The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 22 February 2014

St Cuthbert’s Cave, Greensheen Hill and Dick’s Oldwalls

The disappointment of the first half of yesterday’s walk was eradicated today by a walk that thoroughly exceeded my expectations.

Having manoeuvred Colin through the small gateway into the muddy field, which constitutes the National Trust’s car park at Holburn Grange, up a green lane we headed, with Greensheen Hill dead ahead, under glorious skies:


The hill wasn’t our first objective though, as we thought we may as well take a bit of a detour to see St Cuthbert’s cave (a detour that turned out unnecessary, as we ended up returning past it too, but we didn’t go many paces out of our way):


As natural-overhanging-rocks-where-historic-figures-have-sheltered go, it was impressive.


Quite a nice vista from inside too, although you can’t quite see the Cheviot Hills (at least, not in this snap):


The ceiling of the ‘cave’ is higher than it may appear in the photo two-above too; quite roomy in there, in fact:


With the cave explored, Greensheen Hill was next on the agenda. Glorious views and jolly windy! Fifty miles per hour, said the anemometer. “Let’s drop down for some shelter” said I.


More water featured on the route than the map had suggested. The pond below was shown:


But this one apparently doesn’t exist. (As an aside, it was just as we passed this one that I nearly jumped out of my skin when I glanced down and saw that I was about to step on a deer’s head. There was no deer, just a perfectly intact head.)


The views out to sea were far better than my equipment and skills can show:


And then, just after elevensies (over which we lingered, in a sunny sheltered spot), another water feature appeared:


The only less-than-appealing bit of the entire route was the grassy track through the forest after Dick’s Oldwalls (great name!), where forest machinery had left huge muddy ruts where a few months ago it would have been a lovely grassy surface. I’m sure it will be back to its proper state in another few months.

We were soon beyond the range of the forest machinery, and back onto a firm grassy surface, which took us past more craggy bits (lots of crags on this route) which looked like they may also have some caves, but we didn’t detour to explore.


By the time we passed St Cuthbert’s Cave for the second time we could see rain heading in our direction, so haste was made back to our starting point – and a full car park, in contrast to Colin being the only vehicle when we set out. image

It was a truly lovely route, with great diversity, covering just a few paces shy of 8 miles, with around 1000’ of ascent. I’m sure that all of the ascent was into a headwind!

Fast forward a few hours, and there was a rugby match on telly, which Mick wanted to watch, leaving me at a loose end. So, off I took myself to explore a little of our new surroundings (we’ve moved a few miles down the coast today and are now just outside of Bamburgh), by wandering down to the beach, along it a short way and then back along St Oswald’s Way. That was another 2.7 miles with only about 150’ of up.



  1. One of my favourite areas to walk in! Brilliant day for it!

    1. I can't understand how I've never come to explore the area before. Childhood holidays took me all over the UK, yet I don't recall us ever visiting the north east. Still, better late than never. I suspect it won't be our last visit.

  2. Looks the business Gayle. Very nice.

    1. And to think that the walk only came about because we were moving campsites and thus needed somewhere to walk with a (preferably free) car park nearby. An exploration of the map saw us walking here purely because of the 'P' symbol!

  3. I camped at the cave whilst hiking from Ravenglass to Lindisfarne. Had to carry water for overnight all day as there was none to be found after Wooler.

    1. Ironic really, that there was no water to be found, considering the weather you had on that walk!

  4. Amazing that you remember. Yes, 36 hours of non-stop heavy rain.