Ring Chesters Round

Starting from Hethpool, this walk takes you to Ring Chesters hillfort above Elsdonburn Farm and offers stunning views along the way.

Many of the hills around the College Valley are topped by hillforts. This concentration is impressive and is one of the features that makes the College Valley so intriguing.

Walk overview

Walk difficulty
Moderate
Walk distance
5 miles / 8km
Walk duration
3.5 hours
Location
The Cheviots
Recommended OS Map
O.S. Explorer OL16 The Cheviot Hills
Accessible
No
Dog friendly
No

Step by step route

From the car park turn right

From the car park turn right and follow the road back through the hamlet of Hethpool.

Follow the road as it turns left

Follow the road as it turns left, passing the private drive to Hethpool house on the right, continue on along this road, crossing the Elsdon Burn., passing the private drive to Hethpool house on the right, continue on along this road, crossing the Elsdon Burn.

Where the main valley road turns to the right

At the sheep pens, where the main valley road turns to the right, take the road to the left. After a short distance leave the road and follow the path uphill on the right, signed ‘Ring Chesters’.

Continue on and head for the corner of the plantation

Continue on and head for the corner of the plantation. Cross the fence at the stile and bear right, after a short distance join the wide grassy track and continue to follow this uphill.

Turn left and climb uphill to East Laddies Knowe

As the path heads downhill, turn left and climb uphill to East Laddies Knowe, the first of the hillforts on this walk.

Continue

Continue along the path.

Just before the top of the hill turn right

Just before the top of the hill turn right off the main track and follow the path through the bracken to the fence ahead.

Cross the stile at Black Bog

Cross the stile at Black Bog and after a short climb turn left and head to the corner of the wall. Continue to follow this wall to the next corner (keeping the wall on your left).

Go through the gate in the corner of the wall

Go through the gate in the corner of the wall. After a short distance turn right and follow the path through the plantation.

Climb to the top of the hill in front of you.

When you emerge from the trees cross the stile and climb to the top of the hill in front of you.

Ring Chesters with its double earthen ramparts, is one of the most stunning hillforts in the National Park. Here the builders have deliberately used the steep northern slope to lend the appearance of added strength, and they appear to have elaborated the entrance on the northwest side. This suggests that the display of wealth or status towards the northwest was important. Perhaps the saddle to the north was a route into the College Valley or maybe the territory of the occupants by to the northwest.

Having explored the hillfort continue along the ridge

Having explored the hillfort continue along the ridge, on joining the grassy track turn left and continue downhill to Elsdonburn Farm.

Continue through the gate

Continue through the gate and along the tarmac road.

Just after the junction leave the road and turn right

Just after the junction leave the road and turn right, signed Great Hetha, cross the stile and the burn and follow the fence uphill, keeping the fence on your right.

For an easier route back continue along the road until you meet the College Valley road. Turn right and return through Hethpool to the car park.

At the top of the hill cross the ladder stile in the wall

At the top of the hill cross the ladder stile in the wall just off to the right, and continue straight ahead along the track

You can take a short detour before crossing the stile and visit Little Hetha hillfort along to the left.

Follow the road back to the car park

Keeping the plantation on your left continue downhill, on joining the valley road turn left and follow the road back to the car park.

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.