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Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne

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Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 18 Jun 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide star1 Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide star1 Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide star1 Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide star1 Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide
Northumberland, North Tyne Valley
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide boot Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide boot Falstone Forest and the River North Tyne Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular walk from the small pretty village of Falstone in Northumberland. In the heart of classic Northumberland landscape, the village is the perfect place from which to explore the surrounding hills. The first half of the walk loops through the adjacent hillside forest with the pretty stream, Falstone Burn, running in the base of the gorge. At the top of the hill you will be rewarded with excellent views across the valley before returning into the village for a stretch alongside the River North Tyne. Here you will be able to visit the village Stell, a beautiful stone and steel sculpture created to reflect the welcoming nature of the village.

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout. Some of the paths can be narrow, rocky, and uneven whilst other parts can be very marshy so good waterproof boots are a must. There are a couple of gates along the way plus one ladder stile over a stone wall. This isn’t too steep and has several rungs so larger agile dogs should be able to climb it. Two of the pastures you cross are likely to be holding cattle and the riverside path is sometimes used to graze sheep so take care with dogs. There are public toilets alongside the Old School tea room within the village. Approximate time 1.5 to 2 hours.

Falstone is located just south of Kielder Water in Northumberland, just 8 miles from the border with Scotland. Travel to Bellingham on the B6320 and turn west onto the road marked with brown signs for Kielder Water and Forest. Just before you reach Kielder Water turn right into Falstone. As you reach the pub, The Blackcock Inn, on the right, turn left and follow the village road over the small bridge. Park on this road, Croft Bungalows (with the United Reformed Church on the right), with consideration for the local residents. Approximate post code NE48 1AA.

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Walk Sections

Start to Forest Stile
Start to Forest Stile

Start point: 55.1809 lat, -2.4367 long
End point: 55.1827 lat, -2.4315 long

Standing on the road facing the United Reformed Church, turn right and follow the road back towards the village centre. Cross the small stream, Falstone Burn, and you will pass the Old School on the left (now an information point and tea room). Within the stone wall here you will see an old cast iron drinking fountain, installed as part of the commemorations of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.

At the T-junction, turn left and follow the village road (taking care of occasional traffic) past the other village church, St Peter’s, on the right. Continue under the old railway bridge and immediately afterwards turn left onto the side road. Take the first farm gate on the right (this field may be holding cattle) and follow the field-edge path straight ahead with the stream, Falstone Burn, down to the left.

Stay on the higher of the two paths which climbs and swings right. Just before you reach a clump of trees within the field, fork left onto the grass path which leads you to a ladder stile over the stone wall into the pine forest. Cross this stile to enter the forest.

Forest Stile to Forest T junction
Forest Stile to Forest T junction

Start point: 55.1827 lat, -2.4315 long
End point: 55.1876 lat, -2.421 long

Turn right along the path within the forest, with the stone wall running on the right. Down to the left you will be able to see Falstone Burn running in the bottom of the gorge. This is a pretty section of the stream, running through the dense trees and gushing over rocks and boulders.

Stay on the path (marked occasionally with posts with yellow arrows) and you will cross a couple of narrow streams which feed the main burn below. Cross the next, slightly larger, tributary stream via the stone slab bridge and stay on the signed footpath as it climbs along the right-hand ridge. The path continues through a section of silver birch trees and then leads you down to a wooden footbridge on the left.

Cross this bridge and then follow the path as it swings right to pass through a gap within a stone wall. Continue on the path (marked with footpath posts at intervals) with the gorge bottom still down to the left. The path soon becomes a wider grass ride through the centre of the dense pine forest. Follow this climbing steadily and swinging right and at the top, keep left onto a narrower path.

Further along, this path opens up to follow an old stone vehicle track through the forest. Follow this old track for some distance. Falstone Forest is home to an array of flora and fauna so keep your eyes peeled. You are likely to see plenty of wild flowers including orchids and you may be lucky enough to glimpse a deer or red squirrel. Eventually the track will lead you to a T-junction with another wide stone vehicle track.

Forest T junction to Hillside Pasture
Forest T junction to Hillside Pasture

Start point: 55.1876 lat, -2.421 long
End point: 55.1851 lat, -2.4343 long

Turn left and follow the track as it crosses Falstone Burn. Follow the drive as it swings right, left and then right again, climbing all the way. Take time to enjoy the views through the small clearings as you climb. The track continues swinging steadily right then begins to gradually descend. Just a little further along, look out for a waymark post which marks the point at which another path crosses the drive.

Turn left here onto the signed public bridleway and follow this subtle grass path which passes a fenced grass field on the right. Take care as the path can be quite boggy. The path soon becomes a wider solid path with pine forest to the left and native trees to the right. The path will lead you out to a T-junction with a tarmac access lane. Turn left and pass through the wide metal gate to enter the hillside pasture (which is likely to be holding cattle).

Hillside Pasture to The Stell
Hillside Pasture to The Stell

Start point: 55.1851 lat, -2.4343 long
End point: 55.179 lat, -2.4417 long

Keep ahead along the tarmac lane up the short slope and at the top you will be rewarded with magnificent views across the entire valley. Directly ahead is the village of Falstone and across to the right are the grass mounds which form the dam for Kielder Water reservoir.

Follow the lane winding down through the hillside pasture and at the bottom go through the gate to pass alongside the cattle grid. Turn left along the road and follow it as it swings right under the railway bridge (now retracing your steps from the outward leg). Continue as far the as the pub and then turn right back to the United Reformed Church (where the walk began). From here it is worth performing another short loop to see the river and sculpture within the village.

Continue along the road passing the village hall and tennis courts. Immediately after the tennis courts, where the road bends right, fork left onto the grass path signed as the Riverside Walk. Follow this with the beautiful River North Tyne flowing on the right. The river has healthy populations of salmon and trout and flows downstream to merge with the River South Tyne near Hexham before the combined river, The Tyne, flows out to the North Sea.

The path will lead you to a wooden gate. Pass through this (you may come across sheep from this point) and continue on the riverside path. After just a short distance you will come to the Stell sculpture on the left.

The Stell to End
The Stell to End

Start point: 55.179 lat, -2.4417 long
End point: 55.1809 lat, -2.4368 long

A Stell is traditionally a stone sheep shelter and this fascinating sculpture, produced in 2008 by Colin Wilbourn, has been created as the equivalent homely shelter for humans. The stone has been carved into enticing sofa cushions and the steel antimacassar cloths on the sofa backs and arms are decorated with intricate drawings from local people. The rug on the floor depicts the villages that were lost with the creation of Kielder Water.

Continue along the riverside path which will lead you to the stone road bridge ahead, Falstone Bridge. Swing left through the gap in the fence and keep ahead along the field edge following the stone wall on the right. In the field corner, pass through the gate ahead and continue on the fenced grass footpath. The path leads you through some tall fir trees and then out to the main village road. Turn left along this and then left again opposite the pub to reach the road where the walk began.

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