St Oswald's Way
A 97 mile (155 km) long distance walking route in Northumberland
Area's Interest

The Simonside Hills

The Simonside hills are contained within the Northumberland National Park and are a "Special Area of Conservation"
The Fell Sandstone is over 300 million years old and was formed from the bed of a vast river delta then located on the Equator. Over the millions of years and several ice ages this has moved and now forms a 50 mile arc of heather topped hills in the centre of Northumberland.

Simonside These hills have seen hunters, shepherds and warriors as well as seeing many armies approaching from Scotland and being driven back by the English.
This is also the location where red grouse, red squirrel and emperor moths can be seen alongside the numerous Blackface Sheep. This is also home to peat moors, sphagnum moss and common sundew.
Walkers will pass by an interesting interpretive board as they start there ascent from the Lordenshaw car park.

Stone Age Settlement at Howick

Stone Age Settlement At the start of the millenium an amateur archaeologist found flint tools on the clif tops at Howick. This led to the site being identified as one of the best-preserved Mesolithic huts so far discovered in Britain. The radiocarbon dates from the hearths inside the hut showed that it was constructed around 7800 BC, making Howick the earliest occupation site in Northumberland, and also a key site for our understanding of Stone Age settlement across Britain.
In addition to the Mesolithic hut, a cemetery consisting of five Bronze Age cists was found on the site.

For much more detail on this link to Archaeological research Services Ltd from which much of this knowledge has been gathered.

Stone Age Settlement The two images are pictorial and show how the archaeologist believe the inhabitants would have lived in these settlements. The pictures are from teh interpretive panel at the site.
In early 2005 it was decided to reconstruct the Mesolithic hut as part of the BBC's documentary series 'Coast'. The decision was made to recreate the hut as faithfully as possible just a few metres along the cliff top from where it had originally been excavated.
The hut consists of a 'tepee' frame of long birch poles which provide the basic structure. These were reinforced with a ring of uprights and cross beams. The final structural elements were the spars which locked the structure together and also provided the support for the roof. It was decided to construct the roof out of turf as the robust timber frame had clearly supported a heavy roof covering. It is possible that the original roof may have consisted of a combination of turf and reed thatch.

Sharp's Folly

Stone Age Settlement Built in 1720 this unusual tower was located behind the village of Whitton.

It was the brainchild of Dr. Thomas Sharp, a Rector in the nearby Rothbury. He thought that to build this tower would be a good job creation scheme for the locals and it would also allow him, when completed, to pursue his interest in astrological matters.

From the tower there is also a great view to the east and to the coast.

This tower is close to the start of the fifth section of the trail and you can see it as the walker climbs toward Whittondean and Lordenshaws.

St Michael & All Angels - Felton

St Michael & All Angels Felton William Bertram II the grandson of William Bertram I who founded Brinkburn Priory gave the church of Felton shortly before his death in AD 1199.
The present day structure of the church is chiefly of two dates. It consists of a chancel and nave with north and south aisles and a south porch. The earlier work is to be seen in the chancel and nave the later having originally been without aisles. The aisles were added in the fourteenth century.
The east window in the south aisle worked in a single 6 feet 6 inches by 4 feet stone, was probably inserted in AD 1331. Also there is a fourteenth century effigy of a priest in the north aisle on the floor.
Brinkburn Priory is only a matter fo a few miles west further up-stream on the River Coquet and passed by on this walk albeit that it is on the other side of the river and well hidden by the tree lined bank.

Windfarm Development near St Cuthbert's Cave

News was breaking in November 2011 of a 16 turbine wind farm proposal to be sited on Swinhoe Farm close to St Cuthbert's Cave and the first section of the St Oswald's Way as it approaches the descent towards Belford.
This development, if approved, will have 16 tall turbines impacting on the walk and effecting panoramic views of the Northumberland countryside and coast towards the east and south east.
The impact on this walk will be substantial and also effect walkers on the St Cuthbert's Way.

As webmasters we are presenting this as a matter that might interest walkers and potential walkers. We are not here to lobby on any side of the debate but to engage with those who have a point of view. The point of view can be provided in confidence to us by e-mail or equally you may want to access the Middleton Burn Action Group Website where you will get much greater detail on the proposal with maps and photomontage of how this would look.

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Latest update - January 2012