The Hillfort Round

LONG DISTANCE WALKERS ASSOCIATION

Northumbria Group

THE HILLFORT ROUND

This is a very demanding Open Challenge Walk of some 26 miles with almost 7000ft of ascent. It is a circular route from the Car Park at Hethpool 893281. There is an alternative route of 28 miles starting and finishing in Wooler

Most of the route is on permitted paths over grouse moors or on open access land. These can be closed off at certain times of the year, so it is advisable to check before starting off.

Maps   Explorer OL16 The Cheviot Hills

            Explorer339 Kelso, Coldstream and Lower Tweed Valley

Thea are covered by this walk is remote. Anyone undertaking the challenge should carry the relevant maps and a compass and be capable of navigating with them. You should not rely solely on a Satellite Navigation device.

 

From the Car Park at Hethpool, return to the road and turn right towards the hamlet of Hethpool. Just before the road veers left, turn right through a gate and over a cattle grid (PFS ST Cuthberts Way). Follow the St Cuthberts Way markers, heading towards Wooler, for approximately 10 km passing Tom Tallon’s Crag, Black Law and Gains Law.

Pass through the gate at the junction of paths where st Cuthberts Way swings right and continue ahead through a second gate. Continue downhill for approximately 500m to reach a gate on the left signed Hillforts Trail. Go through this gate, ignoring the path to the right and continue uphill to Humbleton Hill Fort (NT967283)

 

Leave the Hill in a southwesterly direction to pick up a broad track running downhill with the valley on your left. Follow the path down to a stile in the wire fence, Cross the stile and continue downhill for about 100m to the junction. Take the left-hand path uphill through the bracken for another 100m to some stones at the end of the ruined wall and turn right on a faint path. Follow this path to reach a stile in the wire fence. Cross the stile and continue ahead through heather and then bracken to reach a small gate near the junction of a stone wall and a wire fence. Go through the gate and take a faint path which follows the wall at first then gradually descending left to contour the cleugh. When the path begins to ascend turn right immediately in front of a small pointed crag and climb steeply uphill to                                                   Monday Cleugh Hillfort (GR NT 956285)

 

From the sheep stell at the edge of the Hillfort, take a bearing of 280o to pick up a faint path towards a wire fence. At the fence, turn right and follow it downhill (with care!) through the heather. At the bottom of the hill, turn left through a gate and continue downhill to a second gate and a stile. Cross the stile and carry on downhill to join a broad track. Turn left on the track and follow it round to join a stony track. Cross this track and continue uphill on a broad green track. Akeld Hillfort (GR NT 949290) is on the right prior to a track on the left which crosses Gleadsclough

 

Leave Akeld Hillfort and rejoin the track at the junction with path going left across Gleadscleugh. Take this path across the Cleugh and continue uphill past two waymarkers, eventually passing to right of sheepfold and further waymarker. Continue uphill ahead to stile over stone wall. Cross stile and go half left downhill. Follow the path as it begins to ascend to the right to another waymarker. Continue on this waymarked path to gate in wire fence. Go through gate and walk uphill on broad track to junction with further track. Turn left on this track to reach waymarker, bear right off the track on a faint path uphill. Continue uphill to the summit and                                                    Yeavering Bell Hillfort (GR NT 928293)

 

Leave the hillfort on a downhill path between summits. Where the path begins to ascend, bear right on path leading down to gap in ramparts. The path is now clearly marked as “Hillforts Trail”. On reaching stile to the left of junction of wire fence and stone wall, cross the stile and continue on path alongside the wall. The path then continues downhill to a stile on the right over wall. Cross stile and continue downhill on path to farm track which turns left downhill to ruined barn and a stile. Cross the Stile and continue ahead to reach gravel track. Turn left on the track. On reaching cattle grid with stream on the left, do not cross. Turn right through field gate. Bear half left to walk diagonally across the field uphill to gate in stone wall. Go through gate and turn left to next gate with waymarker. Pass through this gate and bear right uphill to                           St Gregory’s Hillfort (GR NT 916298)

 

