Ramblers enjoy a Devil of a spring walk

WHEN I opened the curtains recently to be met by a lovely sunny and frosty Sunday morning, I knew that the latest Morpeth Footpaths Society walk would be a good one – and I was right.

Two hours later, 26 members of the society were gathered in the middle of the pretty village of Netherwitton, ready for the walk to begin.

However, before that, Val and Tom, the Programme Organiser and Treasurer, handed out some newly-acquired first aid kits to committee members and a pair of walkie talkies, which enable the leader and back marker to stay in touch.

We started by walking along the road to the south of Netherwitton, before taking the track to the left through Oldpark Wood.

The ground was still hard from the overnight frost.

We soon met the Devil’s Causeway, an old Roman road which ran from near Corbridge to Berwick, a distance of around 55 miles, where we turned right across the fields to Thornton Moor.

After another short section on the road, we turned left to follow the track past Wittonstone.

A coffee stop was taken here, giving us an opportunity to enjoy the views to the south.

However, we were soon on our way again and crossing the Dean Burn, which has been dammed at this point to form an idyllic small lake, with an island in the middle, surrounded at this time of year by a carpet of snowdrops.

We skirted past Longwitton Dene and then crossed a stile to follow the edge of Long Plantation.

At this point, one of our members scratched his hand and needed an Elastoplast from the newly-acquired first aid box.

We then started the climb to Longwitton.

Before we reached the top of the hill, we stopped for lunch, basking in the now-warm afternoon sunshine and enjoying the views.

After lunch we followed the road for the final time, before leaving it at Devil’s Elbow, and after walking through Spencer’s Plantation, we continued downhill to Whelpsly Burn.

After a brief interlude to watch a roe deer disappearing into the distance, we gained a little height before ‘walking the plank’ to cross another stream.

From this point we could see Netherwitton to our right, and after following a track downhill we were entering the village via Bellion Farm and through a ford, which enabled boots to be washed before we arrived at our cars.

After saying our goodbyes we were soon back home, ready for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Martin Laidler

THE next walk of the Morpeth Footpaths Society will take place on Sunday when members visit St Mary’s Island and Seaton Sluice.

The 6.3-mile route, which is expected to take three hours to complete, will be led by Pat Scott and Anne Brown.

Participants should meet at the Seaton Sluice roundabout car park on the A190/A193 at 11am.

Further details of all the society’s walks can be obtained from Secretary Sarah Howells on 01670 513757 or by visiting www.morpethfootpathssociety.org.uk