Route: Hethpool and College Burn

Area: Northumberland

Date of walk: 15th March 2020

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 6.3 miles

Ascent: 900 feet

Weather: Sunny spells, very strong winds

Following yesterday’s coastal walk, we decided to ring the changes and head inland. We drove over to Hethpool on the fringes of the Cheviot Hills, and only a few miles from the Scottish border. Just beyond the tiny village there’s a free car park with a noticeboard and, having parked there, we walked back past Hethpool cottages. We then crossed the bridge over College Burn and set off along a gently rising path

We were surrounded by several of the Cheviots, and there was a real feeling of remoteness as we climbed gently to the high point of the walk, Torleehouse at 590 feet. From here it was a long but easy descent (made easier by gale force winds at our backs) as we headed down into the Glen Valley

We arrived at the small and scattered village of Kirknewton, signalling the start of the return leg. At the end of the village we ignored the first public footpath sign to Hethpool, as this involves fording College Burn. After all the recent rain, we doubted that the ford would be passable. Instead, we crossed the road bridge over the burn and joined a permissive footpath (not shown on the OS maps). The path ran along the foot of The Bell. Instead of descending to College Burn to join the public footpath we continued above it – the two paths met up a little later on

The final section was along a narrow path above College Burn lined with gorse and brambles. This could become overgrown during summer months, and anyone wearing shorts and t-shirt on this path would be lucky to avoid scratches along the way. We eventually arrived back at Hethpool and from here retraced our steps back to the start of an excellent walk in Northumberland’s hill country

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