A Saturday walk – quite unusual for us but always good to try out something a little different. This walk is one of my favourites; following the river East Allen through woodland and pastures, past idyllic ountry houses and climbing up to enjoy views over the moors.
We intended starting out from the Allen Mill Regeneration centre wherein lies a choice bakery. However, the bakery has closed down and the centre itself is only open Mondays to Fridays so no brewery visit either! It also meant alternative car parking so we all squeezed onto grassy verges or by the side of the road. The early part of the walk follows sections of Isaac’s Tea Trail through woodland paths skirting the river banks of the East Allen. After a mile or so we came across the beautiful renovated barns and newly planted garden of Bridge Eal – a garden you may have seen on Gardeners World earlier this year. The footpath runs through the garden itself so you get a close up view of the lovely planting and handsome farm house.
Past another isolated stone farm house winds the sinuous footpath bringing you to the hamlet of OakPool; two more lovely houses renovated with some taste and class. A sharp bend over the bridge and it’s a steep climb up the single track road of Colliery Lane towards the lunch stop. We rested here beneath the embankments and disused bridge of the old Alston to Hexham line. It’s also the far edge of the walk as we climb up to farms that sit above the valley itself. The views here are spectacular; over a patchwork of fields down towards Allendale Town. Wending our way slowly back to the river we follow lovely footpaths gently down hill to reunite with our cars.