This Northumberland based village has some lovely heather moorland, riverside trails, interesting geology, hill climbs and a historic old castle to explore. It's located in a splendid spot in Upper Coquetdale at the point where the River Alwin meets with the River Coquet. The village also has an interesting history with a 12th century Norman church and a fine old pub to visit.
This circular walk from the village visits some of the highlights of the area including the River Alwin, River Coquet, Harbottle Castle, West Wood and the Drake Stone.
The walk starts from the public car park in the village centre and heads south past the ford and over the River Alwin. Continue south on the country lanes and they will take you to Low Alwinton. Here you can pick up the Border Country Ride and follow the bridle path south east along the River Coquet to Harbottle. Here you cross the river and head through Harbottle village to the remains of the castle. The medieval castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building. It's a photogenic spot with atmospheric old ruins overlooking the ruins below. There's an information board at the site where you can find out all about the castle's history. The structure was originally built about 1160 by the Umfraville family at the request of King Henry II on land awarded to them following the Norman Conquest.
After exploring the castle the route then heads south west passing the Old Manse before climbing to the Drake Stone in the Harbottle Hills. The huge sandstone boulder is a feature of the local landscape. It's also any excellent viewpoint with fine views towards the surrounding hills and countryside of the Cheviots and the Northumberland National Park.
You continue south west to Harbottle Lake where you turn north to enter West Wood where there are some nice peaceful woodland trails. Follow footpaths around the woods and they will lead you back towards Alwinton.
The area is great for wildlife with red squirrels and roe deer to look out for in the woodlands. In the skies keep your eyes peeled for buzzards, barn owls, wren, stonechat and wheatears.
Alwinton Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Alwinton Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Alwinton OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Alwinton Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Back in Alwinton you could head to the Rose and Thistle for some post walk refreshment. The old coaching inn is located at the intersection of several ancient Drovers roads linking England to Scotland. They have a good menu and a nice garden area with views of the surrounding countryside. You can find them at NE65 7BQ for your sat navs.
In Harbottle there's the Star Inn to consider. The 200 year old coaching inn has an open fire and a wood fired pizzeria serving delicious pizza, pasta and fish. There is also a well stocked shop at the rear of the pub, which serves as an official Information Point for the Northumberland National Park. You can find them in the village at postcode NE65 7DG.
The woodland and riverside trails on the route are ideal for a dog walk. The Star Inn mentioned above is also dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Just a couple of miles north of the village you'll find the expansive Kidland Forest where there are miles of good cycling and walking trails to try. Head south and you could explore the splendid Harwood Forest near Elsdon in the Simonside Hills. The waterside track along Fontburn Reservoir is also located near this area.
The Usway Burn - River Coquet - Upper Coquetdale Walk starts in the village car park. It explores the waterside paths in the lovely Upper Coquetdale to the north west of the settlement.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Cheviots Walks page.