Scot's Gap is a small village about 12 miles west of Morpeth, and quite close to Wallington Hall and Bolam Lakes.
A 3 hour walk along two abandoned railway lines, and through woods, fields and farm tracks. There are no facilites on route. High stiles exist on this route, with no openings for dogs to pass under, so the full walk is not suitable for large dogs, only those that can be lifted over stiles. This walk can be muddy in places and several trees blew down in Storm Arwen, November 2021. It is possible to get past these trees, but is sometimes difficult. You will also need to cross fields that might contain sheep, so your dog would have to be on a lead.
Given all these problems why would you want to walk your dog here? Well, it is a very attractive walk, but if you wish you can do the first part of the walk up the Rothbury line, and maybe part way through the Delf burn plantation. That bit is easy enough and is still a decent walk.
Postcode for Satnav - NE61 4AR
From Newcastle, travel 20 miles north on the A696, airport/Ponteland road, then turn off on the B6342 to Cambo. Turn right in Cambo and follow this road for a couple of miles into Scots Gap. You can park just on the left as you enter the village, in the old National Trust Regional Office. This is a large, abandoned stone mansion with shuttered windows. Drive through the courtyard and the car park is on the left. Coming from Morpeth, take the Mitford road at the north end of town and drive 10 miles west on the B6343 to Scots Gap. The car park is on the right at the other end of the village
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Starting from the car park behind the former National Trust Regional Offices, take the path behind the building, then up by a field. Turn down the steps on the right to the old Wannnie line. Walk up the line for a few yards until you reach a fork, then take the right hand path on the Rothbury line. This railway path crosses over the Hart burn and a road on two bridges, then reaches the Delf Burn. Here you will see a waymarker on your left, where you leave the Rothbury line and go down to the burn.
Walk over the field above the burn to a gateway that leads into the Delf Burn plantation, where you walk by the stream, then through a wood. Several trees blew down in this wood in 2021, and the original path is blocked in places, but it is possible to get past. You eventually exit the wood through a gate and into a field. Head towards the large beech avenue on the right, then cross over two fields, keeping parallel to that beech avenue. You will see the gates in the hedges, about 100 yards from the trees. A the end of the second field, cross a stile then go down a few steps into an old quarry. Turn left and walk up into the quarry as far as some old lime kilns where the path turns right and follows a wall up to a gate at the top of the quarry. Go though the gate and turn left then right down an old farm lonnen towards an old byre.
Go through a gate and turn left, then follow the field edge down to a roadway. Cross the road and through a gate on the other side, then carry on through a field, with a wall on your right. The pathway now goes over another field and is unmarked, but you can see the lie of it as it follows a line of trees. At the end of the trees, the path turns left down the side of an old wall and reaches a farm road, where you turn right, and follow that road over the Hart burn and past a cottage. Turn left just after the cottage, and follow a path over a field and down to a small bridge over a burn. The path through these fields is unmarked, so generally keep on the left side of the fence and avoid any livestock.
Now follow this path up to a stile at the top of the hill, and down the other side, where the path crosses a ditch. Here there is a very high, steep stile and is probably a 2 person job to get a dog over it. The path now goes up to a small wood and runs between the wood and the field.
Continue to follow the path up and down, alongside another wood, then down to another stream which you cross on a wide wooden bridge.
Take the small gate on the right, then the path up to the Wanny Line. Turn left along the line, but at this point, the line runs though a cutting, and Storm Arwen brought a lot of trees down in the cutting, so it is best to follow the pathway above the railway track. Follow the line along until it drops down to cross a road, where the old bridge was removed. Cross the road and go back up to the line and walk along the where the trains used to run under another road, but that bridge is filled in. There is a large hawthorn tree fallen over the steps that go up to the road, (Jan 2022) so scramble around it, cross the road, back down to the track, then you have a nice easy walk back to the point where the railways fork, then back to Scot's Gap.
These railways were built to service the Wallington Estate and were intended to supply farm produce to Tyneside, as well as a small amount of passenger traffic. The Wannie line ran from Morpeth to Redesmouth on the river Tyne, with a branch line at Scots' Gap running up to Rothbury. The Wannie line opened in 1862, and the Rothbury line in 1870. Both lines were closed by 1966.
There was a train crash in 1875, close to where you leave the Rothbury line and go down to the Delf Burn. This was a mixed goods and passenger train and it derailed and fell down the embankment. The tran was carrying workmen who were working on Rothley Lake House. Three workmen and the guard were killed, and several people injured, including three members of the Robinson family from Scot's Gap.
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