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Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle

There are currently 2 comments and 4 photos online for this walk.

Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle
Author: Claire, Published: 05 Jun 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guidesstar1 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guidesstar1 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guidesstar1 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guidesstar0 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides
Northumberland, Haltwhistle
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides boot Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides boot Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides
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A circular walk of just under 5 miles, near to the village of Featherstone in Northumberland (close to the borders with County Durham and Cumbria) and on the edge of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The walking route begins by following the South Tyne Trail, a former railway that now provides a wonderfully scenic walking route, to reach the impressive Lambley Viaduct. The viaduct leads you high over the River South Tyne with outstanding views before you descend to the riverside for views of the viaduct itself. The return leg follows the riverbanks with plenty of wildlife to enjoy, and passing an old Prisoner of War camp and the beautiful Featherstone Castle.

The walk is relatively flat for the old rail path and riverside sections, but there is a steep stepped section to descend from the viaduct and a steep climb from the riverside back to the starting point. For the outward leg you will be following the South Tyne Trail which is a well-made stone path, is enclosed away from pastures and has only simple gates as obstacles. Beyond the viaduct, you will need to negotiate several flights of steps, some uneven woodland and riverside paths, three stiles (which dogs would need a lift over) and you will be sharing the riverside pastures with both sheep and cattle. If you prefer to avoid the livestock and stiles, you can follow an easy-access ‘there and back’ walk along the South Tyne Trail to reach the viaduct (or to the footbridge beneath this if you can manage the steep steps), which would make a lovely walk in itself. One final note is that the viaduct carries you over the river at a height of 32 metres – the trail is wide and has waist-high walls/railings each side, but vertigo-sufferers may find this quite challenging. Allow 2.5 hours.

The walk starts and finishes from the South Tyne Trail free car park at Featherstone Park Station. From the north, leave the A69 close to Haltwhistle and follow Bellister Bank south to reach the tiny village of Rowfoot. Turn right here onto Hall Bank, pass the Wallace Arms pub on your left and you will reach the tarmac entrance slope for the car park just 80 metres later on your left. (NOTE: The sign at the entrance is both low down and faded so keep your eyes peeled!). The nearest post code (although this is not exact) is NE49 0JF.

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Walk Sections

Start to Coanwood Station
Start to Coanwood Station

Start point: 54.9403 lat, -2.4972 long
End point: 54.9247 lat, -2.5042 long

Standing in the car park with your back to the vehicle entrance, walk ahead down the car park access track and then fork right to join the narrow stone path leading you up the grass bank. At the top of this short slope, turn left to join the South Tyne Trail heading directly away from the road. This trail follows the trackbed of a former railway that ran from Haltwhistle in Northumberland to Alston in Cumbria. It closed in 1976 after operating for 124 years, transporting coal and lead from the surrounding mines as well as passengers. Today the old railway is a beautiful stone track which leads you along a raised embankment, with lovely views of the rolling pastures and woodlands each side.

Simply keep ahead on the South Tyne Trail, passing through a wide gate ahead (thin people may be able to squeeze through the adjacent kissing gate for fun!) and passing under the beautiful stone arch that carries a minor road overhead. Eventually you will emerge into another parking area. Keep ahead to pass through this, use the gate to pass alongside the cattle grid and cross over the Coanwood to Lambley road with care.

At the far side, pass through the next gate to continue on the old railway path. This stretch of the path leads you through a beautiful mixed woodland which is alive with birdsong in the spring and summer. After about 600 metres you will pass a single property on your left. This once housed Coanwood Station and you will pass the remains of the station platform on your left.

Coanwood Station to River Footbridge
Coanwood Station to River Footbridge

Start point: 54.9247 lat, -2.5042 long
End point: 54.9194 lat, -2.509 long

Immediately after Coanwood Station, you will come to a junction of paths marked with a fingerpost. Do NOT fork right through the wide metal gate, instead go straight ahead through the gate-side fence gap to continue on the main, level old railway path. The old rail line leads you directly to Lambley Viaduct ahead. Go ahead to cross the viaduct, but remember to keep dogs and children under close control as you are now 32 metres above the River South Tyne.

As you cross this viaduct take time to enjoy the riverside views each side and to marvel at this engineering structure. The Lambley Viaduct opened in 1852 and was restored in 1995 with much of the stonework replaced and the whole structure repointed. There are nine arches each of 17 metres span, and seven smaller arches of 6 metres span. If you glance down to your right, you will see a footbridge far below that we will cross shortly – this provides the perfect viewpoint for the viaduct itself.

At the far side of the viaduct, turn right down the flight of metal steps and follow the fenced woodland path. You will emerge to a crossroads of paths, marked with a fingerpost. Go straight ahead and follow several flights of steps leading you down to the riverside. Turn left along the riverbank, taking care of any small landslips and taking time to enjoy the beautiful scene of the river with the viaduct rising high above you. As you reach the footbridge, turn right (over a wooden squeeze barrier) to cross back over the river via this bridge (taking care with children and dogs). Again, it is worth taking your time to enjoy the idyllic scene.

River Footbridge to Wooden Hut
River Footbridge to Wooden Hut

Start point: 54.9194 lat, -2.509 long
End point: 54.9248 lat, -2.5098 long

At the far side of the footbridge, head down the steps and turn left along the riverside path (with the river running on your left). The path leads you through a stretch of woodland to reach a gate ahead. NOTE: You may come across both cattle and sheep grazing in any of the riverside pastures from this point onwards.

