Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Meandered off the Wall to Bellingham, it's about 10 miles from the Once Brewed Visitor Centre and one of the stopping places on the Pennine Way Walk. A thriving small Northumbrian Market Town although the cattle market is no longer there, there are pubs, cafe's and shops.
Fortunately I hadn't gone there to look for cows, but to walk to Hareshaw Linn a lovely waterfall at the head of a wooded gorge.
Managed by the Northumberland National Park Authority who have provide a small car park at the start of the walk, although if you find a spot in Bellingham keep it, as the walk starts just over the bridge by Barclays Bank, a five minute walk from the main street.
There's a picnic site with access to a small and very pretty waterfall, just before you enter the gorge proper. Much of the track has been paved at this point so you can look around without fear of tripping over tree roots, a perpetual hazard for photographers and nature lovers alike.
And nature lovers can happily rummage around looking at mosses and ferns, listening to bird song and enjoying many wildflowers. If like my husband you like to examine droppings and tracks then you'll be a happy bunny! Please remember this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and don't be tempted to take samples home.
The wood itself hasn't been particularly 'managed' probably a policy of NNPA so there are lots of scrubby bushes and fallen trees, great for wildlife habitats but not so good for open views.
The first time I visited Hareshaw Linn, some 20 years ago it was a very strenuous walk, if the weather had been bad you couldn't get through some parts, now with bridges and boulder stairs it's much easier, today you can start out knowing you'll reach the waterfall at the end. There are even seats at intervals on the trail - a positive luxury.
Be aware though, it's not an easy stroll by any means and not suitable to anyone who has mobility problems.
There are a number of waterfalls along the way and I've known people not go far enough and miss the spectacular one. Keep going until you can go no further would be my advice. Access to the waterfall is very good and there are several good viewpoints so no matter how many visitors there are on a busy weekend you'll find a spot to get your shot.
You walk back the same way you came which, I normally don't like but in this case there's much to see and listen to, I was watching a flock of fieldfares in the tree tops, keeping just out of camera range.
There's a leaflet describing the walk to download and a GPS thingy if you're technically minded.
A real gem so if you're looking to take a day off from Walking the Hadrian's Wall Trail this would make a good excuse.
Catch you later.

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