Walking around Wooler, Northumberland
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Wooler is positioned on the edge of the Northumberland National Park and is rightly a popular base for walkers. It is a fantastic location from which to explore The Cheviots - a range of distinctive, rounded hills that mark the border between Scotland and England. Providing a 'rain shadow', The Cheviots also make Wooler one of the driest towns in England.
Mountain walks near Wooler
The Cheviot itself is perhaps the most iconic landmark in the local hills. It's the highest summit and has stunning views to Holy Island - one of the best views in England. The 'easiest' way to walk The Cheviot is from the Harthope Burn Valley 2 or 3 miles South of Wooler, from which you can also walk Hedgehope Hill and Comb Fell, two more tops that qualify to be included in the six official Mountains in The Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park. The other three are Windy Gyle, Cushat Law and Bloodybush Edge.
The Cheviot can also be accessed from nearby Hethpool at the head of College Valley about 5 miles West of Wooler towards the Scottish Border. Surrounded by crowd free hills topped by ancient hilltop forts Hethpool also offers access to The Pennine Way as it meanders from the The Cheviot along the England - Scotland border before descending to finish (or start) at Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.
Or perhaps you would like to walk sections of The St Cuthbert's Way a 100km (62 miles) linear footpath waymarked by a Celtic Cross that connects Melrose Abbey in The Borders, Scotland with Holy Island (Lindisfarne) in Northumberland and passes through Hethpool and Wooler on the way.
More gentle walks from Wooler
If walking up mountains is not your thing (or you are looking for a more relaxing day after a fine day in the hills) there are a variety of footpaths and bridleways from Wooler itself (see below) that make the surrounding hills so accessible. There is some tremendous walking on the hills, but the lower lying, Milfield Plain is great for families. Just make sure you visit Careyburn Bridge which has a number of burn or riverside walks including several options for following Colgate Water through Happy Valley.
Around and about Wooler
Whether you opt for a hill-walk or for lower terrain, a walk in Wooler's surrounding area can show you remains from 5000 years of human history in one day - from Iron and Bronze Age forts through to Anglo Saxon and early Christianity remains. Life around Wooler hasn't always been quiet.
Tradition has it that the Milfield Plain was the place where King Arthur fought the first of his 12 legendary battles against the Anglo Saxons.
Humbleton Hill is mentioned in the opening scenes of one of the country's greatest literary works, Shakespeare's s Henry IV
In August 1513 another battle took place on Milfield Plain near Wooler, in which an army of Scots were heavily defeated. The English knew however, that this was only a `warm up' for a greater battle which would inevitably follow.
The site of the Battle of Flodden, the most influential and last battle between England and Scotland during the reign of Henry VIII, is located eight miles away near Branxton. According to local legend, at Flodden Field, the 15th Century battle site, the ghostly echo of clashing sword and battle cry can still be heard to this day. Its 500th anniversary is being celebrated on 9th September 2013.
Milfield also has a Second World War airfield where apparently Dirk Bogarde was stationed.
Wildlife lovers will also find much to enjoy as kingfishers, otters, red squirrels, deer and feral goats all inhabit the surrounding areas.
Other things to see and do in Wooler
Once back in Wooler you'll find a good mix of places to eat and drink from cafes and delis to a number of upmarket restaurants, including Milan, rated as 4* by AA Gill in the Sunday Times‚ Style review. The town's St Mary's Church dating back to 1764 was extended in 1913 and boasts notable Victorian windows in the nave and a fine 20th Century stained glass in the sanctuary.
Walks from Wooler in Northumberland National Park, Northumberland
Route Summary: - Wooler, The St Cuthbert's Way, Waud House, Kenterdale Hill, Wooler Common, Switcher Wood, Earlhillhead Farm, Carey Burn, Careyburn Bridge, Harthope Burn, Colgate Water (Low Level Route), Skirl Naked, Grimping Haugh, Broom Crook Plantation, Happy Valley, Careyburn Bridge, Colgate Mill, Earle Mill, Wooler Water, Wooler.
Route Summary: - Wooler, The St Cuthbert's Way, Waud House, Kenterdale Hill, Wooler Common, Switcher Wood, Earlhillhead Farm, Carey Burn, Careyburn Bridge, Harthope Burn, Colgate Water (High Level Route), Happy Valley, Middleton Old Town, North Middleton, Colgate Mill, Colgate Water, Earle Mill, Wooler Water, Wooler.
Route Summary: - Wooler, The St Cuthbert's Way, Weetwood Bank, Weetwood Moor, River Till, Weetwood Bridge, Weetwood Hall, Weetwood Hill, Broomy Knowe, Shepherds House, Dod Law, Doddington Moor, Doddington, River Till, St Cuthbert's Bridge, Milfield Plain, River Glen, Bridge End, Bowchester, Low Humbleton, Gallowlaw Hill, Gallowlaw, Wooler.
Route Summary: - Wooler, The St Cuthbert's Way, Waud House, Kenterdale Hill, Wooler Common, Carey Burn, Broadstruthers Burn, Commonburn House, Wackerage Cairn, Tom Tallon's Crag, The St Cuthbert's Way, Gleadscleugh, Akeld Burn, Humbleton, Gallowlaw, Wooler.
For more walks not far from Wooler see:
- Walks from Careyburn Bridge
- Walks from Harthope Burn Valley
- Walks from Hethpool
- Walks on The St Cuthbert's Way
- Walks on The Pennine Way
- Walks around Wooler displayed on a Google Map