Picnic Tables / Jetty
Picnic Tables / Jetty
2km (1 hour)
Map OS Explorer 316
It’s been a while,
Since visiting Stonehenge on the way home from holiday last year Rachael and I found out we were expecting. Coupled with Winter weather and the apathy and restrictions that come with lockdown during a pandemic we decided to wait for Spring before venturing out again – so here we are.
With Rachael in her third trimester,
It was important to find a short walk to ease back into things as gently as possible. One of the shortest walks in the guide book was just over 2km and around an hours walk at Plessey Woods, just past Northumberlandia which is also worth checking out. With buy-in from the wife, we headed out!
As with any outdoor public space recently – hundreds of families without the usual options for entertainment descend upon parks and trails to attempt to grab some socially distanced fresh air, exercise, sunshine and fun.
It was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves in a COVID safe way, but also a far cry from the quiet, isolated walks we largely saw last year – fingers crossed hospitality and entertainment can reopen as planned soon.
There was an ice cream van and café at the visitor centre, both of which I took advantage of.
Armed with my ice cream and latte (and Rachael’s Tea) – we headed off towards the branching trail a couple of hundred metres from the visitor centre.
Towards the beginning of the trail is a wooden statue of an owl which set a theme within the walk we weren’t aware of before arriving. I quickly snapped a photo along with Rachael who was also pointing and shooting with her Canon camera for the first time outdoors since receiving it as a gift from her parents at Christmas.
Just after the owl, the trail has branching trails marked with blue and yellow – which incidentally no longer match the instructions in the guide book – but we stook with our orienteering skills to understand where the guide wanted us to go.
Crossing the footbridge, the trail takes you around the edge of the woods along the Pegwhistle Burn to meet up with the River Blyth.
As we headed this way, the crowds thinned and we were afforded some peace, quiet and sunshine for the most part along the rest of the trail.
Just before hitting a quarry (not-pictured), we came across some cool looking totem poles. Intrigued, I tried to google what they were for but the signal was not kind to me.
Now back in my comfy home writing this blog I’m able to research that the art strewn across the trail was part of a project by 🔗Leading Link.
The full news story can be read over at 📰 News Post Leader
Rounding the corner from the totem poles and past a quarry face, we connected with the River Blyth, validating Rachael’s sense of direction, much to her delight.
Crossing Footbridge Number 2, the trail follows the river down to some inviting looking picnic benches in a clearing before the river rounds a 180 ushering us back in towards the visitor centre and passing a small jetty along the way.
It was as the jetty that we were punished for the enjoyable descent the trail had taken to this point. The imposing set of steps that Rachael had to take in 3 stages reminded me of our first walk at Walltown Crags where I would march to the top of a hill only to turn around and see Rachael struggling halfway through the ascent – at least she had a valid excuse this time. 🤣
Just before the end of the trail, we came across a replica of Shrek’s swamp, complete with child-sized wooden outhouse which was super cool. A father and son were joyfully playing around with the outhouse and I didn’t want to impose with taking photographs so I quickly snapped the sign and marched on to the completion of the short walk across a final footbridge – walk #1 of 2021 in the bag.
The site and trail, in general, is well signposted and it’s easy enough to turn up with no guidebook and enjoy the scenery, trail and amenities. We will be sure to return once our peanut is born and probably take a look at 📌Northumberlandia which we drove past on the way to Plessey Woods.
We needed a short walk for Rachael. It just so happens that Warkworth Castle is one of the shortest routes in our guidebook!
With what may just have been the final sunshine of 2020, a hike to the famed Sycamore Gap was in order.
Old Rothbury Railway
Making an afternoon of it on the short walk along the abandoned Old Rothbury Railway.
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.