30/04/16 Alwinton Circular ‘A’ Adam Bent ‘B’ Peter Gilliland.
There was an early frost but the day was bright as 46 members travelled to Northumberland stopping for coffee at the Heighley Gate Garden Centre. Cheviot and the surrounding fells were capped with a covering of snow. The coach parked in the National Parks car park at Alwinton for the day. 18 members set out on the ‘A’ walk crossing a footbridge over the River Alwin and followed the stony track of Clennell Street to a stile to cross fields with ewes and lambs. We descended to the River Alwin again and recrossed then passed the front of Clennell Hall and
followed a stony track to Biddlestone Chapel, built in 1820 on the remains of a 14th century fortified tower. It was originally attached to Biddlestone Hall, the home of the Selby family. The Hall was demolished in the 1960s and the Roman Catholic Chapel closed in 1992. It is now maintained by the Historic Chapels Trust. We had previously arranged for the chapel to be open for both parties today. The key was collected from a nearby house and everyone had plenty of time to look around. The ‘A’ party had lunch before setting away through the hamlet of Biddlestone and ascended a steep track to the remote farm of Singmoor. Beyond the field gate we reached the snow line. The snow was starting to melt and it was quite slippery in places. We circled around Cold Law and crossed the Biddlestone Burn, no footbridge this time. We crossed further open fell and descended to another remote farm called Puncherton. There was a steep descent and an immediate steep ascent to reach the derelict farm of Old Rookland. After another steep ascent on the open fell where we disturbed a curlew sitting on a nest containing 4 eggs we crossed fields and emerged on the track behind Clennell Hall and returned to Alwinton. The ‘B’ party did the first half of the ‘A’ walk then crossed fields to return to Alwinton but not before stopping for refreshments at Clennell Hall which I believe they all enjoyed. The ‘B’ party witnessed a local taking her Toulouse ducks and ducklings for a walk in the village, a different sight to end a walk! The evening stop was in Morpeth. The fare today was reduced to half price. Flowers: dog violet, dogs mercury, honesty, lesser celandine, opposite leaved golden saxifrage and wild strawberry. Other: curlews, curlew’s nest with 4 eggs, goldfinch, heron, lizard, pheasant, rabbits, red squirrel, skylarks and Toulouse ducks with ducklings.