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Walking along the "Farm Drive" in Hulne Park at Alnwick
Walking along the "Farm Drive" in Hulne Park at Alnwick

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Route No. 414 - Saturday 21 May 2011
Hulne Park circuit, Alnwick - 14km
Northumberland . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 332 Alnwick & Amble


Passing the entrance to the church in Alnwick
Passing the entrance to the church in Alnwick

Leaving Alnwick for Hulne Park
Leaving Alnwick for Hulne Park

The grounds are normally open to the public from 11.00am. We drove to Alnwick about 6km from our cottage in Longhoughton. There is roadside parking on the B6341 on the hill up from the River Aln (map ref. NU186137) to the town centre and we left our cars there. We walked up the hill to the town centre and turned right to walk along a street called Bailiffgate to the entrance to the church. Here we crossed the road (B6346) and walked along a road called Ratten Row with a pleasant view to our right over the valley. After about 400m we came to the gatehouse at the entrance to Hulne Park.

(It's worth noting that Google Maps has an excellent photo map of the parkland area with all the various tracks and access roads named and the names I have used in this description are taken from there)
This weekend we are staying in a holiday cottage with a group of friends in the village of Longhoughton near the coast in Northumberland. For today our friend Pete has researched and devised a route for us all to walk. There is a large area of farmland and parkland to the Northwest of Alnwick called Hulne Park, owned by the Duke of Northumberland. There are no public rights of way in this area. However Pete discovered that there are plenty of permissive paths through the Duke's estate, but please note that dogs, cycles and vehicles are prohibited.

The church in Alnwick
The church in Alnwick

The entrance to Hulne Park
The entrance to Hulne Park

The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park
The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park

Life has been made a little safer for them by the provision of several ropeway crossing of the drive so that the squirrels can cross clear of the traffic.

We followed the "Farm Drive" through the park where there is a population of red squirrels surviving.

There is a population of red squirrels in the park
There is a population of red squirrels in the park

One of several ropeways to allow squirrels to cross the road safely
One of several ropeways to allow squirrels to cross the road safely

The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park
The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park

The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park
The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park

The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park
The "Farm Drive" through Hulne Park

Just before this point the Farm Drive was renamed Farm Road and we took the turn on our left at map ref. NU164146.

The Farm Drive took us through woodland and then farmland for around 2km to a track, called Tower Drive.

Bluebells by the "Farm Drive"
Bluebells by the "Farm Drive"

A substantial sign post in the park
A substantial sign post in the park

Sheep by the Farm Drive
Sheep by the Farm Drive

A magnificent Limousin bull & friends by the Farm Drive
A magnificent Limousin bull & friends by the Farm Drive

Equipment store by the Farm Drive
Equipment store by the Farm Drive

Climbing Brizlee Hill towards the tower
Climbing Brizlee Hill towards the tower

We kept left on a track called "Cave Drive" to walk around the Southern side of the hill to rejoin "Tower Drive" as the track reached the top of the hill at its Western edge.

We turned left here off the "Farm Road" to climb up Brizlee Hill along this track through the woodland.

The "Farm Road" through Hulne Park
The "Farm Road" through Hulne Park

A green veined white butterfly by the roadside
A green veined white butterfly by the roadside

The track around Brizlee Hill to the tower
The track around Brizlee Hill to the tower

Beech tree clinging to the rocks
Beech tree clinging to the rocks

The track around Brizlee Hill to the tower
The track around Brizlee Hill to the tower

Memorial garden on Brizlee Hill
Memorial garden on Brizlee Hill

At the view point there was a tall stone column and bench seat to enjoy the view. There were also some rocks and sawn off tree stumps by the track here so we sat there for our lunch break.

Here there was a great view out to the Cheviot on the skyline. To the right of the track there was a recently constructed walled memorial garden of some kind with elaborate ornamental iron gates.

Statue of a Carmelite or White Friar by the track
Statue of a Carmelite or White Friar by the track

Memorial garden on Brizlee Hill
Memorial garden on Brizlee Hill

View to the Cheviot from  Brizlee Hill
View to the Cheviot from Brizlee Hill

View to the Cheviot from  Brizlee Hill
View to the Cheviot from Brizlee Hill

Our lunch stop on top of Brizlee Hill
Our lunch stop on top of Brizlee Hill

Hulne Priory from the top of Brizlee Hill
Hulne Priory from the top of Brizlee Hill

(From here I took a short cut with my friend, Geoff, who also has a bit of knee trouble. We took a path to Park Farm and followed Cock Pit Drive and then Duchess Drive to Monk's Bridge over the River Aln, where we rejoined the route the rest of our group would follow.)

