A walk up Clennel Street in the Cheviots, from Alwinton. Up till now I've not covered walks in the Cheviots very much, as the hills are alive with the sound of sheep bleating and so not too dog friendly. However the views on this walk do make up for the inconvenience of keeping your dog on a lead.
The walk starts in a Northumberland National Park car park, then climbs uphill towards the Cheviot. you could walk right to the Scottish border and beyond if you have the time and energy. Poo bins and toilets at the car park, which costs £2 for 2 hours. There is a high stile near the start of the walk, with a gate that can be opened, but the spring loaded catch is stiff.
Postcode for Satnav - NE65 7BQ.
Head west out of Rothbury on the B6341 through Thropton, then turn left at Flotterton farm, signposted Sharperton, Alwinton. Follow this road through Sharperton and Harbottle villages to Alwinton village. Turn left in the village and you will find the National Parks car park on the right.
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Head back from the car park into the village and over the green to the small footbridge over the burn. Turn left and follow the road around until you almost reach a farmyard, where you turn right up the rough track between hedges. This track is very stony at the start, but improves as you climb uphill. At the top you find a high stile, with a gate on the left. It is possible to lift a small dog over the stile, but big dogs will need to go through the gate, which has a stiff, spring loaded catch.
Now follow Clennel Street as it winds uphill, and passes the white painted Clennel Cottage.
Unfortunately this is sheep country so dogs need to be on leads. As you climb you will see excellent views of the Coquet valley on your right, and bleak moorland views on your left, and in front you will glimpse the Cheviot, here with the summit shrouded in cloud.
After quite a climb, the road dips down into a boggy valley, and passes through another gate, with a wood on your left. The Street then climbs up onto another small hill, from the top of which you see Kidlandlee forest ahead and right. At this point, we had been walking for an hour, and with a 2 hour ticket on the car, decided to turn back. We could see the trackway running away in the distance. We had probably travelled a quarter of the distance to the Scottish border, so if you fancy going all the way, plan for a full day out, and a very tired dog. The walk back downhill was much faster, which just left time for a quick pint at the Rose and Thistle in the village.
Clennell Street is an ancient trading route that probably dates back to the Bronze Age, linking the upper Tweed valley with the Coquet and Wansbeck valleys. The Anglo-Saxons used the route and called it Ermspeth, meaning Eagle's Path.
In mediaeval times a local family called Clennel gave it the modern name. It was one of the trackways used to drive cattle to market, in this case from Kelso to Morpeth.
poo bins available
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