A walk created as part of the RAF 100 celebrations.

This walk, created as part of the RAF100 Celebrations, encompasses three crash sites as well as passing the RAF memorial to the airmen who lost their lives in the Cheviot Hills during the period 1939-1946.

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

Please note: if you wish to drive further up the valley you will need a car permit from the College Valley Estate.

Walk overview

Walk difficulty
Strenuous
Walk distance
11.5 miles / 18.4km
Walk duration
7 hours
Location
The Cheviots
Recommended OS Map
O.S. Explorer OL16 The Cheviot Hills
Accessible
No
Dog friendly
No

Step by step route

Start

From the car park turn right through the beautiful hamlet of Hethpool on the St Cuthbert’s Way towards Elsdonburn Farm and beyond.

Leave St Cuthbert’s Way

Leave St Cuthbert’s Way and follow the track up to Madam Law. Continue on along the path.

Just south of Madam Law

Just south of Madam Law you will find the crash site for the DORNIER 217 U5+DL German Aircraft which crashed there on 15th March 1943.

Continue along the route of Wideopen Head

From here, continue along the route of Wideopen Head, on reaching the fence turn left and follow the fence line up to the summit of White Law. Turn left along the Pennine Way and continue onwards to Steer Rig and Steer Rig Gate.

At the junction of the Pennine Way

At the junction of the Pennine Way take the low route. Just before the gate turn left and follow the quad track to the summit of the Curr.

At the Curr

At The Curr you will find the crash site of the DE HAVILLAND MOSQUITO DD753, which crashed on 12th December 1944.

From here retrace your steps back along the quad track to Black Sike.

At Black Sike

At Black Sike you will find the crash site for the HAWKER HURRICANE V6860, where it crashed on 2nd June 1943 killing its pilot, Sgt G R Dawson RAFVR aged 24 years.

From here your route takes you back to the Pennine Way low route gate, then back to the Pennine Way junction. At the junction take the path to the right and follow it up to the Border Ridge.

Cross the stile

Cross the stile back into England and follow the bridleway down to the junction at Fleehope Wood.

At the junction

At the junction take the path down to the left; continue along this path before joining the valley road at Fleehope.

Return to your start point

From here the beautiful hills surround you as you make your return to the start point.

RAF Memorial

On your way down the valley, you come to the very poignant RAF memorial in the College Valley opposite the beautiful Cuddystone Hall.

A lovely place to reflect and admire the bravery of those who lost their lives as well as the bravery of the people of the Cheviot Hills who risked their lives in rescuing so many aircrew from these crashes.

Continue on along the valley road back to Hethpool car park.

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

From the South:

Leave the A1 for the A697 north of Morpeth, signed for Coldstream. Stay on the road until a couple of miles north of Wooler; at Akeld buildings there is a left turn signposted to Kirknewton and Yetholm. Turn left and follow the road for three miles. Go through Kirknewton and over the little bridge, just after the bridge there are some cottages on the left. At the end of the cottages turn left, signposted to Hethpool.

And then…

Follow the road, which turns left at 90 degrees at the end of the farm and again at the bottom of the hill leading into the valley where the road to Trowupburn and Elsdonburn goes off to the right. Soon after this, you will pass a turn to your left – which is the drive to Hethpool House and a row of cottages on your right with a sharp right-hand bend at the corner of them, this is Hethpool. Go straight on across the next cattle grid and the car park is on your left.

If you are traveling further up the valley, park on the grass at the junction to Dunsdale cottage.

Starting Point: The junction to Dunsdale cottage in the College Valley.