Housesteads or Steel Rigg - Bellingham
This section of the Way is 13.5 miles (22 Km) to Bellingham
starting from Housesteads or 15 miles (24 Km) if starting from Steel
Rigg. The majority (12.5 miles 20 Km) is common regardless of
choosing the west or the east route.
Starting at about 250 mtrs the route quickly attains either 290 or 325
mtrs dependent on starting point then following a slight decline
reaches the height of 310 at Hawk Side before concluding at 110 mtrs.
This section of the Way sees within the first hour a significant change in the route. It turns north and picks up the waymarking of the Pennine Way, and it leaves behind the Roman Heritage of Hadrian's Wall as the walker heads into "Caledonia and the land of the warring Picts". From the safety of the south side of the Wall the route north through the Wark Forest can be identified. (Red dots on the photo)
Whether approaching from the East (Wallsend - Red line) or the West (Bowness - Yellow line) the initial walk is on the line of the wall above the crags. Between Cuddy's and Hotbank Crags there is a dip and a path leading north across the line of the Wall and out onto the lower and flatter moorland to the north is the one to follow.
Heading due north the way has only slight gradients to encounter as the Way passes to the right of Greenlee Lough and the left of Broomlee Lough. This is sheep grazing countryside and sometimes stone slabs are laid to assist the crossing of some marshy areas.
There now follows three distinct sections of forestry walking in the
Wark Forest. Each section is relative short the first being the
longest with a gradual incline. Keep to the tracks with the Pennine Way
At the end of the first wooded section Haughton Common stretches ahead
on the right.
There now follows about a kilometre of walking across Haughton Common
in a NE direction to an entry point in to the second wooded path. This
walk can be relatively indistinct, but you should walk toward the small
group of trees isolated on the common then in the same direction to a
stile pole on the forest edge.
The forest walk resume as it descends through grassy paths towards the next opening and then quickly to a road. Do not take the right of way straight ahead, but turn right up the road for a short distance before turning left along another grass path into the third wooded section. At the far end there is further moorland and the direction is still generally to the north as it tracks its way to a pedestrian bridge almost hidden by trees that crosses the Warks Burn.
The Way is now made up of a series of short sections through farm steedings, a private garden and a section of single track road that leads to a "T" junction on the road close to Manor Farm and Bridge house. With a further section of field the way crosses the Houxty Burn and arrives at Shitlington Hall followed by a rising walk to Shitlington Crags
At the mast the Way has reached the final high point of the section and shortly it is possible to see Bellingham lying to the north in the North Tyne valley. Behind Bellingham are the Callerhues Crags, an area where the next section of the Way passes as it heads into the hills to the north.
The way into Bellingham is longer than expected as the route is along the line of the Wark to Bellingham road as it swings NW before crossing the attractive bridge over the North Tyne to the west of the community. Close to the river is one of the town's attractions, this being St Cuthbert's Well which is supposed to have healing powers.
On crossing the river the way leads east into the centre close to St Cuthbert's Church and the somewhat unusual village hall. Next to this is a Chinese mounted musket that was captured in 1900 and then presented to the village by the commander of HMS Orlando.
The section ends close by at the Boer War Memorial and from here there are a range of shops, pubs and accommodation
Navigate to each section of the walk using this
link or the right hand section
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