Elsdon and the Todholes

Enjoy a circular walk suitable for most abilities, with fantastic views over Elsdon on the return leg. Enjoy a cuppa or a pint after building up a thirst and seeing the sights of this scenic Northumberland village. For the adventurous amongst you, why not pair this walk with our Elsdon Burn Walk.

Technical sheet
No. 2819025
A Elsdon walk posted on 18/12/19 by Northumberland National Park. Update : 18/12/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h25[?]
Distance Distance : 2.69mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 210ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 230ft
Highest point Highest point : 725ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 528ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Elsdon
Starting point Starting point : N 55.234115° / W 2.099989°
Download : -


(D/A) From the car park take the road that is signed ‘Landshot/Whiskershiel/Eastnook/Hudspeth’ which goes through the farm gate. Continue along this road. At the junction follow the sign to Landshot, and continue on along the road past the farmhouse and shepherd’s cottage on the left.

(1) Immediately before the third cattle grid turns right and follow the footpath signed ‘East Todholes’ over the sleeper bridge, through the wicket gate and round to the wall. On reaching the wall turn right and make your way up to the gap in the fence, keeping the wall on your left. Once through the gap continue following the wall to the end of the field.

(2) Cross the ladder stile in the corner over the wall, and continue up through the field heading for the telegraph pole to the right of the big shed. On reaching the telegraph pole at the corner of the garden wall continue on to the ladder stile ahead, keeping the wall on your left.

(3) Once over the ladder stile turn right onto the farm track. Carry on along the track past West Todholes until you reach the main road.

(4) At the road turn right. Take the footpath signed ‘Elsdon’, crossing over the step stile and bearing left across the field to the fence. At the fence continue down to the next step stile. Cross over this stile and continue on down to the bottom of the field. During summer months this field is a hay meadow full of wildflowers and pollinating insects and bumblebees.

Cross the step stile and turn right down to the sleeper bridge. Cross over the sleeper bridge and turn left following the path to a smaller bridge. Cross over this bridge and make your way over to the footbridge next to the sewage works.

(5) Cross over the footbridge and turn right through the metal gate. Continue straight ahead along the road between the houses. At the village green turn right and follow the road back to the car park. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 554ft - Car park
1 : mi 1.02 - alt. 558ft - Cattle grid
2 : mi 1.29 - alt. 604ft - Ladder stile
3 : mi 1.46 - alt. 636ft - East Todholes
4 : mi 1.87 - alt. 725ft - Main road
5 : mi 2.4 - alt. 528ft - Footbridge
D/A : mi 2.69 - alt. 554ft - Car park

Useful Information

Start & Parking: North end of Elsdon village, small car park by the bridge

Local Services: Otterburn & Rothbury

Terrain: Roads, tracks and footpaths, stiles and footbridges

Directions - To the walk start point
From Rothbury: Follow the B6341 west out of Rothbury for approximately 8 miles to Elsdon. The car park is on the left just as you enter the village, beside the burn.

From Newcastle: Head north on the A696, passing through Belsay. After approx 18 miles turn left onto the B6341, signed ‘Elsdon’. The car park is through the village on the right after crossing the burn.

Public Transport Information
T: 0871 2002233

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

A little bit of history
Elsdon is surrounded by history and is well worth exploring! Near to the village green is a Medieval tower house (pele), the earthworks of a Norman motte and bailey castle, a 12th century church and an 18th century pinfold (stone enclosure for stray sheep and cattle). Nearby is Winter’s Gibbet, the windswept spot where the body of William Winter was hung, following his execution for the murder of Elsdon shopkeeper Margaret Crozier in 1791.

The Otterburn Ranges
Much of the land to the north west of Elsdon is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Known as the Otterburn Ranges they are one of England’s remotest upland areas and have been used for military training since 1911. The 90sq miles of Range provide a realistic environment for training more than 300,000 NATO troops every year.

The landscape is rich in history and wildlife and offers visitors tranquil walks and breathtaking cycle rides.

Further information on Otterburn Ranges
T: 0191 239420

Points of interest
As you set off on this walk the pattern of medieval rig and furrow cultivation can be seen on the hillside around Landshot hill. The fields, called landshots, were not enclosed by hedges, walls or fences but were separated by a strip of unploughed land known as a headland. The earliest reference to ‘Landshot’ is in a 1528 document when it was farmed by Robert Hedley and his sons, John and William. At that time a system called ‘gavelkind’ was in operation; when a man became too old to farm he divided the farm between his sons. In this way, farms became smaller. Todholes, like all the other farmsteads in this valley, is also mentioned in 16th century documents. Tod, meaning fox, is probably an Anglo-Saxon word and its frequent use in place names is evidence that foxes were as widespread then as they are now.

Wildlife to look out for
Upland hay meadows are internationally rare and Northumberland National Park has some of the best in Europe. The flower-rich hay meadows in this area provide a blaze of colour in high summer and are a haven for wildlife. They contain plants such as wood cranesbill, buttercup, clover, pignut and yellow rattle. Pollinators such as the white-tailed bumblebee, common carder bumblebee, common blue butterfly and chimney sweeper moth can all be seen.

The moors around Elsdon are a good place to see and hear the curlew, Britain’s largest wading bird, and is used as the emblem for Northumberland National Park. The curlew return in spring to breed here, with the majority being found on the edge of the in-bye and moorland.

The hedges and rough grassland around here are an ideal habitat for barn owls.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 3/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Mon 15 Jun 2020 10:24:21 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 13/06/20
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Average
Walk interest : Very good

nice easy walk just off the main road, worth a detour to break a journey

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