The Falstone Circular Walk is a lovely little ramble around dramatic riverbanks and an old railway line. The old railway line you follow on the walk was once part of the Border Counties Railway which was in use between 1862 and 1958. Imagine steam trains bound north for Riccarton over the Scottish border – an easier journey than by car today.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Turn left out of the car park and walk to the road junction. Turn left again and head for the railway arch. Go under the arch and then left up a track leading to a gate which brings you on to the course of the old railway line. From here you can see the top of Kielder Dam. The track is level easy walking and brings you past a row of houses built for forestry workers. As the track emerges from a shallow cutting the view ahead opens out to reveal the old farm of Hawkhope (meaning ‘hawk valley’).
(1) The railway track now joins a forestry track. Turn left on to the track, cross over the Hawkhope Burn, almost hidden among the alder trees, and turn left again down the track to the Farm. Pass through the gate and continue along the road through open pasture and over a hump-back bridge crossing the Hawkhope Burn. The fenced areas on the sides of the burn enclose a conservation project managed by local volunteers. The next gate takes you into the show field, where the Falstone Border Shepherds’ Show is held every year in August. The route now runs alongside the River North Tyne, a favourite spot with fishermen hoping to catch trout and salmon. The route brings you back towards the village.
(2) At the bend in the road by the tennis courts take the path alongside the river as it bends back away from the village. In summer it is aglow with wildflowers. Continue through a wicket gate until the path opens out at a wide sweeping corner of the river. Situated here is the sculpture ‘Stell’. Follow the path to the stone bridge. At the bridge, bear left and head through a wicket gate ahead and in between a group of conifers until the path emerges on to the road and leads back to the tearooms. Tea anyone? (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 466ft - Car park
1 : mi 0.89 - alt. 512ft - Hawkhope
2 : mi 1.59 - alt. 449ft - Path alongside the river
D/A : mi 2.21 - alt. 463ft - Car park
Car Parking and Toilets: Falstone Old School Tearooms
Local Services: Falstone, Kielder, Bellingham
National Park Information Point: Falstone Tearooms
Terrain: Well signposted paths and tracks with one or two muddy sections
From the south/east/west (A69): Near Hexham leave the A69 and take the A6079 north. Turn left onto B6318 to Chollerford and at the roundabout take B6320 signposted for Bellingham. From Bellingham turn left and follow the tourism signs for Kielder Water and Forest. Just before Kielder reservoir turn right into Falstone.
Park in the Old School Tearooms car park.
From the north (A68): Follow the A68 south from Jedburgh then take the B6320 to Bellingham. From Bellingham follow the tourism signs for Kielder Water and Forest. Just before Kielder reservoir turn right into Falstone. Park in the Old School Tearooms car park.
For information on public transport contact Traveline
Tel: 08706 082608
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Falstone Old School Tearooms welcomes walkers and cyclists and offer home cooked food, teas and coffee, lunches and cakes. Local crafts are also on sale. The Blackcock Inn at Falstone and the Pheasant Inn at Stannersburn offer bar meals and snacks.
It’s worth popping into Falstone Village Hall (open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings) to see the Falstone tapestry and the many old photographs of Falstone. The Jubilee Garden, a community project, provides an attractive place to sit, picnic and play.
The nearby Kielder Water and Forest Park has attractions and activities for all the family.
Points of Interest
The old railway line you follow on the walk was once part of the Border Counties Railway which was in use between 1862 and 1958. Imagine steam trains bound north for Riccarton over the Scottish border - an easier journey than by car today.
Falstone folk are very proud of the Stell, their very own sculpture inspired by the area’s rich natural and cultural history and a record of place names now submerged beneath Kielder Water. Artist Colin Wilbourn worked with local people to produce this artwork in 2006.
Falstone Old School Tearooms are housed in the village's old Victorian schoolhouse. Pupils once rode into the school from the outlying farms and left their horses at the stables - now the kitchen! Northumberland National Park Authority worked with the local community to renovate the building in 2004, incorporating many innovative renewable energy features.
The dam which dominates the skyline for much of the walk holds back the Kielder Water reservoir which opened in 1982. It is surrounded by Kielder Forest - forestry has been and still is a significant industry and employer in the area.
A lovely walk along the stream of Greenhaugh Burn, along country lanes and through the fields from Greenhaugh, with some great views across the Tarset Valley. During July and August, you will be able to see some of our beautiful hay meadows full of incredible wildflowers.
Hareshaw Linn is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), designated for its rare ferns and lichen. More than 300 different types of mosses, liverworts and lichen can be found. The ‘Linn’ is also home to red squirrel, great spotted woodpecker, wood warbler, spotted flycatcher, badger and Daubenton's bat.
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