After our break we continued around the hill to Brizlee Tower on the Northern side of the hill top. The tower was designed by Robert Adam and was built in 1781 for the Duke of Northumberland. The tower was recently restored and was reopened in 2005. From the tower we returned along Tower Drive to the point where we had left Farm Road at map ref. NU164146.

Brizlee Tower - restored 2005
Brizlee Tower - restored 2005

Bluebells on Brizlee Hill
Bluebells on Brizlee Hill

 

East Brizlee Bridge over the River Aln
East Brizlee Bridge over the River Aln

They crossed the river here and followed Palmstrother Drive for about 1.5km to Hulne Priory at map ref. NU163157.

At the Farm Road the rest of the group turned left to walk along it and then along East Brizlee Drive for about 2km to East Brizlee Bridge over the River Aln at map ref. NU151156.

Hulne Priory on the hill above the access road
Hulne Priory on the hill above the access road

Hulne Priory on the hill above the access road
Hulne Priory on the hill above the access road

Lambs playing "King of the castle" on a tree stump
Lambs playing "King of the castle" on a tree stump

Iron Bridge over the River Aln
Iron Bridge over the River Aln

The ruins of Hulne Priory
The ruins of Hulne Priory

Statue of a Carmelite or White Friar at Hulne Priory
Statue of a Carmelite or White Friar at Hulne Priory

Pete climbed the hill to get some photos of the priory but most of the group were content to view it from below. The priory was founded in 1240 and was a Carmelite friary (the "White Friars"). From the priory they continued around Lady's Well Drive.

The priory is on the hillside above the drive.

The ruins of Hulne Priory
The ruins of Hulne Priory

The ruins of Hulne Priory
The ruins of Hulne Priory

Track by the River Aln heading for Lady's Well
Track by the River Aln heading for Lady's Well

The ruins of Hulne Priory
The ruins of Hulne Priory

Footbridge over the River Aln
Footbridge over the River Aln

"Lady's Well" in Hulne Park
"Lady's Well" in Hulne Park

They crossed the river and walked along Duchess Drive to Monk's Bridge where they recrossed the river and followed Alnwick Abbey Drive for about 750m to the remains of Alnwick Abbey.

Lady's Well Drive followed the River Aln to Lady's Well at map ref. NU170157. The well with its stone circular basin and stone bench and backrest is if fact a grade 2 listed building! The group followed Lady's Well Drive to a bridge over the river by a weir at map ref. NU177150.

River Aln from Lady's Well Drive
River Aln from Lady's Well Drive

R. Aln near Alnwick Abbey ruins
R. Aln near Alnwick Abbey ruins

Approaching Alnwick abbey ruins along the river bank
Approaching Alnwick abbey ruins along the river bank

Alnwick Abbey ruins
Alnwick Abbey ruins

Across the road from the exit is a lovely wild flower meadow.

Just beyond the abbey ruins is an exit from Hulne Park on to the B6364.

Wild flower meadow by the B6346
Wild flower meadow by the B6346

Wild flower meadow by the B6346
Wild flower meadow by the B6346 - but no public access

Start of the path back to Alnwick
Start of the path back to Alnwick

Horses grazing by the path back to Alnwick
Horses grazing by the path back to Alnwick

A cockchaffer beetle
A cockchafer beetle

It was trying to hide and did not cooperate for its photo (so its not in focus). I looked it up when we got back to the cottage and it turned out to be a Cockchafer Apparently they can be seen flying in gardens on warm summer evenings making a loud buzzing noise. A fairly alarming sight but they are harmless to people and eat a variety of plants.

 

We walked up the road for about 250m to a public footpath on the right at map ref. NU179143. We turned on to this path and followed it through the fields for 700m to the B6341 at map ref. NU186140. Along the way we spotted a very large beetle, about 3cm long, in the grass by the path.

Public footpath back to Alnwick
Public footpath back to Alnwick

Public footpath back to Alnwick
Public footpath back to Alnwick

A cockchaffer beetle
A cockchafer beetle

Heading for the B6341 on the way back to Alnwick
Heading for the B6341 on the way back to Alnwick

Alnwick Castle above the River Aln
Alnwick Castle above the River Aln

The whole walk had been 14km and it had taken about four and a half hours to walk including various refreshment and sightseeing stops along the way. It's a love area and well worth a visit - Thanks for this route Pete

At the B6341 we turned right to walk down the hill and across the river Aln with a wonderful view of Alnwick Castle up to our left as we walked back to our cars.

The River Aln at Alnwick
The River Aln at Alnwick

Alnwick Castle above the River Aln
Alnwick Castle above the River Aln

Alnwick Castle above the River Aln
Alnwick Castle above the bridge over the River Aln