College Valley

A great route that introduces the walker to the tranquil College Valley. Look out for the Wild Cheviot Goats on the hillside near Hethpool Mill.

Technical sheet
No. 2817984
A Kirknewton walk posted on 17/12/19 by Northumberland National Park. Update : 17/12/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h30[?]
Distance Distance : 4.76mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 371ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 390ft
Highest point Highest point : 722ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 387ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Kirknewton
Starting point Starting point : N 55.545917° / W 2.169978°
Download : -


(D/A) From Hethpool car park turn left and follow the valley road up to Cuddystone Hall and the War Memorial dedicated to airmen killed in the Cheviots 1939 – 1945. At the Hall take the left hand fork in the road and cross over the burn at Sutherland Bridge. Keep going up the track for a short distance.

(1) Turn left at the corner of the fence and go through the wicket gate, by the footpath sign to ‘Hethpool Mill’. Follow the grassy track uphill, passing through a gate. Just before the second gate leave the track and bear left down through the trees. Continue on the path along the hillside, keeping the fence on your right.

(2) Keep to the path, downhill, cross the burn and go up the other side. Continue along the path, following the fence line.

(3) Make your way downhill, cross the burn and follow the path uphill, (quite a steep climb), to the wicket gate ahead.

(4) Go through the gate, follow the path down through the trees. At the bottom of the bank follow the path along the riverside to the wicket gates ahead. Go through the gap in the fence to the left of the gates. Continue on along the haughland (flat grassy land beside the river) keeping to the grassy track through the gorse.

(5) At the corner of the wall/ fence go through the field gate and turn left up the grassy bank. At the top of the bank turn left through the wicket gate and continue through the recently planted area. Follow the path down the steps through the trees and continue walking along the valley bottom.

(6) Cross the stile and follow the path through the field towards Hethpool Mill. (Look out for the Wild Cheviot Goats on the hillsides near here.)

(7) Join the track and turn left, following it over the College Burn. At the road turn left back to Hethpool and the car park. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 430ft - Hethpool - National Park Car Park
1 : mi 2.17 - alt. 627ft - Sutherland Bridge
2 : mi 2.57 - alt. 722ft - Burn
3 : mi 2.92 - alt. 587ft - Burn
4 : mi 2.99 - alt. 574ft - Wicket gate
5 : mi 3.42 - alt. 479ft - Wall / fence
6 : mi 4.02 - alt. 436ft - Stile
7 : mi 4.41 - alt. 387ft - Bridge
D/A : mi 4.76 - alt. 430ft - Hethpool - National Park Car Park

Useful Information

Parking: Hethpool - National Park Car Park

Public Toilets: Wooler

Local Services: Wooler & Milfield

Terrain: Road, tracks and footpaths - some steep inclines

Getting there
From Wooler: Follow the A697 north out of Wooler for approx 2.5 miles. At Akeld turn left onto the B6351, signed ‘Kirknewton.’

Continue along this road for 3.5 miles, passing Kirknewton and on to Westnewton. Turn left here onto the single track road, signed ‘Hethpool’. Continue along this single track road for 1.75 miles. Just beyond Hethpool the car park is on the left.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Local facilities
Milfield 8 miles north, is a small village on the edge of the Cheviot Hills. Cafe Maelmin is open all day, everyday, serving coffee and cakes, meals and snacks, beers and wines. It is also a Northumberland National Park Information Point, with free WiFi. NE71 6JD

Wooler 8 miles east, is a small town and gateway to the Cheviot Hills, making it an ideal base for walking and cycling. Wooler Tourist Information Centre, with free WiFi, is packed with information on what to do, where to go and where to stay in and around north Northumberland. NE71 6BL
April to October - Open every day.
November to April - Monday to Saturday.

Kirk Yetholm 9 miles to the west, is a small village. The Border Hotel is also a National Park Information Point. Open daily for meals and drink, it also offers accommodation. TD5 8PQ

College Valley and College Burn
The College Burn is part of the Tweed catchment and is important for migratory fish – salmon and sea trout, as well as resident brown trout and brook lamprey.

Clean river ecosystems support otters which can be found here, although you may be more likely to find evidence of them - tracks and spraints - rather than actually catching a glimpse of them! Heron, dipper, common sandpiper and grey and pied wagtail are all often seen along the College Burn too.

The majority of the semi-natural broadleaved woodland remaining in the Cheviots can be found in the College Valley, an example of this is Harrowbog. The woodlands generally comprise sessile oak and ash but many are dominated by smaller trees such as rowan, downy and silver birch. Alder is found along rivers and wet areas together with willow.

Wild Cheviot Goats
The feral goat herds in the Cheviots are regarded as an excellent example of our original landrace goat; the primitive, unimproved goat that helped sustain people of the British isles from the times of the earliest Neolithic farmers. Evocative of bygone eras, and pre-dating all our modern goat breeds, the herds are of cultural and historic value. now living a totally wild existence, these shaggy coated and long horned wild cheviot goats are hardier than modern breeds.

The goats are approachable enough to offer good views and offer no threat to walkers if left alone. During most of the year, they are in small family groups, larger numbers may be seen together during the autumn rut when clashes between males happen. They kid from mid February onwards, females sometimes leave new born kids lying up in sheltered spots while they go off to graze. These are not abandoned so please leave them where they are - mum will come back for them eventually.

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