River and Killhope Law
A varied walk with beautiful, wooded riverside, to open moorland without paths.
Amazing views across the North Pennines and over Northumberland into southern Scotland
Can be boggy in places, even in dry weather.
Ability to read map and compass necessary in poor visibility
The route will take you along the beautiful upper reaches of the East Allen River where Grey and Yellow Wagtails along with Dippers can be spotted on the rocks along the riverbed. The trees being alive with the sound of Blackbirds, Blue Tits and various Warblers. Then as you progress upwards on to the moorland the Sky Larks, Curlews and Snipe will be seen and heard, soaring overhead Buzzards, Red Kite and Hen Harriers with the occasional appearance of Peregrines.
The walk starts in what was the centre of the industrial part of Allenheads, now a quiet Pennine village, where once there were hundreds if not thousands of people lived and worked, now just a hundred or so. Surrounding the village are fields and higher still the open moorland, the lush grass made that way from the lime that was put on the ground to improve its agricultural quality, hence the number of lime kilns found in the area.
The higher reaches of the walk over the top of Killhope Law can be a challenge as there is no public footpaths to follow, just your ability to use a map and compass, especially in poor visibility.
OS Grid Ref NY 859 453 Turn left out of the car park and pass the Heritage Centre and The Hemmel, or pop in for some refreshments before the walk. Turn right along the track that runs in front of the Allendheads Inn, then straight on with the old Smith’s Forge above you on the left. On reaching a junction with another path and access track, cross the track and take the small path that runs at the side of a wall diagonally away from you. After passing through a small stand of trees you will reach another track, turn left gradually gaining a little height, at the next junction continue slightly to your right and down towards a house. Turn right along a footpath just prior to the house, over a bridge and left at the road. On reaching the junction with the Carrshield road, turn left over the bridge. After a short distance, a footpath sign will be seen on your right.
OS Grid Ref NY 850 464 Take the path over the rough ground and eventually down to the river at a road junction, continue along the road with the river on your right. When the road passes over the river continue along the path by the river, do not cross the ford. After some distance of enjoying the riverside walk, another crossing will be found, this time turn left away from the river and around a collection of farm buildings until reaching the road above. Turn right and then shortly turn left to continue along a road initially and then another footpath adjacent to the river.
OS Grid Ref NY 845 494 On reaching a ford and footbridge over the main river, cross the smaller watercourse on the western bank, then turn left alongside this small stream. Continue along the path as it meanders across fields and gradually rises above the river. After climbing a stile over a wall to reach a tarmac road, turn left to follow Isaac’s Tea Trail as it rises along the Black Way. Follow the yellow-topped footpath posts as they go across the moors to rise close to the summit of Blackway Head. Continue a short distance down the West Allen side of the slope until the first footpath post at a junction of pathways. Turn left and follow this grassy track all the way to the road.
OS Grid Ref NY 815 458 At the road, cross over and take the stony track opposite. Approximately 100m before the shooting huts turn left onto a plastic track that will lead towards the summit of Killhope Law. At the top of the track head slightly left to attain the summit with its trig point and cairn. From the cairn head downhill towards the old shooting huts that can be seen on the fellside towards Allenheads. After the derelict huts, a grassy track develops, follow this in a gradual descent back into the East Allen Valley.
OS Grid Ref NY 847 460 On reaching the far side of Dodd Reservoir take a small track that descends to your right. Then follow the path as it meanders through farmland with a mixture of derelict and habitable buildings. Shortly after passing over the track to West End turn right to follow the path as it passes around the headwaters of a small burn. Then zig-zag to join a path that goes around the far side of the right-hand plantation, where the path joins another track. Turn left along this track and continue the descent back into the centre of Allenheads, where refreshments can again be taken at either The Hemmel or Allenheads Inn.
ParkingFree car parking at Allenheads Mine Yard Car Park
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EquipmentMap and compass on poor weather visibility
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