The Wannie Line – 4th August 2019

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Group shot

The start for the Wannie Line walk is not easy to find. Martin went out to the road, in front of the former National Trust Regional Office, to make sure everyone knew where the car park was.

Once we were suitably warmed up, we set off on the path down to the old railway. There were some new wildflowers out. The most striking was salad burnet, which has a striking dark red flower head. It was the first time we’d seen it this year and there was plenty about.

As we walked along we made sure to try to spot some of our favourite and interesting wild flowers. Common hogweed, has edible seeds this time of year, which have a very aromatic flavour a bit like cardamom. Pineapple weed actually smells of pineapple.

The first third of the walk is a very pleasant stroll along the Rothbury branch line. Railway lines are generally flat, with very shallow inclines. So, they are easy walking. However, the second third of the walk crosses farmland and is a bit more undulating.

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Walking the Rothbury branch

Early on the group spotted wild raspberries and lots of them. Everyone enjoyed a few and remarked how sweet they were. This is obviously the time of year for them.

The walk continues through Delf Plantation, which is beautiful and tranquil, and then onto cross some fields. There is evidence of an old lime quarry close to the lime kilns near Gallows Hill. Another highlight up here is a lovely green lane, past Gallows Hill farm. The overhanging trees provide a lovely perspective effect.

The remains of the second third of the walk are across farmland. Continuing until we reached the Wannie Line or Wansbeck Line. There is an interesting news article, from the 1980s and presented by Mike Neville, that talks about the last journey on the Wannie Line.

At the point that the path joins the line, the trees have taken over the trackbed. There’s enough room for a path but it’s difficult to tell that there was a railway here once. However, there are some remains of railway buildings along here.

The overgrowth of trees quickly thins out and we found ourselves on parts of the line that have now become parts of fields, with livestock grazing on it. The only evidence that the railway was there are odd elements of fencing and the odd bridge abutment. Evidence of old hawthorn hedges, which would have lined the edges of the railway, is also there. Here we could see the lime kilns, that we had passed earlier, on the top of the hill in the distance.

After a short while we found ourselves back in what was clearly a cutting and soon we were back where we started, the point where the Rothbury branch line branches off. The end of a lovely walk.

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Rothbury branch junction – Wannie Line to the left and Rothbury branch to the right

We cooled down and some of us decided to go of to the Kirkharle Coffee House for lunch. This is where Capability Brown grew up, so we had to get our photos taken as the young Capability Brown.

Thank you all for coming along and we hope to see you again.

Julie and Martin x

If you liked the Wannie Line walk why not take a look at our other walks.

Gallery – Wannie Line

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