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Boxing Day




Walk leader



Wylam – Low Prudhoe – Ovingham – Horsley - Horsley Wood – Wylam


Very windy and cold but sunny and bright with only a few raindrops.


Michelle, Michael, Sandy, Ron, George, Diane, Richard.


Ashley - meal too late - later than promised. Went to other event.

Bernie - Family party.


We were joined by Roger, Alyx, Stephen and Beth as well as two lovely dogs – Molly and Margot, who ran miles more than the 8.4 miles that we covered. There were lots of friendly people about, both walkers and cyclists - lots of dogs as well.

We passed the Spetchells, a unique area of chalk grassland. Note: 'According to Northumberland Words by Richard Oliver Heslop (1894), a spetchel or spatchel was the thin layer of turf laid between horizontal rows of stones used in building a wall ('a stone and spetchel dike'). The name is now associated with the 1km long mound of calcium carbonate dumped between the River Tyne and the railway as industrial waste by ICI as the result of manufacturing ammonium sulphate for fertiliser and explosives during World War II. The process involved using calcium sulphate obtained from powdered natural gypsum, or anhydrite, added to a solution of ammonium carbonate. Calcium carbonate precipitates out from the reaction.  The Spetchells are estimated to comprise two and a half million tons of this chalk. The dump was turfed over to make it less obvious to German bombers during WW2. Ash and sycamore trees were planted on the slopes, and hornbeams on the top, in an attempt to stabilise the mounds. The Spetchells now support plants typical of the ungrazed chalk grasslands of southern England, and a specialised chalk-loving fauna has also arrived, including rare butterflies and moths.'

We crossed the old railway bridge at Wylam. We found a sheltered spot with tables and seating in the sun for lunch beside the river at Low Prudhoe. The adjacent toilets had very hot water and hand dryers that worked. Roger succeeded in tempting a robin to eat from his hand.

We crossed several turnip fields – it was very muddy in places. Deer spoor was spotted in a field. We stopped at the Lion and Lamb in Horsley, where we had a room to ourselves and the friendly staff gave the tea drinkers free mince pies and provided water for the dogs. We saw several lovely houses, especially in Horsley.

We were chased by several frisky black bullocks. There was a stunning view up-river from the north bank above Wylam.

Wildlife: Pied wagtail, robin at lunch, great tit



The Swan at Heddon – acceptable meal – lovely spiced carrot soup.

Photo Gallery


Boxing Day walkers group


Stephenson's Bridge


Open at last


Guest walker


bridge 2

Prudhoe Bridge





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