The Location

A walk of approximately 4 miles in Chopwell Woods. Now Chopwell is actually in Tyne and Wear, but is very close to the Northumberland border and has a very rural feel.

What's there

A varied walk in woodland, with no facilities. Steep and muddy in places.

How to get there

Postcode for Satnav - NE39 2AG .
The official car park is not too easy to find. Take the B6315 which runs up from Rowlands Gill to High Spen. As you enter the Hookergate area of High Spen you see a small row of shops on the right, with an old post box embedded in a shop wall. Turn left here on the road marked as a dead end, and follow it into the woods and to the car park. This road is very narrow, with passing places, so care is needed.
An alternative, unofficial car park is at Linzford Mill on the B694 from Rowlands Gill to Hamsterley. As you come into Linzford, you can park on the old road that runs parallel to the main road, and by some strange co-incidence, there is an old post box embedded in a wall here too.

The Walk

Click here to see a routemap of the walk. It will open in a new tab. There are a number of colour coded walks through the wood. This walk broadly follows the southern part of the boundary, or green walk, which is signposted from the car park. So head downhill behind the notice board and past the picnic area on the pitman's ride. Now you see the green route pointing uphill to run along the top of a ridge.
At the end of the ridge you turn left past a scupture of a hand, then follow the beech avenue.
Follow this path down the hill, and then over the Pallis burn, then turn right and follow the burn downstream. You can see the remains of water settling tanks for some old paper making works where the path re-crosses the Pallis burn.
Now keep to the left and follow the green route as it runs above the river Derwent, then swings back uphill again.
Keep going uphill until you come the 'coal tub' lane then follow that path, which eventually joins the road and leads you back to the car park.

If you start from Linzford mill, cross over the road and take the 'red kite' walk through the little gate. Follow this path up past a field and into the wood, where you join the main path at the bottom of Pallis burn.

A hand sculpture in Chopwell wood

History

A 5th century Anglo-Saxon chief called Ceoppa lived in the area, and he may have given his name to Chopwell. In more historic times, Chopwell was part of the territories of the prince-bishops of Durham and in 1150 Bishop Pudsey did a swap with the Abbot of Newminster in Morpeth, exchanging Chopwell for the Manor of Washington. The Cistercian monks from Newminster Abbey built a a monastic grange at Chopwell and a ferry near Ryton to access the timber in Chopwell, and kept possession of it until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536.
This means that Chopwell wood has been a managed woodland for about 900 years, and was an important source of timber, mainly oak, for shipbuilding. The first ship that we know about was a warship built for King Edward I at Newcastle in the late 11th century. In 1639, King Charles I felled more than 2,000 oak trees from Chopwell, as part of the timber required to build his huge flagship, the Sovereign of the Seas.
After the dissolution of the monasteries, the wood became crown property, and timber was used to repair several castles in the area, notably Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Norham.

Chopwell was more than just a source of timber though. Coal was mined as early as the 13th century, right up until 1966.
The paper mills in the Derwent Valley needed a source of clean water, and you can still see the remains of the settling tanks at the southern edge of the wood, which supplied clean water from Pallis burn to a mill in Lintzford.

Facilities on this Walk


poo bins available

Walks Near Here

Tap or Click on the Icon to see a picture of each walk. Click below the picture to visit the walk page.

Comments

Friends of Chopwell Wood -       23/11/2023 14.43
Pallis Burn not pullis. No poo bins in the woodland. Hands sculpture is due to be replaced with a new version.


Admin -       2/1/2024 16.3
Name now corrected. Sorry for the time this has taken, been a busy 2 months.