It’s a lovely couple of miles’ drive to the start point of this walk once you have exited the A69, just past Haltwhistle. Fantastic undulating, winding country roads that pass through verdant pasture full of contented looking sheep. The grassy verges awash with wild flowers. Very much the epitome of northern English countryside.
We started this walk at the small car park just beyond the Wallace Arms pub in the village of Featherstone Park. This irregularly shaped (free) car park can get quite crowded as the nearby South Tyne Trail is popular with weekend dog walkers.
The first leg of the walk took us on to the South Tyne Trail, yet another fabulous walking route created from the embers of a disused railway line. In this case the Haltwhistle – Alston line that carried mineral ore and smelted metal from the North Pennines on to Newcastle and then the British Empire. And probably other areas too.
Turning right from the car park we immediately encountered the old station house, now a domestic dwelling with a lovely big garden. Past the house the walk continues in that glorious flat way that old railway paths do – this time through a lovely grove of silver birches like a Klimt painting. After walking through the pretty village of Featherstone Park and the Park Burn we continued along the valley until we encountered the stunning Featherstone Bridge. This is a lovely high arched structure that looks quite out of place in such a rural setting but it is well worth seeing.
After lunch in the shadows of Featherstone Castle we continued along the South Tyne valley and through the remains of a World War II POW camp. It’s an interesting site with a history that belies its obscure location.
Just past the POW camp is a 430-year-old oak tree known as the Diamond Oak, a tree that was alive when Elizabeth I was on the throne.
We climbed out of the valley and up to the utterly spectacular Lambley Viaduct. This magnificent Victorian railway bridge should be as well-known as the viaduct on the Carlisle-Settle line but as it’s out of use, it is also out of mind.
Continuing back onto the South Tyne Trail our walk took us conveniently back to the car park.