Monday, 27 October 2008

Simonside route

Coquet valley from the top

Near to Rothbury this route has long descents, fast forestry roads and fantastic views of the Cheviots, Coquetdale and the coast.The best bit is the Hepplewhitefield descent which is one of my favourite downhills in the valley. It is a lot easier than when I first came down it on a Raleigh with no suspension when I was 14. You can link it with the Rothbury route for a longer ride. Just mind out you don't get into any trouble with the native dwarves The Duergar.

Route Map
The map is not completely right as I have changed the route slightly since I drew it.

1. Start at the Simonside Forestry car park. Go go up the hill passed the barrier. Ignore the track downhill to your left as you loop round but on meeting the next junction take the right hand fork a ride down the track with the antenna on your right, Follow the forestry road down the hill, take the next left up the hill and through the barrier. There is a path to your left here to an interesting rock formation called little church rock but this is not a very good track for bikes. Don't take this path but continue on the forestry track. Follow the track straight as it descends and then starts to climb again. It get bit more interesting here as the track turns into a singletrack climb starting a bit wet but then turning into a rocky trail that climbs up through the old part of the beach forest on Simonside. You come to a little cairn and the the path swings to the left and then right and left again. Please mail me if you can climb all the way up here. You would need some serious trials skills to get up the last bit! After the rocks the you come out of the forest and there is a nice rocky climb up to the base of the base of the Simonside plateau.Cycle left towards Simonside but then turn right onto the forestry track into the forest. Here you might want to cycle left for about 100m and stop and take in the fantastic view from the top. You get a brilliant view of the Coquet valley, the Cheviots, the coast and heather moors above Rothbury and Thrunton.

2. After having a break at the top turn south into the forest following the main track. Don't take any of the tracks to the left and after about 1 and a half miles you should see a white farmhouse, Chatners, in a clearing to the off right.

3. Take the left hand fork of the road (when the other goes up the hill to Chatners) then the next right soon after to go up a slight hill. After two thirds of a mile take the right up the hill and follow this track round. Eventually you start going down again, past a small quarry on the left a hair pin bend and then just over half a mile after a straight section take the track that veers off the forestry road to the left on a steep corner to the right.

4. Go through the gate and follow the obvious track down to Hepple Whitefield. This gets washed out so there might be some nasty big holes, BEWARE. After going through a gate off the heather moor follow the grassy track that crosses over the field diagonally to the right past the sheep to a red track. Follow this down the hill, past the hall and back to the road. Woohoo. Hope you did not get any punctures on the way down.

5. On meeting the road turn right and down the hill towards Bickerton. At Bickerton take the bridleway to the left across the haugh, past the Caistron gravel works and bird sanctuary through a few gates and join a track that leads you back to Ryehill. Just as you come off the haugh up to Ryehill there is an old World War Two Pill box.There is a whole line of them right up the Coquet. May be they thought it might be a good place to land planes. At Ryehill farm ride straight on and then take the left up to Great Tosson. You can have a look at the old lime kilns on the way up or take a look at the old peel tower at Tosson. Peel towers were fortified towers to defend against the border reivers.

Coquet valley from the top

Sea from the top

Snow at the top

Snow in the forest

Snow in the forest


Snow in the forest


Hepplewhitefield descent

Snow on Hepplewhitefield

Hepplewhitefield descent

Hepplewhitefield Descent

Wild flowers on the haugh at Caistron

Sculpture for the cows on the Coquet haugh


deadlybiker said...

immence route! nailed it last wensday in 8 minits 52 seconds.the down hill section is rad! fantastic warm up for my Andian adventure next week.

4 little pigs said...

My first mountain bike route 20 years ago. Hepplewhitefield seemed alot harder on my raleigh maverick with no suspension though.