11 Aug Ancient Wonders E02: Old Bewick and Duddo
The second part of this excellent series continues exploring the sequestered wonders of Northumberland
This episode begins by the cascading waters of Hareshaw Linn, once the centre of iron smelting industry yet now the sound of the falls is all that dominates while being home to many rare ferns and lichen as well as red squirrels.
Moving further north brings McVay to Old Bewick, some 20 minutes from Homildon, with a backdrop of the majestic Cheviots. The village is notable for the nearby double hill fort. His wanderings through the Bronze Age ruins set in such beautiful hills offer a glimpse of the very special, some would say entrancing, atmosphere of this part of north Northumberland: “You get the strangest feeling of being alone in these hills”.
The walk up to the ruined farm at Blawearie is recommended. Over 100 years ago, excavations of the Bronze Age Blawearie Cairn discovered the stone lined graves mentioned in the film along with jewellery and pottery.
Duddo Five Stones have been dubbed Northumberland’s answer to Stonehenge. This Neolithic monument sits atop a small mound with views of the Cheviots and the Eildon Hills in nearby Scotland. The five standing stones are striking to see and archaeologist Roger Miket has described the stone circle as “Undoubtedly the most complete and dramatically situated in Northumberland”.
An easy walk of 1.5 miles from Bellingham – Hareshaw Linn walk [PDF]
Old Bewick directions
If driving, turn off the A697 at the Eglingham turning, taking the left signed for Chillingham at the end [map]. Blawearie is a 6.5km (4 mile) walk from Old Bewick, returning via the hill forts via the Alnwick Wildlife Group website – A Favourite Walk – Old Bewick to Blawearie and back via Bewick Hill
Visiting is free. Approaching Duddo from the south, turn left and follow the road until you see a sign beside a field gate on the right-hand side of the road. Park here to walk about 1km along a permissive path.
Don’t miss: episode one of this excellent series visited the hidden St. Cuthbert’s cave and Edlingham.
Next: in episode three, McVay explores some of Northumberland’s Medieval castles and dissolved abbeys.