Holystone Woods - Dove Crag - Lady's Well - Northumberland

Holystone

a forest walk including Dove Crag and Lady's Well

Location OS Landranger Sheets 80/81 Start point NT 949023 5.5 Miles 3.5 hours

How to get there Take A696 north out of Newcastle upon Tyne and follow B6344 to Rothbury. Take the B6341 Rothbury to Elsdon road turning off right at Swinton. On entering holystone village take a left, the lane will take you to the Forest Walks Carpark.

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There are a number of walks through the forest and the "Red Route" is the most comprehensive.

My walk uses part of the "Red Route" in reverse but gives a circular and simple way to encompass both Dove Crag and the Lady's Well.

Start:-Forest Enterprise car park

Go up the Lane to the left of the forest walks board.

Go past the M.O.D. private road sign without trepidation, you will turn off long before reaching their perimeter.

Continue up this lane, about 1.5Km shown on maps as a stretch of Roman Road, and along past where the gradient levels off and take the path through the grass indicated by the sign to Rockey's Hall

Through the old gateway and into the forest.
You will come to a red gravel forest track, take this left and downhill
Walk up to Dove Crag and the "Fairy Well" they are certainly worth an exploration.

Unfortunately off limits in April 2017

Wet ground conditions in the forest

Back on the main path go left and follow the path through the wood until you come to a red gravel track.
Go bck to the gravel track. and follow it left

If however you wish to get back to the car park from here cross straight over and follow the path down, it eventually drops down by a delightful path through the North Wood. The North Wood reserve is a semi-natural, acid sessile oakwood, and is managed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust

A few hundred yards up the gravel track to the left of the track there is an interesting boundary marker with T C engraved in large letters
Continue up the track until the red gravel road turns left and downhill, our path is slightly right and on into the gap in the trees
This will take you to a bench seat which when it was first placed will have had superb views across to Cheviot.

There are now trees in the way but it's still a welcome respite.

There is a path going off to the right at this point. Ignore it.

Continue down the woodland track it will join the gravel track again, just follow it straight down all the way to a gate.

Beyond the gate you will come to the Sharperton to Harbottle minor road.

A glance to the left from here and you can see the tops of the Harbottle Castle ruins.

Turn right and follow the road for about 900 yards.

See and be seen when negotiating the bends in the road.

Continue over a small rise. Woodhall farm is on your left and just beyond it and opposite there is a path to the right indicated by a waymarker which will take you direct to the Lady's Well
The Lady's Well is a National Trust property but I could not find it on their Website, there is no admittance charge.

If you click the photo you will be able to read more easily the description on the plaque

The exit from the Lady's well path
From the Lady's Well pass across the field following the way marker and passing a replanted area meet the forest track

Turn left to complete the walk. The car park is just a few hundred yards away.

For consideration, when using the countryside

This selection of walks in Northumberland follow recognised public rights of way or permissive paths and should be easy for most people to negotiate: but please remember that wet and winter weather can make paths muddy in places and the summer months produce fresh growth of vegetation - so wear suitable clothing and footwear.

If on any of these walks you find obstructions, or damage to stiles or footbridges which make paths impassible, please report these details as soon as possible to the countryside department of the Local or National Park authority responsible for the area.

Relationships between local farmers and those who use the footpaths are generally very good and there is no reason why they should not remain so given reasonable attitudes and understanding. Remember that the countryside is the farmers' livelihood, so please observe the Country Code : keep to the paths; close gates after you ; and take care not to cause damage, or leave litter; keep your dog under control; and leave all wild flowers for others to enjoy.

Taken from: Country Walks in East Tynedale by Philip R. B. Brooks (1978) NBM Sept 2009

Dogs in the countryside :-

On Rights of Way - Dogs must be kept under close control, preferably on a short lead.

On Access Land - 1) Keep your dog on a short lead from 1 March to 31 July this to protect ground nesting birds from disturbance

2) Local restrictions may include a ban on dogs.

3) Note that restrictions do not apply to Guide/Hearing dogs, or if you are using a public right of way

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