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|Allenheads and Byerhope Bank|
|Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 26 Jun 2014||Walk rating : Rating:|
|A 5.5 mile circular walk from the former lead mining community of Allenheads in Northumberland. The route explores the remaining traces of the mining industry and then climbs onto Byerhope Bank, striking out through the high moor. You will be sharing the moor with sheep as well as many ground nesting birds which the moor is specifically managed to protect. The return leg follows the course of the River East Allen, a pretty river through the valley bottom which flows over several rocky and stepped weirs. |
The route has several fairly steep climbs and descents and follows a mixture of quiet lanes, stone tracks and grass paths through the moor and alongside the river. The open moor is very exposed so ensure you have appropriate clothing with you. The riverside can be muddy and can also get a little overgrown in one section so long trousers and good boots are a must. Take care of any traffic along the quiet lanes. There are two stiles near the start of the walk, although these can be avoided by taking a small detour along a quiet lane. The other obstacles are a number of single gates plus two footbridges (which have a couple of steps up to them). You will be sharing most of the route with sheep so take care with dogs. The section of high moor is managed to protect ground nesting birds so dogs must be kept on a short, fixed lead along the public footpath on this outward stretch. There are public toilets within the Heritage Centre at the start of the walk and a cafe, The Hemmel Cafe, behind the centre. Approximate time 2.5 to 3 hours.
Allenheads is located in southern Northumberland, within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village is accessed via the B6295, between Allendale and Wearhead. There is limited parking in the village alongside the Heritage Centre, so it may be best to avoid peak times. Approximate post code NE47 9HJ.
|Start to Stone Track|
Start point: 54.8025 lat, -2.2199 long
Before setting off on the walk, it is worth taking a moment to understand the history of this small village. You can find out the full story at the Heritage Centre, before or after your walk. Lead mining at Allenheads probably started in the 1500s but was at its height in the 1700s and 1800s. Water power was the most important source of power at the mine and local reservoirs were built to drive the hydraulic engines (of which one is restored an on display within the Heritage Centre).
|Stone Track to Grass Bridleway|
Start point: 54.8023 lat, -2.2041 long
As you join this stone track, look down to the left where you will be able to see Eastend Reservoir. This is one of the five reservoirs that powered the hydraulic engines for crushing and processing the lead ore.
|Grass Bridleway to Ford|
Start point: 54.8221 lat, -2.2185 long
Turn left onto this grass bridleway and follow the obvious path steadily downhill. At lengthy intervals you will pass waymark posts confirming that you are on the correct route. At the bottom of the hill you will pass a disused quarry on the right (now a haven for rabbits).
|Ford to Road Bridge|
Start point: 54.8241 lat, -2.2343 long
Beyond the ford, turn left along the lane with the River East Allen running on the left. Ignore the first signed footpath off to the left, instead follow the lane which swings steadily right and climbs. Where the lane swings hard right, go straight ahead onto the stone access track. Follow this downhill passing Laurel Cottage and Middlehope Green on the right. Keep ahead along the wide grass track and it will lead you to the river ahead. Turn right along the riverside path, with a pretty stepped weir within the river ahead.
|Road Bridge to End|
Start point: 54.8126 lat, -2.2331 long
Cross the bridge and turn right at the T-junction, taking care of any occasional traffic. The lane leads you between rows of pretty terraced cottages (where the lead mine smelters once lived) and then continues with a pavement on the right. On the right you will pass the old Methodist Chapel, many mining families having been devout Methodists.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
Lovely walk - saw loads of curlews; a few lapwings; those picnic tables by the river on the return leg were ideally sited too!
|By Hero on 2015-06-16 15:34:20|
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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