A circular walk of about 3 miles, through woods and fields then down to a stream. Can be muddy at times.
The walk starts and ends at the 13th century Felton church. Felton village has a tea room, a pub and a village shop. The walk itself has no real facilities, just fields, woods and a river.
Postcode for Satnav - NE65 9HP
Felton is situated just off the A1 road, about 10 miles north of Morpeth and 9 miles south of Alnwick. Turn off the A1 into Felton then take the main road through the village until you come to the bridge over the river. You then turn left just over the bridge heading north, or right heading south, follow the road round to the right then take a left hand turn up a steep hill. You should be able to park your car near the church at the top.
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Starting from the church, head along the road on the right for a short distance until you see a footpath marker going down into the woods. Follow the path down and after about 100 yards, it forks into two, with one path continuing down and the other going back up into the woods. Take the upper, left hand path and follow it to the end of the wood. You will come out at a farm building, back on the roadway again.
Follow the farm track down to the right and it eventually goes under the A1. Now head up on the left again and on the right at the top of the hill you will see a gateway with a public foot path sign on it. The path now disappears into a field, with no clear indication of where the path goes. This field is a long thin rectangle and often has sheep in it, so keep your dog on a lead and try to keep away from them. You are at the South-East corner of it and the other end of the path is diagonally opposite at the North-West corner. My suggestion is to continue along the farm road at the top of the field towards the old farmhouse in the North East corner of the field (called Longfield Cottage), then before you get to the farm, cut over to the woods that line the northern side of the field and follow them down to the North West corner. Here you will find a style over the fence and a small path that takes you down to a trackway through the forest.
Turn right onto the trackway and after a short distance you will see the public footpath signs pointing to a path on the left. Follow this path down to Swarland Burn where it meets the River Coquet and over a footbridge you will see a good place for dogs to play in the water.
When they have had enough, retrace your steps back up the hill to the trackway, but instead of going up the path to the field, follow the trackway back along the river bank, through a field and eventually back to your car.
If you wanted a longer walk, the public path continues on beyond Swarland burn, and after several miles will take you to the Angler's Arms at Weldon Bridge.
Felton Park was created in about 1225 by Roger de Bertram, who lived at Mitford castle near Morpeth. The park stretched from the church to Swarland Burn, and from the River Coquet up to the Park wood, the wood that lies North of Longfield cottage. The park was enclosed by a ditch and a bank, with a six foot high pallisade built on top of the bank and the locals were not allowed inside. The park was used by de Bertram for deer hunting, a symbol of high status in the 13th century.
Like most of the deer parks created in England at this time it was oval shaped and quite small so it could be quickly covered on horseback The hunt was probably more of a social occasion than a wild chase on horseback.
The deer park survived for less than one hundred years before it fell into disuse, probably down the a combination of English armies marching North and Scots raiding South during the Scottish wars of independence.
The name Felton Park survives today as the large house beyond the church. This is built on the site of an old manor house and holds an interesting green house which is Grade II listed and is currently being restored.
We do not know exactly when Felton church was built, but it was probably about 1120 - 900 years ago. Some of that original Norman church still survives but it was extended and modified quite a lot over the years. This Norman church replaced an earlier wooden Saxon chapel, which may have been inside the Felton Park enclosure.
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