Take a walk to Allen Banks from the Hiddle Hut.

We regularly walk this route from the Hiddle Hut or you can drive down to Bardon Mill station where there is parking and which is just over a mile and a half from the Hiddle Hut. This walk from Bardon Mill station to Allen Banks takes in the South Tyne, ancient yew trees at Beltingham Churchyard and stunning open countryside before heading into the impressive wooded valley of the River Allen.

Leave the station heading east and go over the railway crossing. Follow the lane and cross the river over the footbridge.

The South Tyne rises on Alston Moor and flows through the North Pennines AONB before passing Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge and ultimately joining the North Tyne at Warden Rock near Hexham, which has been dubbed ‘The Meeting of the Waters’. It then flows as the River Tyne heading to Newcastle and out to the North Sea. These rivers provide an important breeding ground for migratory fish and other wildlife including otter, water vole, birds and bats.

When you meet the road, head left and continue all the way to the beautiful village of Beltingham.

In the village, take a small detour to the churchyard and see the ancient yew trees round the back of the church. There are three ancient yews in the grounds of St Cuthbert’s Church in Beltingham. The yew to the north side is said to be around 900 years old, one of the oldest yews in Britain today; the other two are around 400 years old. One feature of the church is a 7th-century Saxon Cross which, along with the yews and all being at the centre of Britain, suggests this was once a highly sacred place.

Leave the churchyard and continue in the direction you were heading out of Beltingham. At the road junction head left.

There’s a signposted public footpath on your right after about 100yd: follow this across the fields until you reach the gate into Allen Banks. The large house on your left is Ridley Hall, whose former owners landscaped Allen Banks into what we see today. Once in the woods head left to make your way down to the car park or right to explore further. This walk is approximately 1.6 miles from the station to Allen Banks.

We make this walk in to a longer loop by turning right into Allen Banks and walking the length of the gorge to Plankey Mill and crossing over the river via the bridge. We then walk back along the length of the gorge and cross the river again and follow the road past the entrance to Allen Bank’s car park. We walk past the Lodge at Ridley Hall and follow the road around the perimeter of the grounds until we reach the clearly marked footpath which crosses the field. There is a gate at the end of the field boundary which leads you back through the woods and up in to Beltingham past the Bastle . We then follow the road back along to the footbridge and cross the railway crossing back to Bardon Mill station. This route is approximately 6.5 miles if you drive to Bardon Mill Station. If you walk to the station, you add approximately another three miles on.

Walking boots are a necessity for this walk.

Let us know if you spot the elusive otters in the River Allen!