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Elsdon Valley Trail

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Elsdon Valley Trail
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 15 Jun 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guidestar1 Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guidestar1 Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guidestar1 Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guidestar1 Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guide
Northumberland, Rothbury
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Elsdon Valley Trail
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guide boot Elsdon Valley Trail Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular walk from the pretty village of Elsdon in Northumberland. Elsdon is the most complete example of a medieval settlement within the Northumberland National Park and you will have chance to see the remains of a motte and bailey castle, a medieval peel tower, an old pinfold and the beautiful old church. The walking route performs a simple loop across the surrounding open hills and moorland with stunning views throughout.

The walk follows a tarmac farm access lane for the first mile and then crosses the open moors and fields for the return leg. The fields can get a little boggy in part after wet weather and in winter and the hay fields can be quite long so good boots are a must. There are several steady climbs and descents throughout. For almost the entire route you will be sharing the moorland with sheep and cattle so take care with dogs. You will need to negotiate a number of gates, footbridges, steps and five stiles. Two of the stiles are ladder stiles over stone walls (although the adjacent gates for these may well be open) and the other three are step stiles over wire fencing (these have no gaps underneath so dogs may need a lift over). Approximate time 1.5 hours.

Elsdon is located on the B6341, about 10 miles south west of Rothbury. The walk starts and finishes in the small lay-by parking area, just off the B6341 at the northern end of the village. From the B6341 take the small turning signed to Hudspeth, Landshot and Eastnook and you will see the small lay-by immediately on the right (alongside an information board and picnic bench). Approximate post code NE19 1AB.

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Walk Sections

Start to North Landshott Farm
Start to North Landshott Farm

Start point: 55.234 lat, -2.1001 long
End point: 55.2352 lat, -2.0854 long

From the parking lay-by it is worth making your way into the middle of the adjacent small wooden footbridge over the stream. The pretty stream is called Elsdon Burn, burn being a common name for small watercourses in Scotland and North East England, thought to derive from the Saxon word brunna.

If you look beyond the road bridge and above the houses, you’ll see the top of a tall, square property, Elsdon Tower. This medieval tower house, a Peel Tower, was built in the 1400s as a fortified home in response to the threat of attack from cross-border raids. Now a converted private residence the tower is a good reminder of the more turbulent times of this region.

Come back from the bridge through the car parking area and pass through the metal farm gate, signed as a dead-end lane for Hudspeth Farm. (Note you will come across livestock grazing from this point). Ignore the paths signed off across the grass, simply follow the tarmac lane as it climbs steadily.

A little way along you will come to a cattle grid. Use the gate to pass alongside this and continue on the tarmac lane. At the fork, keep right signed to Landshot and Eastnook. The lane will lead you past North Landshott Farm on the left.

North Landshott Farm to Sleeper Bridge
North Landshott Farm to Sleeper Bridge

Start point: 55.2352 lat, -2.0854 long
End point: 55.2315 lat, -2.0784 long

Ignore the path signed over the stone wall, simply continue along the tarmac access lane which winds downhill. Go through the gate to pass alongside the next cattle grid. The lane swings left and levels off. Just before the next cattle grid, turn right onto the signed footpath to East Todholes. The path leads you over a wooden sleeper bridge across the stream.

Sleeper Bridge to West Todholes Farm
Sleeper Bridge to West Todholes Farm

Start point: 55.2315 lat, -2.0784 long
End point: 55.2266 lat, -2.0884 long

Continue through the wooden gate and keep ahead for a few yards with the stream running down to the left. As the stream swings away to the left, bear left (carefully, as it can be boggy here) to join the path which runs immediately alongside the dry stone wall on the left.

Continue to the end of the long field where you will see a ladder stile over the wall ahead. Cross the stile and then cross this next field diagonally, heading for the telegraph pole which is just to the right of the farm buildings. Continue past the farm buildings on the left and swing a little left where you will pick up the yellow arrow footpath marker. Go ahead into the field corner where you will see the next ladder stile ahead.

Cross the stile and you will emerge to a T-junction with a farm track. Turn right along this and after a short distance pass through the farm gate ahead. Stay on the track and further along you will pass the buildings of West Todholes Farm on the right.

West Todholes Farm to Whiskershiel Burn
West Todholes Farm to Whiskershiel Burn

Start point: 55.2266 lat, -2.0884 long
End point: 55.2293 lat, -2.098 long

Continue on the tarmac lane which climbs more steeply. As the lane begins to level off, look across to the right. Here you will have great views into the valley to the village of Elsdon. From here you can appreciate the scale of the grass mound remains of the motte and bailey castle. Elsdon Castle is the best preserved medieval motte and bailey castle in Northumberland, dating from about 1080.

The lane will lead you out to a T-junction with the main road. Turn right for just a couple of paces and then right again to join the signed public footpath to Elsdon. Cross the stile over the wire fencing into the large open meadow. Turn left following the line of the fence and road on the left. As you reach a fence ahead, swing right and follow the path along the left-hand edge of the large meadow. This is an important hay meadow which is awash with colourful wild flowers in the late spring and summer.

The path leads you steadily downhill, heading directly for the village. Cross the stile ahead and follow the left-hand edge of the second section of meadow. At the bottom cross the next stile ahead and then bear slightly right to cross the wide wooden bridge over the stream, Whiskershiel Burn.

Whiskershiel Burn to End
Whiskershiel Burn to End

Start point: 55.2293 lat, -2.098 long
End point: 55.2341 lat, -2.1002 long

Turn left immediately after the bridge, following the line of the burn on the left. The path swings right and leads you over a narrower footbridge. A few paces later you’ll see a fork in the path, keep left (at about 11 o’clock) across the open field. Soon the burn will appear again on the left. Cross the first wooden footbridge (via a few steps) over the burn (NOT the second bridge which is further along, over to the right).

Immediately afterwards turn right through the wide metal gate and follow the grass and then stone track up to the village street. Follow the street right then left and you’ll emerge out at the village green in Elsdon. Ahead you will see a circular stone enclosure, the village pinfold. The enclosure was used in the 1700s as a pound for stray animals. Pinfolds were managed by a Pinder who was responsible for feeding and watering the animals until they were reclaimed for their owners for a fixed charge. Beyond the pinfold you’ll be able to see the village church, St Cuthbert’s.

Turn right along the village lane and then keep right at the next two junctions to join the main village road. A few paces later you will come to the footbridge over Elsdon Burn which leads you back to the parking area where the walk began.

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