Rothbury to Primrose Wood

This route offers stunning views of the Coquet Valley around the picturesque village of Rothbury. The way consists of woodland tracks, paths through moorland heather and the old carriage ways near the Cragside estate.

Circular | 8.73km (5.42 miles) | Difficulty: Easy

Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.

The route can be started from anywhere in Rothbury village. There is plenty of parking in the village including two car parks: Beggars Rigg on the North side of the river and Haugh car park on the South side (this walk is written up assuming a start from the latter). It is recommended to follow the route in the anti-clockwise direction, this is because one of the steep sections later in the route is much easier to walk down than up.

1: The route starts by crossing the bridge over the river from the car park and heads right along the riverside. It follows the path as it turns left onto the roadside then follows this road into the village’s high street. From here walkers should turn right then head up Brewery Lane next to the Queen’s head. This road heads uphill and past some old terrace cottages until there is a cul-de-sac on the left with a footpath at the end. The route heads along this footpath as it winds uphill.

2: At the top of the track walkers should turn right and follow the road for a few metres until they spot a footpath on the left-hand side. The route follows this footpath as it winds uphill through the forest. The path here can be a bit overgrown but is easy to stick to as long as walkers keep to the rightmost path whenever it joins to, or forks from, another path. Eventually the path reaches a wide track – an old carriage way. Here the route turns left and follows this track as it winds through the forest. Keep an eye out to the left on later parts of this section for viewpoints which offer stunning views over the village below.

3: The track ends at a gate with moorland behind. On the other side of this gate walkers should head forward a few metres and look for a small bank to the right of the path, standing on top of this bank will allow a view of the track across the moorland which the route follows.

4: On the far side of the moorland the path reaches Primrose Wood, walkers should go through the gate into the woodland and head right on the first track the path comes to. At the end of this track the route then heads left and climbs uphill along another wide track.

5: At the top of the hill walkers should go through the gate on the left. The next section follows the track beyond this gate as it winds out of the forest and across more moorland. Along this section are amazing views of the Cheviots and the Coquet Valley.

6: Eventually walkers will be able to see Rothbury again. At this point, just before the track starts heading North again towards the transmitter tower, there is a path to the right which heads towards a cairn. The route follows this path past the cairn and along the top and downhill on the other side. The decent here is on a moderate incline so some caution is advised, especially during wetter weather. Towards the bottom the path merges with others which is where walkers should head right and continue downhill until they reach a stile. The route follows the path downhill on the other side of the stile until it reaches the road.

7: The route follows the road downhill till it reaches another road and which point walkers should head right. There is a footpath to the left here which will lead back to the high street. However, this footpath has been known to be blocked at times so an alternative is to continue along this road Westward until another footpath is reached heading downhill. This second footpath crosses a road and continues until it reaches the end of the high street. From the high street walkers can then return the way they came back to the start.

For a shorter route walkers could follow the track straight ahead at point 3 and go direct to point 6, though this skips all of Primrose Wood. There are plenty of places to stop for food and beverages in Rothbury along the high street and many shops to stock up on supplies from.

Adapted from Walking in Northumberland.

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