JOHN MARTIN HERITAGE TRAIL - 6.11.16

 AUTUMN COLOURS AT STAWARD GORGE

A bad weather forecast for the day but this didn’t deter eleven “hardy” members turning up at Haydon Bridge where waterproofs were donned as the forecast was living up to what had been predicted.

The walk comprised of two loops of 3 and 12 miles visiting places associated with John Martin, a popular artist born in Haydon Bridge in 1789. As the first loop returned us to the starting point we were able to leave the rucksacks in the cars, so after starting at 09-00 we collected them at about 10-00 for the second loop.

After passing his birth place at East Land Ends cottage we headed towards Morralee Wood and Tarn which on a better day would have been delightful for a quick coffee stop, but the weather precluded that.

Down to the river Allen and headed upstream along the banks of it to Plankey Mill where at half way we had our lunch at a picnic table. Fortunately the rain ceased whilst we dined.

Further upstream we went up to Staward Pele, the impressive and dramatic location of which must have made this tower impregnable, this was the fore runner of Langley castle. After viewing another information board on the ridge and viewing all the colourful trees now below us we descended to cross a small tributary of the Allen before climbing out of the woods and up to Harsondale.

After exiting along the access track and onto a minor road the highest point of the walk was reached from where field and minor roads brought us to Langley Castle where a short stop was made whilst some of us recalled visits to the boozy Medieval Banquets that used to be held there.

One last pull up followed by a couple of level fields and lane before dropping down through woodland to the A686 and Haydon Bridge arriving back at the cars at 15-15.

Stats were 15 miles and 2,340 feet of ascent.