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Northumberland Walk
Blackhaggs Rigg & Great Hetha from Hethpool

Nat Park - Northumberland

County/Area - Northumberland County & Scottish Borders

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 9.6 miles / 15.6 km

Ascent - 2100 feet / 636 metres

Time - 6 hours 50 minutes

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NT894281
Lat 55.546489 // Long -2.16955
Postcode NE71 6TW (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Blackhaggs Rigg & Great Hetha from Hethpool
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This Northumberland walk starts from Hethpool and explores the Cheviot Hills west of the College Valley. The route heads upstream, following the College Burn into the hills lying along the England Scotland border. Turning west the walk passes a hill fort on an ascent of Blackhaggs Rigg to reach the border at Black Hag. Turning north the route continues along the border to join the Pennine Way for a short section to reach White Law. Turning east the route crosses the flanks of Madam Law to reach the isolated farm at Trowupburn from where and ascent to the hill fort on Great Hetha. The route sees few walkers and the views are exceptional.

The start is the small parking area at Hethpool (grid ref. NT894281). After parking walk south along the private road into the upper College Valley. Continue for about three kilometres to pass the access drive to Whitehall Farm on your left (grid ref. NT888259). 650 metres beyond the drive turn sharp right at a signpost to Trowupburn (grid ref. NT888254). Follow the Hillfort Trail waymarks which will lead you up to an Iron Age hillfort and a large cairn (grid ref. NT884250) where you can enjoy an extensive view.

Leave the fort and head south west past a sheepfold and then head uphill onto Blackhaggs Rigg. Continue through a small gate in the fence ahead. Turn left and follow the fence onto Black Hag to reach the border fence/wall (grid ref. NT861237). Turn right along the border with the fence on your left. Continue as far as a gate on the left. Climb the gate into Scotland and turn right through another gate. You are now on the Pennine Way.

Enjoy the views as you head north descending the ridge of Steer Rigg before heading uphill to the summit of White Law (grid ref. NT857261). Turn right through the gate into England and follow the fence (on your left) downhill to Wideopen Head. At the broad col, turn right onto a track contouring across the hillside to reach some sheep pens (grid ref. NT871265). From here bear right downhill to pass through a gate at Trowupburn Farm. Continue past the farm (on your right) to join a tarmac lane heading uphill. After 400 metres turn right onto a signed footpath to Great Hetha.

Follow the grassy track uphill with several way markers to assist route finding to reach the hill fort earthworks on top of Great Hetha. The view from the summit is again outstanding. Continue following way markers downhill to reach the left-hand corner of a plantation. Turn right along the edge of the plantation and continue down to the private road used at the start of the walk. Turn left and return to the start.

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers.

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