New Ridley - Hedley on the Hill - Whittonstall

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The walk starts off at The Dr Syntax pub car park. The pub gets its name from a famous local racehorse. To find out more about the story behind the name, taste the local ale.

You could be thinking this was no hill, but you are mistaken. Looking east from the car park you should be able to pick out the highest hilltop with some houses sitting astride it; this is Hedley and our first objective.

I like to do this walk in a clockwise direction so that my arrival time at Whittonstall coincides with the lunch break. In wet weather the route up to Hedley can be very muddy. This area is noted for its badger population and you should see plenty of evidence if you look carefully. The views on a good day are superb to the north, the east and the west. In winter with snow about it is a very difficult place to which to drive.

We leave the village using one of the three routes to the suth. When you have left the village behind, the views to the rest of the compass circle open out before you. Pontop Pike Mast and the Burnhope Mast can be picked out across the Derwent Valley. The steel town of Consett can be seen at the southern end of the Derwent Valley. The hills of North-West Durham and the Pennines roll around from east to west. The compass circle is complete when you pick out the Tyne Gap and points north-west.

It is on downhill to join the Lead Road, soon leaving this to climb up through a heavily wooded hillside. Signs of the mining history can be seen. You will join a fine cobbled road in the middle of nowhere - this must have been a lead miners' roadway. The recent monsoon-type rain that we have all experienced this autumn has washed away the covering of accumulated mud to reveal shining bright cobbles. As you arrive at the road into Whittonstall, see if you can spot the Bat Loft. The pub / hotel is very popular and has a good reputation. I can certainly vouch for the Real Ale.

Now you are going to find out about that missing hill, because having dropped down into the Apperly Valley we have to climb up and out of the other side. It is very steep and you should take your time, enjoying the wonderful views to the west as they unfold. Once at the top it is a nice stroll back to our starting point and the chance to read up the history of Dr Syntax over that refreshing drink.

England - North England - Northumberland - Tynedale


Birds, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, River, Wildlife
2/24/2024 - ruth day

We did this walk on 11/02/2024. Very wet underfoot. Very poor or missing signage. Pub carpark you are discouraged from using unless you are going for a drink. We parked in a pull in just past the golf course. Point 6, what glade? Hill had been cleared of bushes and now full of rubbish. Point 7, no signs but reached the road by keeping going up hill. Point 8-9 sign into and through farm yard you need wellies here because of liquid deep mud. Point 10, no sign but new fencing, a new house and equestrian yard replaces farm yard. Point 13, quarry entrance on left before you turn into wood on right. Point 15, straight on following through gaps in hedges. Point 19, farm yard gone, up market housing development. Point 20, 5 dead sheep. Point 21, new stile into wood, new bridges across streams, very wet and muddy, ladder stile and gate side by side out of wood, very muddy down to stream and very muddy and slippery up hill. This is a route best walked when there has been no rain for months or not at all.

6/22/2010 - Walkingworld Administrator

We believe that the farmer in question was served with an order to remove the dogs. We strongly urge anyone who has had the same experience on this walk (or similar on any walk) to report their incident to the police.

2/12/2008 - David Miller

This is potentially an excellent walk in a relatively undiscovered area near the Tyneside conurbation - and the views are excellent. However: it's spoilt by the situation at Woodhead, where the farm owner uses 2 (repeat, 2)ferocious Rottweilers to intimidate walkers into using a diversion round his/her property. The signage for this diversion isn't foolproof, and I could easily have ended up trying to walk up a very narrow path at the back of the farmhouse with these 2 unchained dogs leaping up at the fence and looking more than capable of clawing/biting me or bounding over it and tearing me to shreds. I complained to a woman who was there and her response was that "the dogs live here" (well, I didn't think they were just visiting for the day) and that they're there to protect her / her property from "people like me" (I was clearly going to stash her 37" flatscreen into my rucksack). Correct me if I'm wrong, but this sort of performance is unlawful and downright dangerous, and I don't think it's right that the contributor appears to condone a situation whereby peaceful walkers are dissuaded from following a public right of way.

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