This walk will take you through very diverse landscapes. Firstly, there will be the grassy swards high above the valley followed by the hidden gems along the valley floor. From the historic Carrshield Mine Shop the walk takes you past an old kiln, just after the path up the slope. There are many of these kilns along the valley, some of which can be spotted along the walk. Please do not climb or tamper with these as they are historic structures.
The history continues as you climb out of the valley, passing old mines and quarries. There is evidence that the area was mined by the Romans. An impressive sheepfold stands on the summit plateau just before descending towards Farney Shield. It is believed that in the heyday of the mining the population of this area was 10 times the current level.
During the walk, especially along the grassy upper slopes, binoculars may be of use to spot the birds that breed on these upland pastures. Species such as Curlew, Snipe and Golden Plover are endangered but can be spotted during the breeding season (Spring to early Summer). It is important to stay on the paths and keep dogs under very close control in order to protect these species.
Along the valley floor the path can at times be challenging to follow, but it is an enchanting area away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with the River West Allen gently flowing over the rocks. Every now and again there are glimpses of old quarries and stone workings, even spots where the river has been forced to become a millstream.
Close to the end of the walk you go close to the oldest building in Carrshield, an old Bastle house. A bastle house were fortified farmhouses, built to protect its inhabitants and their livestock from the marauding clans and gangs throughout Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Collectively these villains were known as the Reviers, throughout the 1500, and 1600’s. There are approximately 200 Bastles remaining across Northumberland, two of which are close to this walk.
Book recommendations for this region: