The Reivers Way
By Paddy Dillon
A guidebook to walking the Reivers Way. Follow in the footsteps of the border reivers on this 240km (150 mile) route running from Corbridge to Alnmouth. The reivers route wanders through wild and scenic parts of Northumberland, and can be walked in 9 days. The book also includes variants and alternative routes.
Seasonsspring can be the most attractive time; in summer accommodation needs to be booked ahead but ferries will be running to the Farne Islands; weather is less reliable in the autumn; in winter some accommodation providers will be closed and walking may be harder (in deep snow or after prolonged rain)
CentresNewcastle-upon-Tyne, Corbridge, Rothbury, Bamburgh, Alnwick, Alnmouth
DifficultyThe Reivers Way is straightforward but sometimes the walk is remote and not specifically waymarked so navigation skills are required; terrain is varied; the route is described in 9 day stages but experienced long-distance walkers could tackle it in a week
Must SeeNorth Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; Hadrian’s Wall; Northumberland National Park; Cheviot Hills; Northumberland Heritage Coast; Farne Islands; dramatic castles and wild, empty landscapes
Walk in the footsteps of the notorious border reivers and discover how they survived centuries of strife and warfare.
The Reivers Way almost encircles the county of Northumberland, offering a wonderful opportunity to walk and explore its wildest and most scenic parts.
The trail starts at Corbridge in the North Pennines AONB. After following part of Hadrian’s Wall, a series of little towns and villages are visited, as the route heads in an out of the Northumberland National Park. After catching a glimpse of Lindisfarne, the route traces the scenic Northumberland Heritage Coast to finish at Alnmouth.
With an extra day to hand, walkers can include a boat trip to the bird reserves on the Farne Islands.
Brief History of a Borderland
Geology and Scenery
Access Land and the CROW Act
Travel to Northumberland
Travel around Northumberland
Food and Drink
Tourist Information Centres
Planning Your Walk
Day 1 Corbridge to Allendale Town
Day 2 Allendale Town to Bardon Mill
Day 3 Bardon Mill to Wark
Day 4 Wark to Elsdon
Day 5 Elsdon to Rothbury via the Moors
Alternative Elsdon to Rothbury via the Forests
Day 6 Rothbury to Uswayford
Day 7 Uswayford to Wooler via the Cheviot
Alternative Uswayford to Wooler via Linhope
Day 8 Wooler to Bamburgh via Belford
Alternative Wooler to Bamburgh via Chillingham
Day 9 Bamburgh to Alnmouth
The Farne Islands
Appendix 1 Route summary table
Appendix 2 Accommodation list
Appendix 3 Useful information
Appendix 4 The Archbishop's Curse
Four Ordnance Survey Landranger maps cover the Reivers Way at a scale of 1:50,000. The relevant sheets are 75, 80, 81 and 87. Extracts from these maps are used throughout the guidebook, with an overview (pages 8 and 9) to show the full course of the Reivers Way. For greater detail, and to see the extent of designated access land, five Ordnance Survey Explorer maps cover the route at a scale of 1:25,000. The relevant sheets are OL16, OL42, OL43, 332 and 340.
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The gap in accommodation at Uswayford can now be met by crossing the border at Hexpethgate and making use of B&B at Cocklawfoot Farm. It adds a few miles but makes for an interesting diversion, returning by Auchope Cairan and then on to Cheviot. Thanks to Ken Coulson for sending in this information.
Unfortunately the bed and breakfast at Uswayford, the only accommodation on offer, has now ceased operating. As Uswayford is the end of Day 6 on the itinerary described in this guide, this will require breaking the trip in a different place or taking a tent.
Barrowburn and Trows lie 2 miles (3km) off-route from Uswayford. Barrowburn has a camping barn and tearoom. With careful planning and attention to finishing on time, it is possible to negotiate a pick-up at Trows. This is provided by Forest View Walkers Inn, far off-route at Byrness, and must be booked in advance, tel 01830-520425,
P94 ...along a vague and rugged moorland path... Apparently a reader reports that this wasn't visible at all, so he found a more obvious path to the right....
Comment from the author is: The 'vague' path will just get vaguer if people don't follow it! I'm sure it's easier just to aim straight for Broadstruther Cottage.
Also a general note: This route crosses a number of streams without bridges. In periods of heavy rainfall, these may become very fast moving and dangerous.
'Here is a very useful pocket-sized guidebook for anyone planning to follow all or part of the 150-mile route of this 'unofficial' long-distance trail.'
The Northumbrian Aug/Sep 2009
'This is a welcome update to the first edition from 2004 with better route descriptions, extra stops to reduce some lengthy days and with around 500 GPS waypoints. I’ve walked a number of the sections and can vouch for the accuracy of the descriptions and the splendour of the route.
Each day has a detailed map, profile and excellent route descriptions with times and heights.'
Justin Gutmann, Strider Aug 2009
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Paddy Dillon is a prolific outdoor writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other publications. He has written for a variety of outdoor magazines, as well as many booklets and brochures for tourism organisations. Paddy lives near the Lake District and has walked in every county in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; writing about walks in every one of them. He enjoys simple day walks, challenging long-distance walks, and is a dedicated island-hopper. He has led guided walks and walked extensively in Europe, as well as in Nepal, Tibet, Korea, Africa and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the United States. Paddy is also a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.View Articles and Books by Paddy Dillon
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