A medium walk of 2-3 miles beside Hartford Bridge, just north west of Cramlington.
A walk through a wooded country park, with a visitor centre and cafe.
Postcode for Satnav - NE22 6AN
Plessey Woods Country Park is on the A192 which runs from Morpeth to Cramlington. From Cramlington centre, take the A1172 which runs past the station, turn left at the second roundabout, then right at the next roundabout, signposted Plessey. Follow this road down over Hartford Bridge, take the left turn and the country park is on top of the hill on your left. Coming from Morpeth, head south past the old castle, then go straight on up the hill at the roundabout (the main road turns right). Follow this road for about 5 miles until you come to Hartford Bridge village. You will see the country park signposted on your right. There is a car parking charge but the first hour is free. However the longer walk might take more than an hour.
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The country park is in two parts. The lower park is centred around Pegwhistle burn and is a maze of small pathways and bridges. This bit is ideal for kids so it gets a bit busy when the schools are off. The upper area involves a long walk above the river Blyth, then back by the river and is much quieter. This page describes the quiet, but longer walk.
So, starting from the car park, head down past the visitor centre and past the owl sculpture until you reach a small stream. Cross over the stream and keep to your right up through the woods until you reach a field. Turn through the gate here and take the narrow footpath which runs beside the field. At the end of this path, the main pathway runs down to the river, but bear right onto a smaller path, and follow this path which runs along the top of the steep river bank, for about a mile or so until it eventually bends left and goes down to the river. Now follow the river path back along. After maybe another mile you come to a long flight of wooden steps leading back up the hill. You can climb these, and they will lead you back to the top of the bank and the path back to the visitor centre, or you can carry on by the river until you come to the Pegwhistle burn, then make you way back up from there.
If you try the alternative walk by Pegwhistle burn, you might walk past an old quarry. Apparently the stone from Hartford quarry was used to repair the Houses of Parliament and two of the London bridges. Later, the quarry was used as two walls of a house. You can see the square holes up the quarry face that supported the floor and ceiling beams, and you will see that this was a 3 storey house. The upper storey was used as a sweet shop, as it faced onto the Morpeth road and was in use in the 1940s.
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