A walk created as part of the RAF 100 celebrations.

Created as part of the RAF100 Celebrations, this walk encompasses three crash sites in the Cheviot Hills.

We advise following this route using the Outdoor Active mobile application to learn more about the aircraft which crashed in the Cheviot Hills during the Second World War.

Please be aware that the valley road beyond Hethpool is private. Vehicle access beyond Hethpool is by permit only. If you want to drive to the starting point, you need to purchase a permit from College Valley Estate. 


Walk overview

Walk difficulty
Walk distance
5 miles / 8km
Walk duration
3 hours
The Cheviots
Recommended OS Map
O.S. Explorer OL16 The Cheviot Hills
Dog friendly

Step by step route


Starting from the lovely scenic valley in which Dunsdale sits, the walks sets off from opposite Dunsdale cottage and follows the peat track up the hill.

Approximately ¾mile from the start...

Approximately ¾mile from the start look at land features/marker posts/rocks to the left of the track near a crag-rock pile on a level area. In the distance over the top is a quad bike path, and just over the crag-rock pile you will find an air crash marker post.

Air Crash Site One

The air crash site on the ascent up Bellyside Hill marks the SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MkIIb P8587 which crashed there on 25th March 1943 killing its pilot Flight Sergeant Eric Lindsay Brown RAAF, aged 24 years.

From here retrace your steps back to the track and carry on up as high as possible on Bellyside Hill, then head cross country to Bellyside Crag.

From Bellyside Crag...

From Bellyside Crag there is a sheep track which takes you towards the top of the Bizzle Burn and West Hill.

Air Crash Site Two

West Hill marks the most historical and famous crash site which the majority of people are aware of.

This is the site of the B17G FLYING FORTRESS 44-6504 which crashed on 16th December 1944 killing two of its crew but seven survived thanks to the skill and bravery of the shepherds of the College Valley and Sheila the dog.

The shepherds Mr. John Dagg and Mr. Frank Moscrop went to rescue the crew after hearing the crash and their valiant efforts earned them the British Empire Medal each and Sheila the dog was the first civilian dog to receive the Dickin medal (the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross).

From here continue downhill past Braydon Crag to the next site.

Air Crash Site Three

This is the crash site of the Z1078 VICKERS WELLINGTON, which crashed here on 15th January 1942 in the shingle area near rocks on the north face of the hill, some 300m uphill in line with fence posts. Few remains are evident however debris is around site.

From here continue downhill

From here continue downhill through the gate and follow the fence line down to Dunsdale. Turn right onto the track, pass Dunsdale cottage and back to the start.

Important Information

Please follow the Countryside Code.

• Check the weather forecast before you leave and don’t be afraid to turn back

• Guard against all risks of fire, especially in forest areas. Do not light any fires and please ensure that all matches are well extinguished before dropping them.

• Don’t damage or remove rocks, plants or trees – they are homes and food for insects, birds, and animals.

• Litter can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals – take rubbish home with you
Keep your dog under close control, especially near stock

• Consider others – drive carefully on country lanes and give way to walkers when you’re on a bike.

• Please leave all property and gates as you find them

Please be aware Cheviot is a sensitive area for ground-nesting birds including Golden Plover and Dunlin as well as Red Grouse so ideally avoid the breeding season (April-Aug). Dogs should be kept on leads during the bird breeding season. The College Valley Estate have walked up grouse shooting days in September on Cheviot so the best time to complete the walk is in October.

As part of the management of the SSSI moorland prescribed burning of the dry heath habitat takes place in agreement with Natural England so you may see estate staff undertaking small fires during the legal burning season between mid-October and mid-April. If anyone sees a fire outside these dates or an unattended fire during the Burning Season it may be a wildfire and the Fire & Rescue Service should be notified giving a grid reference and as much detail as possible.

Walk route

Getting there

The starting point for the walk is the junction to Dunsdale cottage in the College Valley.

Parking is available at Hethpool Car Park

Going north past Wooler on the A697, turn left at Akeld onto the B6351. Go past Kirknewton village, and just after the stone bridge look out for a left turn signed ‘Hethpool’. The car park is approx 2 miles along the single track road on the left.

Grid Ref: NT 894 280

W3W: crown.asserts.newlyweds