Bellingham (pronounced Belling-jum) is in the North Tyne valley, close to the A68 and Kielder Resevoir, about 30 miles north-west of Newcastle.
A walk of about 1 hour up the North Tyne from Bellingham village. The village has small shops, cafes and pubs.
The other Bellingham walk at Hareshaw Linn is arguably prettier and more interesting, but this walk is easier and at the start, more disabled friendly.
Travelling from Newcastle or Carlisle, take the A69, then turn off up the A68 and follow this road north for about 12 miles. Turn left at the Sweethope Lough crossroad, signposted 'Redesmouth, Bellingham' and follow this road for 5 miles through Redesmouth into Bellingham village. You can usually park in the centre of the village, but if there are no spaces, try the car park at the edge of the village on the Kielder road.
From the east, say the Alnwick area, head to Rothbury and on to Otterburn then turn left just after the shop in Otterburn village. This will bring you to the A68 where you cross over for Bellingham.
From Scotland, Jedburgh area, head south down the A68, turn right on the B6320, at the crossroads about 2 miles south of the A68 / A696 junction. Follow this road right down into Bellingham village.
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Depending on where you park, find your way to the village square in the centre of the village, by the Rose and Crown pub. Follow Boat Road downhill, then keep right past the garage near the bottom of the street. This road will lead you to the river, where you turn right and walk upstream . The path runs up between the village and the river until it reaches the children's play area, the site of the alternate car park. It then runs under the Chollerford road bridge. A little further upriver you will see a large hotel on the edge of Bellingham.
Now the path narrows, and might be difficult for the disabled.
however you will see excellent views of the North Tyne from the river bank.
There is a style as you reach a wooded area, which can probably be bypassed, but it was very overgrown in early August. The path runs on through the wood, narrow in places, and sometimes you need to divert around fallen trees. The path then enters an open, grassy area, and diverts to a gate that leads into a field. You may want to turn back here, or you can carry on walking along the edge of the field, then through a very short wood, where there are steps that lead up to the road. At this point, the official path runs by the side of the road from Bellingham to Kielder, so it is not really suitable for dog walking. So you have to retrace your steps, noticing, as you enter the village again, the pretty flowers by the path. About half way into the village, you will see a pathway heading up a steep flight of steps. Cuddy's well, or St. Cuthbert's well, is at the foot of these steps. If you climb the steps they will take you back to the village square.
St Cuthbert crops up a few times on this site. He was the bishop of Lindisfarne, but he was known for spreading Christianity all through the North East. In Bellingham, he is credited with finding a well containing pure, clear water. This well is near this walk, just below St Cuthbert's Church and is known locally as Cuddy's Well.
No mediaeval religous shrine can exist without miracles, and Cuddy's well has three, all associated with a bridge-builder called Sproich.
Missing church was a serious affair, and one day on the feast day of St Lawrence, Sproich's daughter Eda decided to miss church to sew up a dress. The result was that her left hand siezed up holding the dress. She then took a drink from Cuddy's well and saw an apparition of St Cuthbert, who cured her paralysis.
On Eda's wedding day, a Bailiff seized Sproich's cow to pay off a debt. The cow was given to another tenant, but his house was struck by lightning. The cow survived unscathed!
A certain thief called Walter of Flanders came with an accomplice and stole Sproich's axe. The axe then turned on the pair and killed them both.
Cuddy's well was originally an open pool, but in Georgian times is was converted to the 'Pant' that you see there today. 'Pant' is a Northumbrian word used to describe a public fountain, where the villages came for thier fresh water in the days before water was piped to individual houses. If you want to see more pants, visit Alnwick, which is home to about 9.
The water from the pant is still used for baptisms today, but if you are in the area and you see the odd stray cow or axe around, best to leave well alone.
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