Humbleton hill is just north of Wooler, and accessed from Wooler Common
A moderate, 90 minute walk on high moors. Good walking shoes are advised.
Two stiles on route, but both can be bypassed though gates. Sheep may be on the hillsides, and if so a leader will be necessary.
Postcode for Satnav - NE71 6RJ. This is for Low Common Farm, which is on the right of the single track road described below. Don't turn right to the farm, continue along the road.
This walk starts at the Wooler Common car park. Drive into Wooler up The Peth, which from the South is left just over the bridge, and from the North, right just before the bridge. At the top of the bank you will see a small square with cafes. Turn second left here up Ramsey Lane and follow this road up out of Wooler into the hills. The road becomes single track as it leaves the town so proceed with caution. It goes round a couple of sharp bends, then at the end of a long straight you will see a forestry commission lorry park on the right hand side. Just past this, there is a visitor car park, also on the right hand side.
Click here to see a routemap of the walk. It will open in a new tab.
Take the path out of the car park to the left of the notice board. After about 100 yards, take the signposted path that leads up into the woods on the left. and climb up to the top. Go through the gate, and head straight on over a grassy area between a couple of hillocks. Be aware that this area in infested by rabbits, which might prove too much temptation for some dogs. At the end of the grassy area you will find another gate, then you meet a path running crosswise.
Turn left here and head uphill over some moorland. After some distance you come to another gate, which leads into heather moorland, where you will see loads of grouse in the autumn. Carry on up the moorland, until you reach a marker post in the heather.
Turn right here and head downhill, with broad views of the Millfield plain in front of you. About half way down the hill, you come to a stile, but you can chose to open the gate beside it if you wish, so no need to lift your dog over. Next, you will see a marked path off on the right, which leads up and over Humbleton hill.
On the map, this looks like a short cut back, but I suspect it will be longer, and certainly more strenuous that walking round the hill.
So we carried on down hill until the pathway turned right at the bottom. There was a lot of sheep on this part of the walk, in places standing in the middle of a narrow path, so we gave them plenty of time to get out of our way. The path now winds its way along the bottom of Humbleton hill, probably in the area where the battle of Homilton Hill was fought as mentioned below. The path eventually goes through a gateway into a small field, then meets a rought stony pathway. Turn right up this pathway, and climb a short but steep hill until you reach that gate that leads back into the rabbit area. Turn left here, and follow the path back to your car.
One of the many battles between England and Scotland was fought on the lower slopes of Humbleton Hill in 1402. It even gets a mention in Shakespear's Henry IV, though he calls it Homildon hill. The Earl of Douglas led a large Scottish army on a raid into Northumberland, devastating the county as far south as Newcastle. Heading home with their loot, they were intercepted by an English force from Bamburgh castle at Millfield. The English army was led by Henry Percy and his son Harry Hotspur Percy. As an aside, Harry Hotspur later owned some land in north London, from which comes the name Tottenham Hotspur.
Declining to meet the English on the plain at Millfield, Douglas positioned his 'schiltrons' on the more defensive slopes of Humbleton, but they were decimated by the English longbows. This was a major Scottigh defeat, with many nobles and men killed. Douglas was captured, but eventually released by Hotspur, as Henry IV would not ransom him.
There is very large hillfort on top of Humbleton hill, with 3 meter thick walls that must originally have been several meters high. It was originally built in the Bronze age, or maybe even the Neolithic, and may have lasted until after the Romans, a span of several thousans of years.
Tap or Click on the Icon to see a picture of each walk. Click below the picture to visit the walk page.