS should be no substitute for carrying (and being able to use) a map and compass. If you need to order one of the full maps simply visit HARVEY or ORDNANCE SURVEY direct.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) introduced a `Right to Roam` across mapped `Access Land`. As well as opening up vast tracts of countryside to walkers CRoW also gave landowners and farmers permission to restrict this new right for up to 28 days each year. To find out more about the `Right to Roam` all you need to do is to click on the `Access Land` waymarking symbol at the beginning of this section and all the information you need to know is set out in black and white. If you also want to find out whether any restrictions apply to any of the areas over which you intend to walk in the near future all you have to do is to CLICK HERE and you are almost up and running. Finally, if you do not already know `The Countryside Code` then simply CLICK HERE.
The prevailing south westerly wind sheds most of its precipitation long before reaching the Cheviot Hills and, as a consequence, the average rainfall for the high ground is less than half the rainfall of the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands. Mountain weather can be very unpredictable so, before you set out for the Cheviot Hills, take a few moments to check out the forecast. Unfortunately, it is not an exact science and forecasters have been known to get it wrong. At the end of the day, you have to rely on your own judgment whether or not to venture out into the hills. The Cheviot Hills cover a fairly wide area so whilst it may be dry to the east, the west may be experiencing weather of quite a different kind. In order to help the decision making process have a look at the MET OFFICE BETA website which gives you a huge amount of weather information. Simply by CLICKING HERE and changing the 5 day forecast location from London to Middleton, Wooler, Alwinton or the like, you will get the necessary weather information for that part of the Cheviot Hills. If you are still not convinced, take a peep at the MOUNTAIN WEATHER INFORMATION SERVICE website for a forecast for the Southern Uplands including the Cheviot Hills on both the Scottish side of the border and the higher hills on the English side.
Triangulation pillars are a familiar feature of our mountain landscape and have been since 1935 when the re-triangulation of Great Britain was first launched. This website aims, in the fullness of time, to give details of as many of the triangulation pillars in the Cheviot Hills as possible. This feature will include a photograph of the triangulation pillar, the grid reference, the height and a relatively direct `out and back` route to the summit. Just click on the photograph at the beginning of this section to access the details of the triangulation pillars currently available.
The Picture Gallery contains a selection of photographs of the Cheviot Hills and, hopefully, these images will inspire website visitors to pack their sandwiches and to head for the hills. Each photograph has a direct link to one of the walks on the website and by simply clicking on a photograph a detailed route description will appear. We regularly update these photographs, so remember to keep popping back to the gallery. The website also has a `Photograph of the Week` feature which contains a larger format photograph and operates on the same principle as the Picture Gallery. Finally, we have now set up a link to our `cheviotwalks slideshow` and yet another appetite whetting feature designed to get you out and about in the hills. To access the Picture Gallery just click HERE, to see the Photograph of the Week click HERE and to visit our Slideshow click HERE.
Four books of walks, by our own walks writer Geoff Holland, have been published by Darlington based Trailguides Publications as part of their ever-growing portfolio of books focusing on walking in the North East of England. All four books contain detailed route descriptions of eight totally new and fascinating walks in the Cheviot Hills and are entitled, `The Cheviot Hills` (£8.50), `Walks from Wooler` (£9.99), `The Hills of Upper Coquetdale` (£8.50) and `Walks on the Wild Side The Cheviot Hills` (£9.99). The pages are packed with interesting facts about the area together with a host of photographs taken along the way. Add 90p to the amounts shown in brackets to cover postage and packaging and then click on the book icon at the beginning of this section to order your copies direct from the publishers. Alternatively, you can find out more about the books and some of the bookshops which currently stock them simply by clicking, HERE. These are must-buy books for any discerning walker intent on exploring the Cheviot Hills by a writer who was described by national outdoor magazine, `Country Walking` as, “one of the UK`s most respected guide writers”.
This section contains a series of short articles (and accompanying photographs) which are intended to give website visitors a flavour of a day out walking in the Cheviot Hills. Although a detailed route description is not included in any of the articles, in most instances, it is relatively easy to work out the route taken by the author. A copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map on your desk top will help you along the way but whether or not you choose to follow in the exact footsteps of the author it is hoped that the articles will inspire you to map out your own favoured route. In any event, have a peep, you might just pick up an idea or two as you go. These articles can be reached simply by clicking HERE.
The 27 mile long high-level, border-hugging stretch of the Pennine Way across the Cheviot Hills, from Byrness in Redesdale to the Scottish border town of Kirk Yetholm, is arguably the finest section of England`s first long-distance footpath. It is an outstanding switchback walk through some of England`s most remote country where wild goats roam and the call of the curlew echoes across a vast empty landscape. It is a five course meal of a walk which follows England`s wild and ragged edge over a succession of lonely summits. From the comfort of your armchair why not take a visual journey along the `border line` by simly clicking HERE. There are 40 photographs to tickle your tastebuds and to tempt you to put on your boots and to experience first hand some of Northumberland`s magnificent hill country.
If you want even more up to the minute information about our website and what we have been up to you can now follow us on Facebook under the title `Cheviotwalks` and on Instagram under @cheviotwalks.rewind. Not particularly earth-shattering stuff in the big picture but something extra for those folk who like to use what is collectively known as the `social media`. For those walkers who prefer not to get entangled in the ever-growing web of online chit-chat just sit back and enjoy the things that we think we do best and that is devising, writing and photographing new and unique walking routes in the Cheviot Hills. After all, that is our raison d`être.
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