Morpeth Footpaths Society

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THE Coquet Valley is a beautiful place in all weather, but on a recent hot sunny Sunday when nine members and three guests from Morpeth Footpaths Society set out from the National Park car park at Alwinton to step out through the valley, it was a blaze of colour, wildlife and fresh warm winds.

The walk is charmingly nicknamed ‘the goat track walk’, simply due to the picturesque, narrow paths worn into the Coquet Valley hills made by sheep and goats.

We started by fair striding along the road to Linbriggs, then climbed across the hills at Pass Peth with the Coquet running below.

We couldn’t resist stopping at Shilmoor, an early 18th Century former farmhouse now used by the army, for a quick refreshment break, then quickly headed along the flat valley floor, up the Usway Burn, passing bubbling, low waterfalls to Battleshiel Haugh, before preparing ourselves for the climb across Saughy Hill.

We took a welcome stop near the top of Saughy Hill to have lunch and admire another fine view of the Coquet Valley below. One of our members is a young singer (Helen), who actually didn’t sing on this occasion, but managed to get the whole group thinking of various songs with people’s names in — quite a challenge considering the names involved.

We continued on past Wholehope Knowe, where much of the forest is in the process of being cleared and re-planted, making the landscape resemble a wooden graveyard, before joining Clennell Street, an ancient drove road used to take cattle from Scotland to the markets in North East England.

The remainder of the walk was downhill, past picturesque cottages and settlements.

When nearing the end of our walk, we watched whilst a young local farmer chased a couple of lambs in the field on his quad bike to re-unite them with their mothers. He kindly informed us that on occasion, mother and baby gets separated and it’s in their interest to re-unite them as soon as possible to ensure the lambs continue to benefit as long as possible from their mother’s milk.

A fantastic end to a lovely day’s walking.

Janice Morgan