Shepherds Cairn walk and memorial

The Shepherds Cairn is a memorial to two shepherds who lost their lives in the winter of 1962. They were found just half a mile from their remote home at Ewartly Shank.

Download our Shepherds Cairn Walk guide.

Grade: Moderate
Distance: 6 miles (10km)
Time: Allow 3.5hrs
Map: O.S. Explorer OL16

Walk route

Route description

For our Shepherd's Cairn Walk

A. Turn right before the cattle grid and follow the track

Set off along the road, past the Church and former vicarage with its adjoining Pele Tower. Turn right before the cattle grid and follow the track signed Shank House and Low Bleakhope, beside the vicarage garden wall. Go through the gate and on up-hill keeping the wall on your left to another gate.

B. Continue up-hill to the wicket gate

Continue through this gate, and carry on alongside a conifer wood on the right, carry on through a wicket gate into a narrow fenced area, next to mixed woodland. Continue up-hill to the wicket gate in the fence ahead.

C. Follow the track to the top of the hill

Go through the gate and bear right, heading up-hill to reach the track on the skyline in approximately 200metres. Follow the track to the top of the hill, as the track bears right walk straight on along a sunken grassy track, descending gradually to the Coppath Burn. Keep to the track as it crosses the burn and bear left towards the field wall ahead. Make for the gate.

D. Cross the ladder stile by the gate

Cross the ladder stile by the gate, and continue along Salter’s Road (track) this can be wet in places. After passing the sheepfold on your right, continue on along this track for approximately 250m.

E. Follow the right hand fork up onto High Knowes

At the quad track crossroads (marked by a stone) turn left, after approximately 120m the track splits again, follow the right hand fork up onto High Knowes. Continue down the quad track to the Shepherds Cairn Memorial Stone (O.S. NT 967 127).After viewing the stone carry on down to the road.

F. For a shorter walk

For a shorter walk of 4.5miles / 7km – on reaching the road turn left and follow it back to Alnham.

G. For a longer walk

For a longer walk (6 miles/10km) please turn over and follow the directions G to J. On reaching the road turn right, for a short distance. At the fingerpost turn left, signed Biddlestone and follow the track across the hill to the wicket gate.

H. Cross the burn and continue up the steep narrow path

Pass through the gate and continue carefully down to the burn. Cross the burn above the small waterfalls, taking care in wet weather. Once over the burn continue up the steep narrow path, passing what was once Tod Stones farmstead. The way is indistinct here, and can be wet in places, but continue on to a stile in the fence ahead.

I. Cross over the stile, and join the farm track

Cross over the stile, and carry on to join a well worn farm track. Carry on round the side of the hill, passing a u-shaped conifer plantation on your right, making for Hazeltonrig Burn and the next conifer plantation. Pass through the plantation using the stiles provided.

J. Once through the plantation turn left

Once through the plantation turn left, and look for the stile ahead. Continue straight across the next 2 fields to the conifer plantation. Follow the path through the trees. Once out of the plantation, cross the stile into the field. Turn half-right and continue down the field to the rough farm track. Cross the track and head down to the wicket gate in the corner of the fence. Follow this path down to the bridge keeping the trees on your left, once over the bridge continue on past the houses.

K. Continue straight ahead down the track to your car

Approximately 70m past the bungalow turn left up the grassy track, which winds uphill to the gate. Go through the gate and keeping to the track continue on across improved pasture and through another 2 gates. After about 100m you reach a fourth gate by the wall end, with the church in sight, continue straight ahead down the permissive track back to your car.

Getting there

From Rothbury: Take the B6341 to Thropton. Turn right, signed Netherton. Follow this road to Netherton.

Turn right at the end of the village and right again following signs to Alnham. Once in the hamlet of Alnham turn left to the Church.