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Returning the Wild Cattle Park, across the fields to the track down through the woods back to the start of the walk
Returning from the Wild Cattle Park, across the fields to the track down through the woods back to the start of the walk

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Route No. 582 - Wednesday 20 May 2015
Circuit of Chillingham Wild Cattle Park
(All on permissive paths) - 9km
Northumberland . . .

Route map showing Chillingham Estate permissive paths

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 340 Holy Island & Bamburgh


The woodland floor under the trees was full of bluebells with more still to open
The woodland floor under the trees was full of bluebells with more still to open

Track off the road to the right about 70m from the cars
Track off the road to the right about 70m from the cars

Turning on to a very pleasant grassy woodland path
Turning on to a very pleasant grassy woodland path

Following the path along the western edge of the woodland
Following the path along the western edge of the woodland

We followed this stony track uphill and round a left hand bend for about 150m to map ref. NU063261. Here we turned off the stony track and through a wooden field gate to a very pleasant grassy woodland path. The woodland floor under the trees was full of bluebells with more still to open. We continued along this path close to the western edge of the woodland for about 600m to a stony track at map ref. NU063269.

This morning we went with a group of friends to the village of Chillingham in Northumberland. We had followed the brown tourist signs to the "Wild Cattle Park" and at the 'T'-junction in Chillingham we turned east and drove along this minor road for about 750m to the left hand bend in front of the Parish Church of St. Peter at map ref. NU061259. We continued round the bend and parked on the roadside. Our walk started here and we walked along the road from our parking spot for about 70m to a track off the road to the right

Following the stony track up the hillside
Following the stony track up the hillside

Following the path along the western edge of the woodland
Following the path along the western edge of the woodland

Following the path along the western edge of the woodland
Following the path along the western edge of the woodland

Following the path along the western edge of the woodland
Following the path along the western edge of the woodland

Following the stony track through the forest
Following the stony track through the forest

Graphic warning not to enter the wild cattle park
Graphic warning not to enter the wild cattle park

At the corner of the small wood we turned left to follow a wide grassy track along side the small wood and climbing up the hillside. After about 150m we came to a strong timber gate across the track then a dusty gangway and then another strong timber gate back to the grassy track continuing up the hillside. This dusty gangway was used by the wild cattle to access an area of grassland to our left. The signs advised that the gate must be closed after use and the short crossing should be made as quickly as possible! There were a few wild cattle to our right, laid down chewing the cud, so we duly crossed as quickly as possible and continued up the hillside. After another 150m we came to a track around the bottom edge of the woodland adjoining the wild cattle park.

At the stony track we turned right and followed the track for about 600m to a left hand bend in the track at map ref. NU069266. The bend was at the edge of the woodland with open pasture land beyond. At the bend we kept straight on leaving the forest track and following a grassy track between the fields. The fields were well fenced with warning signs of the dire consequences if anyone was foolish enough to enter these fields which form park of the open land available to the herds of wild white cattle. After about 350m we came to the corner of a small wood. The grassy track continued straight ahead to the starting point for the Warden Guided walks in the wild cattle park.

We kept straight on following a grassy track between the fields
We kept straight on following a grassy track between the fields

Looking back down the grassy track to the small wood
Looking back down the grassy track to the small wood

Wild cattle looking decptively docile
Wild cattle looking deceptively docile

A lovely view across the parkland to the distant foothills
A lovely view across the parkland to the distant foothills

Followed the track around the edge of the wild cattle park
Followed the track around the edge of the wild cattle park

Track around the outside of the wild cattle park
Track around the outside of the wild cattle park

These wild bulls fight for the leadership of a herd with exclusive breeding rights that are strongly defended, so these two were not yet old enough, big enough or strong enough to win these privileges. At map ref. NU080265 we turned right at the corner of the grazing land and continued heading south east following the track along the woodland edge.

We passed through a gate to the track and turned right to follow the track around the edge of the woodland overlooking the boundary of the wild cattle park. There was a lovely view across the parkland to the distant foothills of the Cheviots. As we followed the track around the edge of the park there were two bulls grazing just below us.

Two bulls grazing in the park below the track
Two bulls grazing in the park below the track

Track around the outside of the wild cattle park
Track around the outside of the wild cattle park

We turned right at the corner of the grazing land and continued heading south east following the track along the woodland edge
We turned right at the corner of the grazing land and continued heading south east following the track along the woodland edge

Path heading south east following along the woodland edge
Path heading south east following along the woodland edge

Woodland path climbing up to the ridge
Woodland path climbing up to the ridge

Woodland path climbing up to the ridge
Woodland path climbing up to the ridge

After another 500m we came to a boundary wall at map ref. NU087262. We turned right here, ignoring the gate in the wall, and followed the path along side the wall.

After about 400m from the corner of the grazing land the path turned left away from the wild cattle park and began to climb up through the woodland.

