A circular walk with a lot of interest. From the prehistoric rock art, bronze age burial cairns and iron age hill fort at Lordenshaw, to the lovely scenic walk over the Simonside hills, to the iron age hill fort overlooking Great Tosson through to the tranquil return through the Simonside forest.
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.
Park at the Lordenshaw car park. If approaching from the B6342 south of the Simonside hills the road to the parking is almost single track in places with soft verges so take care when passing other vehicles.
(D) Walk across the car park to a signpost for Lordenshaw hill fort. There is an app you can download onto your phone which provides information about rock art.
(1) Follow the grassy path and go left at the split. This will take you to the Main Rock and Horseshoe Rock, then you can walk back to explore the hill fort, the burial cairns and Channel Rock. When you have finished head back to the car park.
(D) Cross the road and take the well-maintained footpath and steps, passing an information panel about the Simonside Hills.
(2) At the fork in the path, go right.
(3) At the post, ignore the path on the right going down, this is your way back. Instead, keep on going up on the path to Dove Crag. Follow the path down a little and back up to Old Stell Crag which is a complicated jumble of boulders. Continue to the top and on to another rocky cairn which has a small crag below it. The path passes a stagnant pool, which is there in all but the driest of weather, and dead over to a cairn at the top of Simonside Crag. This section has great views over to Rothbury.
(4) Descend the path/steps to a junction with a forestry track.
(5) Turn right and follow the track for a short way. Keep a look out for a post on the left and a small path through the heather.
(6) At the post, turn left and descend. At the time of writing this section of the forest has been cut down and there are a few old branches and roots to step over. This section can also be muddy but the wet parts are easily bypassed. You will see another obvious forestry track on your right cutting across the hillside. Your path descends to this and crosses it.
(7) At another post leave the forest track and descend through woodland, passing through a gap in an old stone wall and descending further to a junction with another forestry track. This track borders the forest and the farmland.
(8) Follow the track for a short way to an obvious gate on the left with a yellow arrow. Go through the gate an follow the grassy path over the edge of the field. Cross one wall via wooden steps and cross a second gate via a stile. At this point, Burg Hill is immediately below you and is marked by some gorse bushes on the south side facing you. The path follows the wall on the right but the fence shown on the Ordnance Survey map has been taken away so you can follow the grassy track over the field directly to the fort.
(9) The north side of the fort is steeper than Lordenshaw and would have been a good defense. The old embankments and ditches are still visible. Below you and to the right is Great Tosson.
Retrace your footsteps back to (8)
(8) Go through the gate and turn left following the track down and around a bend. Take the right-hand fork and continuing uphill at the bend. The track bends again and brings you to a wide junction.
(10) Take the left-hand fork, the forestry track contours the hillside, passing a mobile phone mast. Shortly after the mast, the track splits again.
(11) Take the right-hand fork and head uphill once more, soon you will see the Simonside hills ahead of you. Head up the track to a junction.
(12) At the junction, turn left and follow another forestry track which starts to narrow. Keep a lookout for a marker post and a small path on your right.
(13) At the post, turn right and follow the smaller path uphill towards the shoulder of Dove Crag. The path will bring you back to the path you started out on at (3)
(3) Turn left and follow the good path/steps back to the car park.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Lordenshaw car park
1 : mi 0.43 - alt. mi 0.43
2 : mi 1.55 - alt. mi 1.55
3 : mi 2.35 - alt. mi 2.35
4 : mi 3.49 - alt. mi 3.49 - Simonside summit - Simonside
5 : mi 3.64 - alt. mi 3.64
6 : mi 3.72 - alt. mi 3.72
7 : mi 4.01 - alt. mi 4.01
8 : mi 4.37 - alt. mi 4.37
9 : mi 4.88 - alt. mi 4.88 - Tosson Burgh Hill
10 : mi 5.67 - alt. mi 5.67
11 : mi 6.07 - alt. mi 6.07
12 : mi 6.62 - alt. mi 6.62
13 : mi 7.07 - alt. mi 7.07
D/A : mi 8.16 - alt. mi 8.16 - Lordenshaw car park
There are no shelters and nowhere to buy refreshments on this walk.
The paths are well maintained or you are on forestry tracks. There is only the section down to Burgh Hill and the last short section back to Dove Crag that is not well maintained. You could do this in dry weather in trainers or approach shoes. Take a windproof it can be windy and cold on the ridge, even when the sun is shining.
There are good places to picnic among the boulders at Old Stell Crag or the crag over, marked with the cairn. There is also good picnic places at the foot of the Simonside crags, once you have descended the steps.
An alternative finish from Burgh Hill is to descend the path to Great Tosson. Turn right and walk past the farm to the road. You can turn left and go along the road to see the old lime kiln, retrace your steps and then have a look at the remains of the old peel tower. Where the road forks, take the right-hand fork and walk uphill until you see a track on your right. Take this track over a field and into the forest. The track will bend gradually around to the left and bring you to the junction on the bend just before (8) as described. (Alternatively continue along the road to another track on the right which takes to you (11) Or walk along the road and back to the car park, but you will miss out on the lovely forest)
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
This walk is continually interesting. Prehistoric rock art, bronze age burial cairns, two iron age hill forts. Amazing scenery, a lovely ridge walk on a well-maintained path, and tranquil forest. It is part of the National Park and is a conservation area; wildlife abounds, you just need to stay quiet and look.
If you are a climber, take your boots and chalk and enjoy exploring some of the boulders on the ridge. The Simonside crags are north facing but offer a long history of climbing exploration.
Please obey the countryside code, the Simonside hills and forest is a popular destination and I am constantly amazed by people who think that the signs asking them to keep dogs on leads do not apply to their dog. By all means, take your dog for a walk here but please keep it under control, particularly during laming times. There are normally sheep in the fields at Burg Hill.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.