From this hillfort retrace the path back to the waymarker, keeping between the waymarker and the gorse bushes descend right towards wall. Just before reaching the wall turn right and follow track down to stream with stepping stones. Cross the stepping stones, turn immediately left and cross ladder stile followed by low fence. Continue straight ahead uphill to waymarker then bear half left to stile over electric fence. Cross stile, turn half right and continue uphill to West Hill Hillfort (GR NT 910296)

 

Leave the hillfort and return downhill to stile over stone wall. Turn left and follow wall to eventually pass through gate. Continue ahead for short distance and at waymarker bear left across field to gate and stile. Cross the stile and turn right onto track. Continue on track through gate and eventually onto tarmac road between houses. On reaching main road (B6351) turn left to Westnewton. After crossing the road bridge turn left along minor road signposted Hethpool

Where the road bears sharply left, continue ahead on track to reach waymarked gate on the right immediately before the wood. Go through this gate and follow fence around the side of the wood to next gate. Go through gate and continue half right across field aiming for a stile on left hand side of woods. Cross this stile and follow path through woods to next stile. Cross stile and turn right alongside stone wall and fence. When the wall bends off to the right at a marker post, pass between the wall and the post to head uphill on track with stream on left. At junction, turn left and head down to stream. Cross stream and continue up to bank top. Turn right and continue with hedge on your left towards ruined cottage and stile over fence. Cross stile, pass the cottage and continue uphill alongside wire fence and wood to fence junction, passing to stiles on right. At fence junction, cross stile, enter wood and follow waymarked path bearing left through wood to stile. Leave wood over stile and continue uphill following waymarkers to The Staw Hill Hillfort (GR NT 885301)

 

From the hillfort, bear left to waymarker, continue straight ahead ove second small rise, bear half left to further waymarker (approximately 100m before corrugated shed). Follow waymarker uphill to Mid Hill Hillfort (GR NT 881295)

 

Leave on a path through the ramparts and head towards the top of gully to pick up faint path on left hand side of gully. Follow this path to descend and cross stream. Continue down gully to reach a broad track. Turn left on track. Just before reaching old hawthorn tree in gorse bushes on right, bear right to small gate in wire fence. Pass through gate and head uphill to                          East Laddie’s Knowe Hillfort (GR NT 883288).

 

Leave in a westerly direction and follow waymarkers to gate at corner of wood. Go through gate and follow path to gate in fence below Haddon Hill. Go through gate and walk uphill on broad track to reach                                          Ring Chesters Hillfort (GR NT 867289)

 

Continue over the top of Ring Chesters on the broad waymarked path and descend to reach a track junction. Turn left and follow track down to reach gate at Elsdon Burn. Go through gate and continue down track for about 0.6 miles to second finger post (Great Hetha ¾ mile).

Leave the road, crossing the stile and the footbridge. Continue uphill on path to the left of wire fence and ruined stone wall to reach stile over stone wall to the left of a gate. DO NOT GO OVER STILE. Turn left and walk to the left of stone wall and then wire fence to reach Little Hetha Hillfort (GR NT 886280)

 

Return alongside the fence and the wall to the stile. Cross the stile and follow waymarked path uphill to Great Hetha Hillfort (GR NT 885274)

 

From the hillfort, return to the waymarker on a broad track, turn leftand follow the track downhill to contour round the hill to a stile over a wire fence. Cross the stile and turn left down the road to Trowupburn Farm. Bear right through the farmyard to pass through two gates. Continue straight ahead uphill on path. Turn left towards stream and then right uphill towards gap in forest ahead. At the top of the hill, go through gate into forest and continue on broad track to reach waymarker on right. Turn left and follow track into forest. On reaching waymarker on left, turn right following waymarked track uphill. On reaching second waymarker, turn left uphill to Sinkside Hillfort (GR NT884262)

 

Return along the same route to the waymarker on the main route near entrance to forest. Turn left downhill to reach stony track. Continue on stony track for about 700m to reach track on right. Continue down this track for 100m to pick up narrow path going left through forest to eventually reach stream. Cross stream then stile over wire fence and follow fence uphill to waymarker. Turn right at waymarker and follow track uphill to                     North Blackhagg Hillfort (GR NT883251)

 

From the hillfort go back down to the waymarker at the bottom of the hill. Turn right and follow the path down to the road. Turn left and follow the road back to the carpark at Hethpool