Left turn away from the wild cattle park into the woodland
Left turn away from the wild cattle park into the woodland

Woodland path climbing up to the ridge
Woodland path climbing up to the ridge

About to turn right at the ridge wall
About to turn right at the ridge wall

Path beside the ridge wall
Path beside the ridge wall

Ridge path across the open moorland
Ridge path across the open moorland

About 200m from the end of the woodland we came to a long bench seat and table in a sheltered spot by the path. We stopped here for our lunch with a lovely view across the parkland to the distant hills. We were sheltered from the wind and it was pleasantly warm in the sunshine.

This path continued to climb along the ridge towards the peak at Ros Castle. After following the wall for about 500m we came to the edge of the woodland and continued on the fenced path along the ridge across open heather moorland. The signs indicated that the wild cattle had access to the heather moor on our right.

Path beside the ridge wall
Path beside the ridge wall

A very pleasant lunch spot
A very pleasant lunch spot

Continuing along the ridge path towards Ros Castle
Continuing along the ridge path towards Ros Castle. (Path turns right before Ros Castle to go along the edge of the pale area)

Path dropping down the hillside along the cattle park fence
Path dropping down the hillside along the cattle park fence

Following the track around the hillside of Ros Castle
Following the track around the hillside of Ros Castle

Path dropping down through the woodland towards the road
Path dropping down through the woodland towards the road

Here we turned away from the gate and followed the track around the hillside of Ros Castle. The path dropped down through the woodland for several hundred metres to map ref. NU077250 where the track leads out to the public road. About 25m before the gate to the road we turned right to follow a grassy track continuing down the hillside through the woodland.

After our lunch break we continued along the ridge path towards Ros Castle for about 150m then turned right to follow the path around the outside of the wild cattle enclosure. The path dropped down the hillside for about 200m to a track at a gate into the wild cattle enclosure. Over the gate was a lovely scots pine seen against the bright blue sky.

A lovely scots pine seen against the bright blue sky
A lovely scots pine seen against the bright blue sky

Path dropping down through the woodland towards the road
Path dropping down through the woodland towards the road

Turning right to a grassy track just before the public road
Turning right to a grassy track just before the public road

Wooldand path through the bluebells beneath the trees
Woodland path through the bluebells beneath the trees

A small sample of the bluebells
A small sample of the bluebells

Heading for the out buildings where the guided walks start
Heading for the out buildings where the guided walks start

From the lake the path led us to the out buildings at map ref. NU068259 where the warden-guided walks into the wild cattle park begin.

It was a very pretty path with large patches of bluebells beneath the trees. We continued along the path past the Chillingham Castle lake which could be seen through the boundary hedge.

Path heading towards the Chillingham Castle lake
Path heading towards the Chillingham Castle lake

Out buildings where the warden guided walks start
Out buildings where the warden guided walks start

A herd of wild cattle in the park, seen over the fence
A herd of wild cattle in the park, seen over the fence

Heading away from the wild cattle park
Heading away from the wild cattle park

Crossing the sheep pasture  to the woodland
Crossing the sheep pasture to the woodland

Here we passed through the gate to follow a stony access track down through the woods, past a small car park on the left for visitors to the wild cattle park.

From these out buildings we followed the path out of the woodland to cross the sheep pastures to a gateway and track at map ref. NU065262.

Disinfectant mat as we left the wild cattle park
Disinfectant mat as we left the wild cattle park

Gate to the track down through the woodland
Gate to the track down through the woodland

Looking back across the sheep pasture to the peak at Ros Castle
Looking back across the sheep pasture to the peak at Ros Castle

Track back down through the woodland
Track back down through the woodland

The whole walk excluding the short stroll to the castle was almost 9km and it had taken us about four hours to walk including our lunch stop and numerous photo and general viewing stops, particularly where we could see the wild cattle in the park.

We followed the track down through the woods, past the path on the right where we had turned just after the start of the walk. At the bottom of the hill we turned left and walked along the road for about 70m back to our cars and the end of the walk.

Returning to the cars at the end of the walk
Returning to the cars at the end of the walk


The Parish Church of St. Peter next to our parking area

Chillingham Castle, a visit to the tea rooms . . .

Plaque at the parish church
Plaque at the parish church

Approaching Chillingham Castle from the gatehouse
Approaching Chillingham Castle from the gatehouse

The castle courtyard
The castle courtyard

About 100m along the drive from the gatehouse we came to the castle and went inside to the tea rooms. There's a charge to look around the castle but we were allowed in without charge just to use the tearooms.

Just to round off a great day we left our gear at the cars and walked past the parish church and into the Chillingham Castle site along a drive past a gate house near the church.

A gatehouse at Chillingham Castle next to the church
A gatehouse at Chillingham Castle next to the church

The castle entrance
The castle entrance

One of a pair of cannon in front of the castle
One of a pair of cannon in front of the castle

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