Distinctive ridge gives fantastic views
This distinctive ridge, with its craggy profile, stands guard above Rothbury.
A walk along the Simonside Hills must not be missed. From the top, you have a 360 degree view encompassing the Cheviot Hills and North Sea coastline.
As a Special Area of Conservation, it teems with wildlife such as the curlew, red grouse, mountain bumblebee, and even red squirrels in the forest below.
Stories, Folklore and The Duergar
The Simonside Hills are the subject of many stories of ‘fairy folk’ and ‘little people’ and if you visit the area you will see how the landscape has promoted these tales!
The following reference to mystical Simonside appeared in the Morpeth Gazette in 1889:
“And once upon a time did not the caverns and recesses amid the rocky heights of Simonside nightly witness the unearthly revels of a tribe of ugly elves and dwarfs – so says tradition – amongst whom it was dangerous for the solitary wanderer to venture, and is not the dismal “Caudhole Moss,” behind “Spy Law” – the home of Will o’ the Wisp, who, in former years, led benighted and unwary travellers by his treacherous luring light into the depth of the bottomless heaf.”
Summer heather on the slopes of Dove Crag at Simonside near Rothbury, Northumberland National Park, England
The most infamous of all Simonside’s ‘little people’ are probably the Duergar. According to the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Cobham Brewer 1993), these are “Dwarfs who dwell in rocks and hills; noted for their strength, subtlety, magical powers, and skill in metallurgy. They are the personification of the subterranean powers of nature.”
Folk-tales of the North Country
Grice’s (1944) Folk-tales of the North Countrycontains a Duergar tale about a man travelling to Rothbury who gets the better of a dwarf trying to lure him to his death. A passage from it reads:
“And as soon as the cock had crowed, the dwarf disappeared, and with him the hut and the fire. The traveller looked up. The sky in the east was turning grey, and by its dim light he saw that he was still sitting on the big grey stone.
“But it was the topmost stone of a dark, rugged precipice. Had he leaned over to the left to reach the other gate-post, as the dwarf had challenged him to do, he would have fallen down the cliff and killed himself.”