Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Rothbury and the Carriage Drive

Going through Rothbury this is a nice short tootle with some good downhill sections and mixture of tracks. You could also join this route up with the Simonside route. If its summer you could even go for a dip in the Coquet at the Thrum.

1. Start at any of the car parks in Rothbury beside the river, either just out of Rothbury towards Thropton at Beggars Rig or the one over the bridge and to the right on the way to Rothbury. Either way head down the Coquet on the Northern bank towards the Thrum. The bridleway follows the river for about half a mile. You go past the rapids at Thrum mill before meeting the Rothbury road again. Turn left back to Rothbury then take the next right up the hill on the road to Cragside and Alnwick.

2. After one hill, going past the Cragside (There be dragons nothing to see :) ) walled garden, looping around the Cragside lakes and up the really steep hill to Alnwick you will reach a plateau Take the left hand turn here when you come to the forestry commission sign for Debdon.

3. Go through the trees and a gate to come out at the back of Rothbury moor. Keep to the left hand fork and follow the track down to a little cottage. Here take the right hand track along the edge of the wood. Follow this round and at the top the track goes through a set of double gates over a crossroads following the sign to Thropton. The track, called the "carriage drive", loops round the edge of Rothbury moor with fantastic views of Coquetdale and the Cheviots.

4. After just under a mile from the crossroads with Simonside in front of you there is a track to the right. If you want to take a short cut go down here and follow from 7, otherwise carry on along the main track. This goes above Rothbury down a short hill past a aerial and through a gate into some woods. After a short climb you traverse for a bit then snake down the track until you come to the Bridleway on your right.

5. The bridleway is a short but nice bit of singletrack that spits you out on the hillside road above Rothbury. Turn right and after under a mile, just before the road turns steeply down back toward Rothbury take the first left (Not the second to Pondercherry).

6. The lonnen goes up the hill again near some houses and back onto the moor. Climb up the track through the ancient defences and ditches of old Rothbury. Follow the rough stony track for about a mile to the top of Physic Lane. Hopefully you will recognise the spot from higher track you were on before.

7. Go through the gate and down Physic lane. You can't go wrong here if you stick to the track it goes through a few gates, new ones as well, bah it didn't happen in my day, down to the back of Thropton. Anyway on reaching the main road turn left back towards Rothbury.

8. After around a mile there is a track to your left to the Ladies Bridge (if you find yourself going up hill you've gone to far) Go down here, across the bridge and across the haugh to Newtown.

9. Here you join a proper road, go past the old Tosson mil and meet a T-junction. Take a left then a right up to Great Tosson. Have a look at the Tower if you want or continue on the road to the left up to Simonside.

10. After going up the hill and past the forestry car park (if you wanted to you could link this ride to the Simonside route here) you go down a short hill and over a cattle grid.

11. Here take the bridleway to the left straight after the cattle grid. Go through the newly planted wood for 200m then through a gate into a field. Go straight up the field following the fence and round an old quarry to a gate at some trees on you right. Go through this and ride along the grassy track east until you reach a small farm. Turn left and the track leads you around the front of the farm to the track back down to Rothbury. Keep on this and it brings you out at Whitton. Just after going passed the tower take a left then another left then right down to Rothbury. The tower called "Sharps Folly" was built as a "Job" creation scheme and used to be an observatory. On reaching the Coquet make your own way back.

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