Do you think it’s best to get a steep climb out of the way early in a walk or wait until the end?
For this walk we were straight into it from the off. Starting out in the Derwent Park car park at Rowlands Gill we climbed up to the main road and then up again to haul ourselves up Busty Bank. It’s a pretty steep stretch of road and worth taking gently rather than at full tilt.
Taking a left into Burnopfield we continued our walk upwards through houses that overlooked the valley below. Their tidy front gardens were just bursting into life with snowdrops sprinkled around liberally and neatly clipped hedges. A footpath led us through the small estate and brought us out, via a kissing gate, to nearby pasture.
A well fenced and signposted footpath carried us almost due North across fields fringed with deciduous woodland and dotted with sheep. We were high up here and enjoyed great views across the valley towards the sprawl of Tyneside. Resting by a wooden post and rail fence we enjoyed lunch on what was a surprisingly mild and still day for mid February.
The walk continued across fields before meeting woodland as it dipped slightly at a point where several footpaths intersected. We continued northwards, parallel to Fell Road on a quiet minor road (West Lane then Hillhead Lane) edged with hedgerows. Returning to field walking, we traversed a steep grassy slope for 200m before re-emerging onto Fellside Road near to the Woodman’s Arms where we stopped for liquid refreshment.
After that short break we continued for a short while on Fellside Road before striking out West down Clockburn Lonnen; a minor road through woodland and scattered housing. We walked on this route for about half a mile before picking up the route of the Derwent Walk. This excellent walk follows an old railway line and has good dry underfoot conditions and was flat! Another mile or so brought us back to Rowlands Gill and we were able to rejoin our cars as the clouds gathered.