The Greenleighton walk is a challenging 6 mile circular walk. The route takes you across moorland, around the shores of Fontburn Reservoir and past some of Wallington's oldest archaeology.
- Bus stop
Start: Greenleighton Quarry car park
Follow the path up the hill, with the quarry on your right. At the top go over the stile and bear to the left. You will go through a woodland area and then over the moorland.
The limestone quarry is split into 2 sections. The newer section was quarried as recently as 1982 and in total yielded 2 million tonnes of limestone. The older section, which is nearer the farm and passed closely on the walk, was quarried as early as 1777 and used into the 1800s. This quarry is now classified as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) as it exhibits a section of limestone rock containing rare fossils of marine shell faunas, formed 330 million years ago.
The Northern edge of the Greenleighton walk takes you past a steep sided valley known as Fallowlees Flush.
This area includes a 2.4 hectare SSSI, notable for its rich flora, present due to lime rich flushes which flow down the hillside. Species to look out for include broad-leaved cotton grass and early purple orchids. Other notable wildlife found around the valley includes otters that frequent the burn, cuckoos which can be heard in spring in nearby hazel thickets and adders.
Once you reach the western edge of Fontburn Reservoir the large mound of earth and stone is a 3,000 year old Bronze Age burial site.
The large slab of stone at the centre of the mound is probably the original cover to the 'cist' (pronounced 'sist') or burial chamber which has long since disappeared.
As the reservoir appears on your left look out for the cup and ring marked boulder on your right.
It is thought that the Bronze Age cup and ring motifs on the large boulder may be symbolic to the people who were buried at the Fallowlees burial site.
Carry on walking along the southern edge of the reservoir.
The Greenleighton walk passes along the southern edge of the Fontburn Reservoir, through mixed conifer woodland and ancient semi-natural woodland. Fontburn boasts an array of wildlife including visiting ospreys (May - September), great crested newts, adders and otters! The reservoir is also a popular trout fishery with permits available from the fishing lodge on site. There are also toilets, car parks, picnic facilities and a circular walk around the reservoir.
Before coming to the end of the reservoir turn right back down over fields and across the moorland.
Shake Holes are natural craters, formed when water erodes small caverns in the limestone underneath. As water sinks down through these caverns the surface eventually collapses leaving these holes.
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 6 miles
- Time: 2-3 hours
The route takes you over fields and through woodland so ground is uneven and can become muddy in places.
- How to get here:
The walk starts from the Greenleighton Quarry car park 6 miles north east of Wallington. It is off the B6342 on a minor road signposted to Greenleighton and Dyke Head. The grid reference is NZ 035915 Landranger 81.
Alternatively you can start from the car park at Fontburn Reservoir (5 miles south of Rothbury on the B6342).