Northumberland-Walks.co.uk - photographic walks in Northumberland.
Holburn Grange - St. Cuthbert's Cave - Swinhoe Lakes - St. Cuthbert's Way - Holburn Grange.
This walk of just under 6 miles boasts tremendous views of the Northumberland Countryside for its entire length. It also takes in a site of historical importance - St. Cuthbert's Cave.
The walk is mostly on tracks except for the section that follows St. Cuthbert's Way which crosses open moorland.
The walk starts at Holburn Grange which is about 6 miles north of Chatton in North Northumberland.
There is a small grassy car park just beyond the farm buildings and cottages. (No toilets here - nearest, probably Wooler).
Leave the car park and turn left up a grass track which heads directly towards Greensheen Hill.
he further up this lane you get the better the views are over your shoulder to the Cheviot Hills.
When you reach the top of this lane turn right after you pass through a gate.
From here, follow the path past some gorse thickets until you reach a gate at the edge of the forest.
Pass through the gate and walk along the track. After a short while there is a sign to the left to St. Cuthbert's Cave. Make a short detour from here to visit the cave (or you can wait until you pass by on the return journey).
The cave is said to have been a resting place for the body of St. Cuthbert on it's journey from Holy Island to Durham Cathedral.
Return back to the track along the edge of the forest and continue with fine views of the Cheviot Hills to your right.
After a short while there is another detour worth making. This time to the rock buttresses at Cockenheugh.
These appear in a clearing in the forest and some of them are strangely shaped. Two look as if they are laughing or singing even (if you use a little imagination and the light is right).
After you return to the main track continue along and follow it through the forest. The track climbs a little here and when you emerge from the forest there are fine views ahead as far as the Northumberland Coast.
From here the track leads downhill past some old cottages called Dick's Oldwalls towards Swinhoe Farm. The track passes through farmland in complete contrast to the last section but has superb scenery nevertheless.
At Swinhoe Farm turn left along what could be described as "the perfect country lane" towards Swinhoe Lakes at a left turn of the track.
The lakes are private but the edge of one of them by the road can be seen through the trees for a photo.
The track enters another forest here and starts to gain height until eventually it emerges from the forest by some crags to the right in spring this area is ablaze with gorse.
Proceed past the crags until you reach a track and gate.
From here there are superb views to the coast and Holy Island.
Don't go through the gate, except to admire the view. Instead turn left, almost doubling back on yourself.
This footpath is part of St. Cuthbert's Way.
Follow the path over the open moorland and up towards the crags on Greensheen Hill.
Keep to the edge of the forest though when you get closer to the crags.
From here you can either cross a stile which leads you down a steep path (which can be slippery) to St. Cuthbert's Cave.
Or, proceed downhill to your right. In either event you will rejoin your original route and proceed back down the grassy lane to the car park.
To see larger photos please visit Northumberland Cam