Waterfalls in Northumberland are popular places to visit and involve varying amounts of walking. The first two of these are short, there and back walks from nearby car parking, while the second two form part of longer walks which take in the surrounding countryside. I have given the distance and the grades of each of these walks which vary from Easy to Strenuous, with distances between 3 and 10 miles.
- Bellingham to Hareshaw Linn. 3 miles/4.8 km. Easy.
- Hartside to Linhope Spout. 3 miles/4.8 km. Leisurely.
- Kirknewton & Hethpool Linn. 5.5 miles/8.8 km. Moderate.
- Hen Hole Waterfall, The Cheviot & The Schil. 10 miles/17 km. Strenuous.
Waterfalls can be a magnet for midges during the summer so it is worth taking some insect repellant. If you intend to picnic make sure you pack out all your rubbish when you leave.
1. Hareshaw Linn. 3 miles/4.8 km. Easy
This linear, there and back walk starts from Bellingham which lies on the Pennine Way in the North Tyne valley.
From the car park, the route follows the Hareshaw Burn up the gorge past the remains of 19th century coal and iron mines, which indicate how the area has changed in the last hundred years. The well worn, wooded track crosses footbridges back and forward over the burn up to a shady canyon at the head of the valley where you will find the 30 foot high Hareshaw Linn.
There is a bench for visitors to sit, rest and enjoy the view. This walk is graded easy, although the rocks around the waterfall canyon can become slippery at times. Retrace your steps back to Bellingham, which has a reasonable selection of shops and pubs.
2. Linhope Spout. 3 miles /4.8 km. Leisurely.
Linhope Spout on Linhope Burn is also a 3 mile, there and back walk from Hartside in the Breamish Valley, which forms part of the national park.
It lies about 6 miles west of the turn off from the A697 just north of Powburn, and is as far as you can take your car in the valley. If you walk westwards from Hartside Farm as far as Linhope, the waterfall is well signposted from there. You turn northwards at Linhope, keeping the wood immediately to your right, until you reach a kissing gate.
Once through the gate you follow a broad grassy path until you see a finger post pointing you downhill. This is quite a steep descent down which is tricky but possible to carry bikes or pushchairs. At the bottom you reach a grassy area where you will hear the sound of the falls just beyond the trees. The return walk retraces your steps back to Hartside. In the Breamish Valley valley there is a cafe at Ingram and some shops and pubs back on the A697 at nearby Powburn.
3. Hethpool Linn. 5.5 miles/8.8 km. Moderate.
This is a 5.5 mile (8.8km) moderate, circular walk starting from Kirknewton Village Hall opposite St Gregory’s church, where there is parking for a small number of cars.
The route heads right and then left along the quiet B6351 to the turning for Old Yeavering. Here you head up the path, passing a house on your right and above a burn to your left. After a couple of miles you head through a pine plantation until you reach a gate on your right.
The track here descends down to the wooden bridge over Hethpool Linn. Here you follow the grassy path sharply round to the right along the side of a hill called the Bell, where Admiral Lord Collingwood is supposed to have planted oak trees to ensure a constant supply of timber for the navy. This path heads back alongside the river to Westnewton where you turn right over the bridge and along the road into Kirknewton. The nearest shops and cafes are in Wooler, 6 miles to the south on the A697.
3. Hen Hole Waterfall. 10 miles/17 km. Strenuous.
This is a 10 mile (17km) strenuous, circular walk starting from Mounthooly Youth Hostel in the College Valley.
Access by car on the private road, south of Hethpool, is restricted to 12 cars per day except during the lambing season (April/May). Permits can be purchased from Sale and Partners, Wooler and cost £10 per car at the time of writing. From the hostel you head up the College Valley floor following the College Burn past an old railway carriage to the Hen Hole Waterfall.
This is followed by a quick scramble up the hill to Auchope Cairn where you head southwards along the flagstones of the Pennine Way. After a short distance you will find a detour to and from the summit of The Cheviot. From here you return northwards along the Pennine Way as far as the Schil, before dropping back down to your starting point at Mounthooly. The nearest shops and cafes are in Wooler 7 or 8 miles to the south on the A697.