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Posted:  Tuesday 31 October

North East Associates
Allen Banks & Staward Gorge Walk

- Thursday 26th October -

A sub-title for this walk might be
‘A Close Call’
  • The “bendy” bridge and some of the riverside paths which were washed away in the winter floods of 2015/16 haven’t yet been restored . . . .
  • The road from the A69 leading to Allen Banks was closed for bridge maintenance at the time of the recce . . . .
  • We had planned to use a new pub for the lunch but . . . .
  • But before we continue . . . .

John Farrington took some pictures on this autumn day, here they are in the group below:

Additional pictures have beed added at the end of this article,
taken by Colin Smith - above

  • . . . . the tale continues:
  • . . . . without the bridge and the original paths the walk was more strenuous than previous walks here have been.
  • . . . . although we had been assured by Northumberland County Council that the road would be open in time for our walk, their 'Roadworks Website' was still showing the road as closed on Tuesday 24th.  However, a quick trip up on this day showed that it was in fact open.
  • . . . . on the day of the recce we found that the "new pub" - the 'Bowes Hotel' in Bardon Mill - was closed for food until 4:00pm.  An alternative was needed!

Nonetheless, on a bright, dry, autumnal day, a dozen hardy walkers headed off deep into Northumberland.

The walk started off down the western bank of the River Allen, with a fairly steep climb up to 'The Summerhouse'.  This was followed by a drop down back to the river and then a crossing over to the other bank at Plankey Mill and next continuing upstream to the Staward Gorge.

A short rest at 'The Summerhouse'
after the climb

Staward Gorge

We then followed a loop in the river and returned back to the gorge.

We abandoned plans for the longer walk ascent to Staward Peel, because previous rains had made the ground extremely muddy and the descent from 'The Peel' would have been too dangerous.

The climb was worth the effort for the view

A steep descent

Walking back to Plankey Mill we continued downstream on the eastern bank, and crossed over the river by the road bridge to return to the car park.

Upstream from Plankey Mill . . .

. . . and downstream

A short drive took us to the Twice Brewed Inn for lunch, where the Steak & Ale Pie was extremely popular – the beef coming from the local Sewingshields Farm and the ale being brewed on-site in the brand new 'Twice Brewed Brewhouse'.

They have a quirky weather predicting stone at the pub,
but perhaps it is 'missing' a final forecast -
Stone Appears Double – You’ve had too much beer!

Ged Downey

pictures above:  john farrington,  ged downey

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Posted:  Sunday 05 November 2017

N E Associate Colin Smith took a series of pictures along the route of the walk.
Here they are below.


Colin returned to the area a few days later when the sun was shining,
with a view of the Plankey Mill area, above,
and the dramatic scenery of the River Allen below.


(ph  31/10/2017)
(ph  05/11/2017)

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