A short walk around Holystone in Upper Coquetdale.
The walk starts in a forestry commision car park, to a Roman watering hole, through a picturesque village, then back to the car park. No facilities on route.
How to get there
Postcode for Satnav - NE65 7AX.
Head west out of Rothbury on the B6341 through Thropton, then turn left at Flotterton farm, signposted Sharperton, Harbottle. Follow this road through Sharperton, then turn right just after you cross over the river Coquet, signposted Holystone. At Holystone, turn right into the village, then keep left along a short but narrow road that leads you to a forestry commission car park. There is no sensible car parking in the village itself.
Click here to see a detailed OS routemap of the walk. It will open in a new tab.
Park under the trees, then head back towards the roadway and turn left past the notice board. Follow this forestry path for a short distance until you see a small path on the right heading through the woods. Take this path out of the woods and over a field, towards the walled enclosure ahead. Turn right and follow the enclosure round until you reach the entrance to the well, then take a look inside.
Come out of the well enclosure again, and follow the trackway down to the village. You will then be able to walk along the roadway back to your car.
This is a short, and quite easy walk. There are many other, longer walks through the woods if you wish to go further.
The Romans built 2 major roads through Northumberland, both starting at Corbridge on the Wall; Dere Street to Melrose and the Devil's Causeway to Berwick on Tweed. These 2 roads are joined by another road, which runs from Dere Street at Rochester to join the Devil's Causeway beside Whittingham. This link road runs over the high moors, and passes just above Holystone. We meet the same road on the Callaly Castle walk.
The Romans used the natural spring at Lady's well as a watering hole, and it may well have been them who enlarged and enclosed the spring to give it its present shape.
The famous border saint, St Ninian is credited as having babtised several heathens into the Christian faith at this well, but he is associated with a lots of wells like this in the area.
The name "Lady's Well" first came into use in the first half of the 12th. century when Holystone became the home of a priory of Augustinian canonesses dedicated to St. Mary the virgin. The well was repaired and adorned with a cross, and the statue was brought from Alnwick in the 18th. or 19th. centuries.