Day 8: Blanchland to Hexham
11.75 miles - 1,430ft of ascent
This is a relatively short stage which should afford time to explore one, or both, of the historic communities at each end. The dependence of the area on the lead mining industry is exemplified by the ruins of Shildon mill close to Blanchland. It is not long before the wide open spaces of Blanchland Moor are encountered on the approach to Slaley Forest. There is distant view of the huge Derwent Reservoir – the second largest in North Eastern England.
After going through part of the forest the path follows for over 2 miles Devil’s Water passing the Gothic arches of the ruins of Dukesfield Smelt Mill. After a short stretch of road walking which takes the path around the National Trust’s Letah Wood Reserve the route heads north after crossing West Dipton Burn. Soon after passing a bench seat in memory of Jim Hobbs, a stalwart member of Hexham Ramblers, there is an elevated view of Hexham in its setting in the Tyne valley.
Shildon Lead Mine
Approaching Slaley Forest
Jim Hobbs Memorial Seat