 

 

Grid Ref

NT

Distance

In miles

Cumulative

distance

Ascent in feet

Cumulative ascent

Hethpool Car Park

894281

 

 

 

 

Hubleton Hill

967283

7.37

7.37

1482

1482

Monday Cleugh

956284

0.85

8.22

230

1712

Akeld

949290

1.02

9.24

260

1972

Yeavering Bell

928293

1.62

10.82

590

2562

St Gregory’s

916298

1.84

12.70

375

2973

West Hill

910296

0.77

13.47

190

3127

The Staw

885301

2.87

16.34

720

3847

Mid Hill

881295

0.50

16.84

100

3947

East Laddie’s Knowe

883288

0.70

17.54

110

4057

Ring Chesters

867289

1.25

18.79

560

4617

Little Hetha

886280

1.70

20.48

330

4947

Great Hetha

885274

0.60

21.09

430

5377

Sinkside

884262

1.75

22.84

690

6067

North Blackhagg

883251

1,30

24.14

584

6651

Hethpool Car Park

894281

1,86

26.00

186

6837

 

 

ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FROM WOOLER

From Wooler Market Place, head northwards along the High Street and bear left onto Burnhouse Rd. Just past the Caravan site and just before the derestriction sign, turn left through a gate into a field. Follow the path across the field to a gate in the hedge. Go through the gate and keep right alongside the hedge to another gate onto the road. Turn left on the road and proceeed to the hamlet of Humbleton. At the junction beside the phone box, turn left onto a track. Immediately after a bungalow on the right, go through a gate and continue on the track, ignoring the signpost  “Gleads Cleugh 11/2 miles”. Continue along the track to reach a gate in a stone wall on the right signposted “Hillfort Trail”. Go through the gate and walk uphill to Humbleton Hillfort.

The Main route can now be followed to North Blackhagg Hillfort

 

NORTH BLACKHAGG TO WOOLER

From the hillfort return to the waymarker at the bottom. Turn right and follow the path down to the road. Turn right and follow the road to the War Memorial at Southernknowe. At the road junction beside the memorial, take the left-hand fork signposted “Southernknowe 1/2  mile”. Proceed along the road, pass Southerknowe, cross a cattlegrid and after about 100m reach a sign on the left “Commonburn House 3 miles”. Turn left off the road and walk uphill in the track. Towards the top of the hill, about 100m past a sheep stell, take the right hand fork.

On reaching the waymarker at NT899247, turn left. At a sliding gate in a wire fence, bear right on a path with the fence on your left. Cross a stile over the fence on your left and turn right on a path with the fence now on your right. After about 100m reach a stile over a wire fence with a sign “Commonburn 13/4 miles”. Cross the stile, pass a sheep stell and after 150m, carry on past a path junction with a waymarker. At the second junction with a waymarker, continue straight ahead on a broad path. Ignore any paths to the right or the left until the top of the last rise where Commonburn house comes into view. Continue downhill to a path junction, turn left initially towards a wood, go through a gate in a wire fence and continue on the path.

The path now gradually moves away from the wood and heads for a copse at Commonburn House. Just before a gate beside the copse, turn left off the track to a stile over the fence. Cross the stile and go over the field to reach a farm track and turn left onto the track. Continue on this track past a farm entrance. Cross the cattle grid and continue ahead, ignoring any pathe to the right or left. The path eventually becomes a road  and on the outskirts of Wooler becomes Common Road, leading back into the Market Place as Ramsey Lane

 

Grid ref NT

Distance

In miles

Cumulative

Ascent in feet

Cumulative

Wooler to Humbleton Hillfort

967283

2.0

2.0

786ft

786ft

Humbleton to North Blackhagg

883251

16.8

18.8

5169ft

5955ft

North Blackhagg to Wooler

991277

9.2

28

1147ft

7196ft

 

For those who wish it, a completion certificate is available from the Official Recorder. Please send a brief report including times to each Hillfort to

Ron Chambers

8, Handley Cross, Consett, Durham. DH8 6TZ

Enclosing a stamped addressed C5 (162mmx229mm) for the return of the certificate plus a loose first class stamp to cover costs