In seemingly the middle of nowhere,
Adjoined to the small village of Branxton – is Flodden field. As a warmup walk to our intended double whammy for the day, I didn’t read much into it in our guide before rocking up. I was in for some sombreing education about it’s history.
2km (1 hour)
Map OS Landranger 74
With the modern-day Scottish border within spitting distance,
We arrived at the first of two free to use car parks and made a beeline for the obligatory information board.
It was here that we realised the gravity of the events that unfolded on this unsuspecting field several hundred years prior.
The 📄 Battle of Flodden Field saw anywhere between 17,000 and 25,000 die in the battle, most of which were Scots.
Today, its a completely unremarkable set of fiels with a small stream running between. If not for the monument erected in the early 1900’s to honor the thousands of dead that lost their lives in one of England’s bloodiest battles.
As we exited the car park along the path towards the monument it was clear the dense, thick wheat was almost ready for harvest.
After attempting to fathom a joke about Weetabix and failing, we arrived at some steps and a wooden sign to confirm we were indeed headed in the right direction.
At the top of a short incline was the Flodden Monument, built in 1910, funded by public subscription after a fundraising campaign headed by members of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club.
It is a very simple monument overlooking the village of Branxton – devoid of the grandiose seen in most monuments seen today. The monument bears a plaque with a dedication ‘To the brave of both nations’.
As millenials, and far less brave than those soldiers, Rachael and I headed down the grass path towards the ‘Boggy Ground’ portion of the fields, which tactically was the undoing of the Scots in the battle of Flodden.
Once in the dip between the two fields, it was decidedly less boggy than described – modern drainage and the absence of armies trampling through it probably help here.
Taking a left to follow the marked Battlefield Trail sign once again, we hit the edge of the original field. This marked the central point of the Battle of Flodden field.
After taking a quick Selfie to mark the halfway point of this very quick walk we headed past another field of gold which looked even more ripe for turning into Weetabix!
At the top of the field, where the Scottish Army set themselves for the battle is an unassuming bench – perfect for quiet contemplation.
After a small breather, we exited the field onto the road headed back into Branxton. Interestingly, across the road is the field where the English forces brought their flanking Archers which were critical to their overwhelming success.
As we headed down the road we saw the final information board of the trail – explaining in sobering detail just how much death, carnage and destruction happened.
The boggy ground apparently turned Red with the amount of blood being shed. 😐
After that bit of upbeat reading – we continued down the road into Branxton to have a little nosey at what was around before arriving back at the car park.
Just before arriving back at the car, we noticed the small Parish Church – which we had not spotted when driving in. This church received the dead of both nations following the battle and it’s accompanied by two cemeteries which appear to serve the local community.
And on that note, I needed a sandwich to cheer myself up before driving out to our next destination of 📄 Humbleton Hill.
We needed a short walk for Rachael. It just so happens that Warkworth Castle is one of the shortest routes in our guidebook!
One of the shortest walks in the guide book was just over 2km at Plessey Woods – perfect for the heavily pregnant wife.
With what may just have been the final sunshine of 2020, a hike to the famed Sycamore Gap was in order.
Stonehenge was somewhere I’d wanted to visit for the longest time. So, despite the torrential rain, we decided to pay a visit.
In the afternoon, determined to continue extracting value out of our new English Heritage memberships we headed to Carisbrooke Castle in the middle of the Isle of Wight.
Entry to Osborne House gives you access to the full grounds and a section of the ground floor of the house.