‘A’ Ken Armstrong ‘B’ ML Davinson/M Regan
50 members set out on a cool damp morning. We travelled directly to Hexham and after coffee 26 set out on the ‘A’ walk by going through the town, passing the abbey then following a clarty path through Cowgarth Dene, a wooded ravine to reach the disused Wydon reservoir. This has been converted to store up to 13,000 tonnes of diverted water from the Wydon Burn as well as doubling as a fishery and nature reserve. Another woodland path was followed this time with a couple of fallen trees causing difficulties for those of us with short legs. We endured a stiff ascent on a minor road and while crossing to a field stile our coach passed us, the ‘B’ party having been dropped off at the racecourse. Field paths were followed to reach Peterelfield Plantation where we descended to the West Dipton Burn. The area was carpeted with primroses and violets. We stopped for lunch at the pub in Diptonmill and as we were setting away the ‘B’ party emerged from the plantation and both groups followed the same route for a short time. The ‘A’ party continued past Dotland Park and over the grassy fields of Cockshaw Rigg and then quiet country roads. Further fields were crossed to Newbiggin House Farm and shortly afterwards we entered Letah Wood after admiring 2 shetland ponies in a nearby field. A deer was spotted in the wood just before we had a fruit stop. We walked through the wood crossing the Letah Burn a few times before ascending to Hole House where we met up with the the ‘B’ party again. A slow ascent over fields brought us panaramic views of Hexham. The ‘A’ party stopped for tea while the ‘B’ party carried on. A few spots of rain were felt as we finally reached Hexham but a rain shower didn’t materialise.
Flowers: ash, bird cherry, blackthorn, bluebell, spanish bluebell, white bluebell, broom, bulrush, cherry blossom, coltsfoot, dog violet, dogs mercury, flowering rush, forget me not, garlic mustard, greater stitchwort, ground ivy, ivy leaved toadflax, lambs tail, lesser celandine, marsh marigold, opposite leaved golden saxifrage, primrose, purple vetch, pussy willow, ramson, white dead nettle, wood anemone.
Other: bee, buzzard, deer, hare, holly berries, ivy berries, mallards, 2 shetland ponies.