Travel North - 44: View to the River South Tyne - Former Railway Byway in Rural Northumberland
Lambley, the railway viaduct over the South Tyne and a healthy walk route for the family
A walk in the North Pennines
a designated area of outstanding natural beauty that offers an experience of the area's well-documented bird life and moorland scenery. Follow the South Tyne Trail over the former railway of the Haltwhistle to Alston branch, crossing the protected Lambley Viaduct with its unequalled views along the river and across the surrounding countryside.
The recommended route is to leave the car park at the northern end of the viaduct. Shortly after leaving the car park - the site of Coanwood Station - take the track that leads down towards the river.
The railways of rural Northumberland were never profitable once the minerals were worked out. Much of the network aside from the East Coast Main Line between Newcastle Central and Berwick-on-Tweed, and between Newcastle Central and Carlisle disappeared as railway routes. A narrow gauge line was established at Alston, and there are rumours afoot of the reinstatement of the Hexham Branch, the rest make great walking or cycling routes with views to die for. Look through these pages and see what was there, what is with your guide Robert Kinghorn
Take the track, following behind a house, cross a beck and pass through a field gate. The way crosses diagonally over a field to a stile near the river. Go upstream along the path and cross the footbridge in front of the viaduct and - before you turn left to climb the steps - look up through the high, sweeping brick arches and up to the viaduct's parapet. Take in also the view to the opposite riverbank through the piers. Now you will probably have a crick in the neck with looking up at an impossible angle, (make sure you don't lean too far back) turn and take the steps up through the riverbank woodlands.
At the top of the path where paths cross turn right for a path signed 'Lambley'. Close to a small gate bear right and saunter through woodland close to the river. Pass a row of cottages to reach the road. Now bear left and then sharp right, following a path along another tow of cottages.
Go through the tunnel under the road and cross another field past a solitary sycamore, heading for a kissing gate. Keep going ahead, pass a house to your right and then turn left onto the road.
Lambley Viaduct and the South Tyne
The way down to Burnstones near Slaggyford
This is a mostly busy main road (that took traffic from the railways), so be careful. Take the track marked 'Burnstones 3' and follow it along for a little over a mile (2,25km) to the Glendue *Burn with the fence and wall on your right..
Before you reach the Glendue Burn cross a stone stile over the wall, then turn left and carry on following along what is now the Pennine Way (that runs between Derbyshire and the Borders). There is a footbridge next that you cross and keep on ahead. After about a mile (1.5km) you come across a 'finger' post above Side House. Bear left onto the stone track and take that down to the A689 at Burnstones where you see a road bridge and a former railway viaduct askew to one another.
Turn left into the main A689, taking great care again and follow it for around five hundred yards (150 m) to a small car park where you turn left onto the South Tyne Trail - the former railway route to Alston.
The trail takes you through Softley Wood and on to Whitwham Farm.
Before the Old Station House take the path on the right of the railway trackbed signposted 'Lambley and South Tyne Trail - North'. Pass under this and climb up onto Lambley Viaduct.
This is where you take in the wonders of the scenery, pose for photographs and stand dreaming of better times when the trains crossed this first rate piece of North Eastern Railway railway architecture and engineering. (Take a look at the top of this page again, at the view of the viaduct with its goods train crossing).
From here you carry on along back to the start at the site of Coanwood Station.
© 2013 Alan R Lancaster