Armstrong trail at Cragside
Cragside, Rothbury, Morpeth, Northumberland NE65 7PXRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This rough hike takes in the main features at Cragside including the house and iron bridge. Across the estate, the colour green is vibrant in autumn. The pinetum is a special place at this time of year – the rows of spruce are really spiky across the top. Have a slow meander through; it’s very atmospheric.
- Bus stop
Start: Visitor Centre, grid ref: NU073022
Begin at the Visitor Centre. When facing Tumbleton Lake take the estate drive right uphill. Continue uphill on the estate drive towards Tumbleton Cottage.
A short distance after the cottages, turn left off the estate drive and onto a gravel track to follow the curve of the lakeside. Continue on this path and cross over the recently restored Debdon Bridge. This is a brilliant viewpoint on the route; you can look back to where you started and admire the panoramic scene from a different perspective.
When the Debdon Burn dam, created to form the lake, burst in 1946, the valley flooded and filled the Pump House with silt. When the dam was repaired, the stepped spillway was built. Now, when the lake is full, the floodwater runs safely over the spillway and into the burn.
Use the boardwalk (funded by Bovril through their Great Outdoor Revival project) to compete the lakeside circuit. Tumbleton boathouse appears on the left and there are two options to finish the walk.
Complete the circular walk by returning to the Visitor Centre where you started or continue to Step 5.
Take a right onto the steps leading towards the Pump House.
The pump sent spring water from the black tank on the roof of the building to the basin tank reservoir, 60m above the house. The water then flowed by gravity into the house where it was used for drinking and to power the hydraulic lift and the spit in the kitchen.
Follow the path that criss-crosses the Debdon stream. The spectacular iron bridge comes into view, with Cragside house beyond.
Continue forwards until you can see the flight of stone steps on the left hand side to gain access across the iron bridge.
At the other end of the bridge take the winding set of steps underneath the bridge towards the Pinetum. Follow the pathway through the collection of conifers.
The large Douglas fir trees are named after the plant hunter, David Douglas, who died aged only 35 whilst on an expedition in Hawaii. He fell into a pit dug by the islanders to trap wild cattle - and was gored to death by a wild bull that had also fallen into the pit. Lord Armstrong had a team of about 150 gardeners and estate workers who planted over 7 million trees and bushes at Cragside to create the huge woodland estate you see today.
The path forks after the wooden bridge. Turn right to continue through the Pinetum.
At the end of the Pinetum, turn right to cross over the ivy bridge and continue along the path.
Keep on this path for a while until the waterwheel from Warton Farm appears in view. To the right, the path continues to the power house.
Explore the power house. The walk ends here. You can return the way you came or take a different route back, following signs for the house.
End: Visitor Centre, grid ref: NU073022
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 2 miles (2.4km)
- Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 81
Walk along established footpaths – the initial circuit around Tumbleton Lake is flat and after this the walk is steep in places with steps. Stout footwear is recommended.
- How to get here:
By road: 13 miles south-west of Alnwick (B6341) and 15 miles north-west of Morpeth on Wooler road (A697), turn left on to B6341 at Moorhouse Crossroads, entrance 1 mile north of Rothbury.
By bus: To nearby Rothbury, Arriva X14 bus from Newcastle Haymarket, Monday to Saturday. Arriva 508 special summer Sunday service. View timetables at Arriva Bus.co.uk
By cycle: View local cycle route on the National Cycle Network website.
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