Lots of good walks, some short and easy through a large forest, some long and very difficult up and down steep cliff paths.
Nothing much in the way of facilities, just good forest walks.
Some of the forestry commission paths should be OK for wheelchairs, but the walk described below is most definitely not disabled friendly.
How to get there
Postcode for Satnav - NE66 2BT
This is the post code for New Moor House, at the crossroads of the A697 and the Alnwick-Rothbury road.
Travelling from the South, leave the A1 just north of Morpeth and head up the A697 towards Wooler. About 5 miles north of Lonframlington you will come to New Moor House at the Rothbury/Alnwick crossroads.
About 600m past this crossroads the main road bears right while a small single track road carries on. Take this road and drive down the hill and up the other side, where you will find a large car park in the trees at the top of the hill. This track is build on an old Roman road known locally as the Devil's Causeway.
Travelling from the North, leave the A1 at Alnwick and then take the B6341 Rothbury road for about 10 miles up to the New Moor House Crossroads with the A697. Turn right then follow the instructions above.
Click here to see a detailed OS routemap of the walk. It will open in a new tab.
This walk starts at the main car park and more or less follows the 'red walk'. However there are several places where you can park, and lots of other walk options. The 'forest roads' mentioned below are forestry commission tractor tracks, usually made with red stone chippings and easily walked along. The 'forest paths' are simple narrow unmade paths through the trees, and are usually rough and more difficult to walk on.
Starting from the main car park, go the the forest entrance forest roadway at the top of the car park and within 100 yards of entering the forest you will see a pathway on the right up through the forest. Take this path until it joins another forest road, turn right and follow the road until it comes to a 'T' junction.
At this point you will see another path through the forest, opposite the road you just walked down. Take this path and follow it down a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill you will find another forest road. Turn left and follow the forest road along the bottom of the forest for a long way, maybe 3/4 of a mile. Wederburn's hole is about half way along this road. It is signposted on the left and is a steep climb half way up the hill. Continuing along the forest road, as the road starts to climb and bear right, you will see a red marker post with the arrow pointing straight on. About 100 yards past this marker there is a forest path on the left that climbs up the hill. Take this quite steep climb and you will find a smaller forest road, halfway up the hill.
Turn left here and follow the road along. It slowly peters out until it eventually becomes a forest path that follows an old ruined wall for some distance, then heads right up the hillside again. This is a really steep, long climb.
At the top of this climb you will find the forest road that runs along the top of the cliffs. Turn left down the road and follow it until you see a path that heads up hill again on the right. This one is marked with a red arrow. Follow this path past a large rock then up and over the hill until you come to another forest road. Turn left and this road will take you back to the car park.
The Eastern side of Thrunton woods has little to write about, apart from tracks through the forestry commission trees, but the Western side does have some interesting features.
Wedderburn's Hole, located at map reference E407683, N609945 is named after a local highwayman and cattle rustler called Thomas Wedderburn, who used it as a hiding place from the local law enforcers. They eventually tracked him back to his cave and when he refused to surrender they smoked him out by pouring burning oil into the cave entrace. When he emerged from the cave he was shot. His initials are carved into the cave entrace.
Further into the forest, at map reference E406073, N609415 you will find Macartney's cave, sometimes called the Priest's Cave. Macartney was a chaplain at Callaly Castle. He may have used the cave to escape persecution, but it was more likely used as a solitary retreat or oratory.