New Moor Crossroads to Felton – 12 October 2019
Here’s a new place to finish the walks and while we have been through it on a number of occasions we have never completed our routes in Felton. This small village is just off the A1 road going north from Morpeth and south of Alnwick, however, until 1981 when the A1 bypass was built it stood on the original Great North Road and for many years was an important link on the coach route between London and Edinburgh. The first stagecoach service started in 1712 and for over 100 years this small village benefitted from the money generated through the coach travel.
During this period there were upwards of seven coaching inns offering a service to travellers and the number of shopkeepers and merchants grew accordingly. This all came to an end when in 1847 the Newcastle to Berwick section of the railway opened which provided a through link from London to Edinburgh by train. As coach travel gradually came to an end all the coaching inns began to close but Felton survived and while its economy declined it still managed to grow in subsequent years.
The two walks that we are doing into Felton are both coming from the A697 road which lies to the west. The 11.5-mile route goes through Old Swarland and past Felton to the north. It keeps going west and crosses the River Croquet before coming south and picking up St Oswald’s Way which goes through Felton.
The second walk, a 10.5-mile route starts at New Moor Crossroads on the A697 and goes up the track towards Longframlington Common. Just after the start, the route passes the old stagecoach stop that is on the line of the old A697 from Framlington Gate to New Moor Crossroads. This whole road provided a faster alternative to Edinburgh than the original A1 or Great North Road after it had left Newcastle. This coaching inn which was likely the first stage after leaving Morpeth also provided links southwest to Rothbury and northeast to Alnwick using what is now the B6341 road. If you follow the A697 road back towards Longframlington there is then just a short stretch of road, the B6345 which leads Old Swarland and on to Felton.
It is not hard to imagine as you stand on the site of this coaching inn one of the old stagecoaches coming from the direction of Edinburgh and pulling into this coach stop before making the run down to Morpeth and passing through Felton on the way.
We are now doing three walks, the route is not shown on the map below but it is included in our walk description. This shorter route picks up the 11.5 mile route at Longframlington and follows it east to the River Coquet before coming south to Felton.
The image on the left was taken when we were previously on the site of the coaching inn on a walk to Alnwick. It is hard to believe that this old pile of stones was once a busy place on the road to Scotland. Only the size of the stonework gives some sense of how big it might have been because there is no indication on the ground of what it might have once looked like.
As it was such a lovely day on our last walk the image for the post shows one of the groups on their way to Sleights along the Cleveland Way at the coast.
|Walk No. 21||New Moor Crossroads to Felton||12 October 2019|
|Area: Northumberland||Map: OL 27|
8 miles Moderate
Footpath north of Embleton Hall – North End – Low Hall – Smalldean Farm – Old Swarland – East House – Old Felton – Acton Hall – Permissive Path to River Coquet – South on footpath to The Groves – Mouldshaugh Lane – Felton
10.5 miles Moderate
Start New Moor Crossroads
Bridleway to Longframlington Common – Shirlaw Hope – Bridleway and Footpath to Framhill – Longframlington – Footpath north of Embleton Hall – Swarland Fence – Felton Fence – Tile Kiln Rush – North to Grid Ref: NU174003 – Under A1 Road – Felton Park – Felton
11.5 miles Moderate
Start A697 Road Grid Ref: NU117041
Little Knogley Plantation – Canada – Embleton Steads – North End – Low Hall – Smalldean Farm – Old Swarland – East House – Old Felton – Acton Hall – Bridge at NU206030 – Acklington Park – Low Park – St Oswald’s Way – Felton
Pub: The Northumberland Arms Telephone No. 01670 787370