Field Notes - Walk 8

Field Notes - Walk day 8

Saturday, June 11, 2011
Wark - Bellingham; Sunday 12th June; Natural Historians – Keith Bowey, Tina Wiffen and Steve Westerberg.

View VARC Walk 8; 12th June 2011 in a larger map

This walk began at Wark at 10.30 am. From Wark Bridge, we followed the riverbank on the east side, meandering past Gold Island to Blindburn and beyond. Opposite Bankhead we cut inland to Thorneyhirst and then walked north past High Carry House to Heugh Clints, moving through remnants of ancient settlements on route. Our journey next took us through Brocks Haugh (Countesspark Wood) and then along the disused railway track into Redesmouth. From here, we crossed the River Rede at Redesmouth Bridge, progressing along a metalled road for a short while until turning off just before Redeswood to complete the journey by following the river as it wound its way to Bellingham.

Day 8: Wark - Bellingham


Sunday 12th June


Natural Historians – Keith Bowey, Tina Wiffen and Steve Westerberg.


This walk began at Wark at 10.30 am. ‘The name Wark is derived from the Viking word for Earthworks, and refers to the mound at the south of the village, where a meeting hall once stood. The hotel name 'Battlesteads' is taken from the stables that once stood there, as the meeting hall was used as the main meeting place for the Clan Chieftains. Wark was also once the capital town of Tynedale and still retains a Town Hall, rather than a Village Hall’[1].

 

From Wark Bridge, we followed the riverbank on the east side, meandering past Gold Island to Blindburn and beyond. Opposite Bankhead we cut inland to Thorneyhirst and then walked north past High Carry House to Heugh Clints, moving through remnants of ancient settlements on route. Our journey next took us through Brocks Haugh (Countesspark Wood) and then along the disused railway track into Redesmouth (once the ‘Clapham Junction’ of the old North British Railway). ‘The station is Reedsmouth Junction, the railway using the local spelling, which was used when it was built in 1861 … at its peak, this was quite a substantial railway ‘hub’ and you can still see the lofty signal box – now a private house – the engine shed, where the English and Scottish crews changed over, and of course the station itself. The present village was largely created by North British Railway to house its staff.”[2]

 

From here, we crossed the River Rede at Redesmouth Bridge, progressing along a metalled road for a short while until turning off just before Redeswood to complete the journey by following the river as it wound its way to Bellingham. ‘Among the many attractions in Bellingham is the eleventh-century St Cuthbert's church which is built in the early Norman style. Almost unique in England, it has a massive stone roof. Tradition claims that the parish settled on a stone roof because of raids during the Border wars. Other defensive measures include the unusually narrow windows in the nave[3].

 

This walk was a lovely ramble along the riverbank (though again in rain and coolish weather!), through woods and through along country lanes. We saw Yellow Wagtail, Dipper, Goosander (with ducklings) and in the woods, Goldcrest, Redstart and Long-tailed Tit. We also saw House and Sand Martin.


[2] Jonas, J.B. (2005) Walking the North Tyne, Gateshead, NW Printers