Pass through the gate to enter the pasture and bear left to follow the path running immediately alongside the river. Stay on this riverside path leading you through the lightly-wooded edge of the pasture. At the end of the first pasture, keep ahead to continue on a narrow strip of bank with a wire fence on your right. As you reach a wooden hut on your right, cross the stile within the fence on your right to enter the next pasture and then turn left to continue on the riverside path.

Wooden Hut to Road Crossing
Wooden Hut to Road Crossing

Start point: 54.9248 lat, -2.5098 long
End point: 54.9318 lat, -2.5074 long

Continue on the riverside path. This stretch of the river is particularly beautiful so, assuming there is no livestock nearby, you may wish to pause and enjoy the scenery. Look out for birds skimming over the river surface to feed on insects and trout or salmon jumping from the clear rocky waters. Stay with the riverside, crossing the small tributary stream via the gravel and make-shift stepping stones.

At the end of this second pasture, keep ahead to join a stone vehicle track. This leads you uphill with a fenced woodland on your right and the river on your left. You will emerge via a gate to reach a junction with the Coanwood to Lambley road once again. Cross over diagonally right, taking particular care of traffic here as there is a blind bend in the road to your right.

Road Crossing to Featherstone Castle
Road Crossing to Featherstone Castle

Start point: 54.9318 lat, -2.5074 long
End point: 54.9413 lat, -2.5136 long

At the far side, pass through the small metal gate to enter the next riverside pasture. Follow the stone vehicle track leading you downhill and continuing with the river on your left. You will notice that this pasture has a distinctive parkland feel, dotted with statuesque mature trees. In fact, it is a stretch of the parkland of Featherstone Castle which we will be passing a little later.

Follow the vehicle track ahead, passing through a wide metal gate to enter the next pasture. Keep ahead along the track. NOTE: For the next stretch, you may notice that the river has eroded the lower sections of the riverbanks, leaving unstable grassy overhangs – so please don’t walk too close to the grassy edge.

Within this pasture, you will pass a series of red brick buildings on your right. These are the remains of a Second World War Prisoner of War Camp. It was occupied from 1945 to 1948 and housed more than 4,000 German officers at its peak. The interpreter from January 1946 was a German officer called Captain Herbert Sulzbach OBE, who dedicated himself to making the camp a seedbed of British and German reconciliation.

Within the camp remains, the vehicle track splits in a few directions, but simply keep on the path closest to the river on your left (remembering not to walk on the overhanging grassy edge!). Further along you will pass Featherstone Castle across to your right. Featherstone Castle is one of a series of castles built to defend the Tyne Gap, with huge military significance in the battles between the English and the Scots. The L-shaped tower dates from the 1330s, but there are many more modern additions too. In more modern times the private country house has had a number uses including being a boys’ prep school, a conference centre and an activity centre for young people. It is said that the castle is haunted by a wedding party from the 1600s – the Lord had forced his daughter into an unwanted party and her lover killed the wedding party when they were out hunting to celebrate the marriage.

Featherstone Castle to End
Featherstone Castle to End

Start point: 54.9413 lat, -2.5136 long
End point: 54.9404 lat, -2.4973 long

After passing the castle, continue ahead on the vehicle track with the river still on your left and you will come to the vehicle gates ahead. Pass to the left of these to follow the narrow grass riverbank, heading towards a river footbridge. As you draw level with the bridge, turn right through the gate to reach the lane.

Cross over the lane and take the stile opposite to enter a hillside grass pasture. Walk ahead initially (with a wire fence to your left) and then, when the fence on your left turns away to the left, turn diagonally right to pass through the centre of the large trees and reach a stile in the top boundary. Cross the stile to reach the lane again and turn left along this, taking care of any traffic.

We will be following this lane for about 0.6 miles, back to the car park. The lane climbs steeply to begin with so take you time to pause, catch your breath and enjoy the valley views. After the first couple of bends, the lane levels off and leads you past the property called Hallbank Head on your right. The lane now descends steadily for a few hundred metres to pass Featherstone Park Old Station House on your left and the car park on your right where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 comments for "Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle"

Nice stroll with naughty Stanley the beagle. Some breathtaking views and still a lot of areas for the dog to roam off lead. Found the old prisoner of war camp very interesting.

By jonamullen on 02 Aug 2018

Nice walk but not good for dogs due to large numbers of cattle in the fields at this time of year on the northern leg.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Remember to read the full introduction to our walking guides to help select a suitable walk - this walk intro does mention the cattle and stiles and suggests a 'there and back' option instead for people needing to avoid this.

By JonSant on 19 Jun 2018

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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4 gallery images for "Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle"

10883_0adminv151528231785 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides Image by: adminv15
Uploaded: 05 Jun 2018
The viaduct path 32m above the river below.
10883_0adminv151528231837 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides Image by: adminv15
Uploaded: 05 Jun 2018
The footbridge.
10883_0adminv151528231877 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides Image by: adminv15
Uploaded: 05 Jun 2018
Remains of the POW camp
10883_0adminv151528231923 Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle, Northumberland Walking Guides Image by: adminv15
Uploaded: 05 Jun 2018
Featherstone Castle

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