Northumberland is perhaps best known for its fantastic coastline. With beautiful beaches, incredible wildlife and magnificent castles, it’s arguably Britain’s finest county for those who like the sea.
But apart from its rugged coast, Northumberland has its fair share of tremendous walks inland. And while the crowds seeking peace and quiet flock to the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Peak District, those in the know head to Northumberland.
While there are some truly wild adventures to be had across the county, this short walk is perfect for families in all weathers. You just need to tiptoe down to the woods…
I chose this walk on a particularly soggy day in the summer. The beaches were a bit too wet and wild to plod along with the family, so we sought some shelter in the delightfully-named Tiptoe Woods.
The walk starts from the farm car park just after a row of cottages at the end of a ‘no through road’. When the road turns sharply to the left, you’ll see the cottages and a sign telling you not to park on the verge. Drive past this sign and you’ll find the entrance to the car park on the right (NT909420).
Walk back up the road you’ve just driven down, past the cottages and to the bend in the road. Take the track heading approximately north west with Fadden Hill rising gently to your right.
Although you can’t quite see the wood at first, the track soon leads you to the trees. The thick canopy provided some welcome shelter from the rain and offered the perfect opportunity for our first (of many) chocolate biscuit stops. After ‘impressing’ the children with my dad skills of grasping a nettle without getting stung, we descended into the deep dark wood, listening out for the sound of the River Till at the bottom of the slope.
On reaching the water, the path turns to the left and continues to follow the river for around 1km. It’s a peaceful spot, with frequent opportunities to look for wildlife along the river. There wasn’t the patience in my party to sit and linger awhile but the setting is classic otter and kingfisher territory, so keep your eyes peeled.
Once you reach a small wooden hut, you’ll cross a couple of bridges before the track starts to climb back up to the farm. There’s an obvious junction where you turn left. Then continue until you meet the tarmac. From here, it’s just a short stroll back to the car park through the entrance to the farm.
Highs and Lowdown
Start / Finish: Car park at farm near Tiptoe cottages (grid reference NT909420)
Distance: 1.6 miles (2.6 km)
Terrain: Good woodland paths but can be a little muddy after wet weather
Facilities: Café, shops and toilets at the nearby Heatherslaw Mill and Light Railway
*These routes and descriptions are only ever intended to be a personal record of my adventures, which may inspire your own. Hillwalking involves a degree of risk, so please make sure you are properly equipped and prepared if you choose to follow them.