Coquet Valley, Northumberland
Stunningly beautiful in its bleakness, the Upper Coquet valley is one of the most remote parts of Northumberland
The Upper Coquet Valley marks the geological boundary between the heather-clad fell sandstones to the south and the older volcanics of the northern Cheviots, covered largely by bracken and grass. The boundary is particularly marked at Coquet Gorge, where the intervening cementstone layers are well exposed.
From the bridge at Carshope, take the track that runs steeply uphill to the north. At the top, this joins the public bridleway known as The Street. Together with Clennell Street to the east, this was a route along which cattle and sheep were driven, both legally and illegally, over the Scottish border. The crossing points were also meeting places at which disputes would be resolved by Wardens of the March, appointed by the respective monarchs.
Follow the bridleway across Hindside Knowe and around Swineside Law to a saddle. There are wonderful views to either side, into the deep, narrow valleys that are characteristic of this northern limit of England’s backbone, and across the interlocking ridges that sweep into the Coquet Valley itself. Several tracks run up from the saddle, but all lead to a junction with the Pennine Way.
Follow the line of large stone slabs that runs parallel to the border fence, to the summit of Mozie Law. From here you can look across to Windy Gyle in the east and beyond to Hedgehope Hill and The Cheviot. Over the border, the Scottish valley system displays a more intricate pattern.
The undulating track continues along the border, over the summits of Beefstand Hill and Lamb Hill. Watch out for the herds, sometimes more than two dozen strong, of long-horned, shaggy-coated feral goats that roam freely across this border region. The descent from Lamb Hill leads to Yearning Saddle, and the refuge hut. There are no facilities here, but the bothy will provide around six people with a dry night’s rest, free of charge. As with a similar structure just below The Cheviot, the only requirement for visitors is that the hut
is left clean and tidy.
Take the footpath that runs east. After a short distance, the track forks. Follow the left fork, marked at intervals by wooden posts, down into a tributary of Blind Burn, then up again, across Carlcroft Hill. A final descent leads to the Coquet Valley road at Carlcroft Farm. Follow the road for 1½ miles back to Carshope. The right fork leads to the valley at Blindburn Farm, adding another 1½ miles to the return to Carshope.
Mountain footpaths – parts are likely to be boggy. Most of walk is exposed and windswept, so boots and windproof/waterproof clothing are necessary.
HOW TO GET THERE
by car: Take the B6341 west from Rothbury for
4 miles, then turn right on
to a minor road through Harbottle and Alwinton.
By Public Transport: Two buses each day travel from Rothbury to Alwinton. Carshope is a further 5 miles with no public transport.
Rose and Thistle
Alwinton, Morpeth NE65 7BQ
% 01669 650226
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL16.
Grid ref: NT 846 115
Rothbury Tourist Information
% 01669 620887
North East England
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