Blog Archives - Acorn Leisure Holidays
Hikes: Simonside and Beyond

Hikes: Simonside and Beyond

If you love your steep climbs as a hiker, then this walk you will absolutely love. I live in Rothbury and when I visit Simonside I choose to walk from my house rather than park at Lordenshaws. From door to door, this is 10.5 miles (which is around the same if you were to park in the Riverside Car Park or on the main High Street).

For the purpose of this post, I’m reflecting on my hike taken last year, I decided to have a sunset walk and wow what a treat that was. Once we had climbed to the top we were amazed at how the clouds were fast rolling in, the views were spectacular, it felt like we were in a plane looking out amongst the clouds. We later learned that the weather conditions are referred to as cloud inversion.

Simonside cloud inversion

“A cloud inversion, or temperature inversion is when the normal temperature distribution of air – warm at the bottom, colder as you go up – becomes inverted or flipped upside down. This means you have a cold layer of air trapped at ground level, overlain by warm air.” Source: google.

Excuse the amateur video I took, but still worth sharing.

 

I’m always looking for new routes to extend my hike up Simonside, so if you are looking for something quite a bit longer then keep checking back as there are so many trails it’s difficult to list them all in one blog.

Simonside and Harwood Forest

If I’m looking for a 15 mile route, I’ll start from the main car park in Rothbury by the river, and head up towards Simonside and once I’ve climbed back down rather than turning back on myself by going right, I veer left and I continue walking along the back trail heading into Harwood Forest. You could make this longer but usually 15 miles is enough for me. This route is popular with cyclists and it’s also on the St Oswalds walking trails.

Excerpt from Foresty England:

Harwood is a large conifer forest located to the south of Simonside Hills in Rothbury. Lying within the Northumberland National Park, it provides visitors with access to a network of public footpaths, ranging from popular open paths to quiet trails through the forest.

Harwood is also one of the red squirrel reserves in the north of England, so keep your eyes peeled for this rare species!

The nearest car park is located at Simonside, which is 2km north of the forest.

Simonside, Hepple circular route

This is not for the faint hearted, around 20 – 22 miles but the scenery is stunning. I’ll post a separate blog on this walk I think! I’ll leave you with this picture taken last year, what a lovely warm day that was….was so excited when I found a spring water to fill up the water bottle lol!

I’m always trying to find the time to write up blogs on my walking, places to visit and dining out, but sometimes I find it easier to just post on my social media pages, so if your not following, then please pop over to our FB closed group (Acorn Leisure Holidays) or follow us on our instagram account @acorn_leisure. Mel x

 

Short Walks: Ross Back Sands taking in stunning views of Bamburgh and Holy Island

Short Walks: Ross Back Sands taking in stunning views of Bamburgh and Holy Island

There’s nothing better then hitting the beach when the weather is warm or hot and in the North East pretty much all of the coastline is dog friendly too. This beach which is called Ross Back Sands is simply stunning and rather quiet as there is very little car parking, in fact, it will take you around 15 minutes (a miles walk) to get from your car to the beach.

Ross Back Sands is steeped in history, located on the north side of Budle Bay, about two miles north-west of Belford. “Ross is the site of a medieval deserted village.[1] Today, there is a large farm at Ross and a few farm and old coastguard cottages, including Ross Farm Cottages. Ross Low is a stream which flows by the settlement into Budle Bay. Ross Back Sands and Ross Links are located to the east of Ross. During World War 2, Ross Links was used for anti-tank training, and there was a small light railway, probably used for moving target practice.[2] A pillbox just to the west of Ross Farm is one of a number of World War 2 defences in the area”. Reference: https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/ross-northumberland/

Upon leaving your car simply head down the lane and keep going, you will end up at Ross Farm which is also home to the Lindisfarne Oysters. The farm itself is a working farm, so please keep dogs on a lead at this point, there maybe sheep or horses grazing the land nearby.

Ross SandsRoss Sands Ross Sands

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve hit the beach gates, you certainly won’t be disappointed with the panoramic views. To the left of the beach in the distance you will see Holy Island and to the right side you will see the impressive Bamburgh Castle.

For our walk, we headed towards Holy Island, a nice and easy stroll, around 7 miles in total including the walk to the beach from the car. Here are a few pictures I took along the way.

Ross Sands Ross Sands

Ross Sands

The storms we have had recently have unearthed the remains of a shipwrecked vessel, you can see them jutting out of the sand and water.

Ross Back SandsRoss Back Sands

Once we got closer to Holy Island, we veered around the corner and came across this. The structure is called Guille Point Beacon. It is one of two navigation towers which were reportedly built back in the 1800’s. Standing proud at around 70 feet tall and known locally as the “Old Law Beacons”.

Tom Blackwell states “Vessels entering the harbour lined up with the two beacons on a bearing of 260° (just south of due west) before turning sharply northward as they approached the tip of the spit – a course which safely guided them through the sand bars”. Credit to Tom Blackwell and Keith Park, link to further information can be found here Lighthouse Guile Point

Ross Back Sands

You may even see some seals if your lucky on this stretch of the beach. We also did have to take a small detour on the way back as there was an area cordoned off to protect the nesting birds.

Ross Back Sands

If your looking for a new beach to explore then I’d definitely recommend this one, the next time I venture out here I’ll be heading over to Holy Island and possibly combine it with a nearby trip to Budle Bay which is also a fabulous beach!

Access to Ross Back Sands: Park on the grass verge prior to getting the Farm (there is no vehicle entry beyond this point).

Sat Nav: Ross Farm NE70 7EN

To get to Ross Back Sands from Felmoor Park it’s relatively simple (via the A1) and is only around a 40 minute drive. I’m focusing my blogs mostly on walks and nearby attractions within an hour’s drive of the park.

After a day of exploring, kick back and relax under the stars in one of our hot tubs. We have a small collection of luxury lodges and holiday homes located on a beautiful country park. Prices start from £350, check out our availability on our website. Link to the property pages can be found here, Collection of properties

Have an enquiry, feel free to drop us an email at info@acornleisureholidays.co.uk

Woody's Lodge

Walking and hiking is my passion, so if you’d like to read more follow me on our FaceBook Page and Private Group. I regularly recommend places to visit and we also from time to time post offers and updates on our properties and the park. Here’s the link: Facebook, Acorn Leisure Holidays

Enjoy your visit to Northumberland, Mel x

Please respect the countryside, remember to take your litter home and keep our coastline clean.

Short Walks: Bewick taking in Cateran Hole

Short Walks: Bewick taking in Cateran Hole

Northumberland has a plethora of walks, hikes and trails to explore. This one is a new one for me, it’s a fairly short but moderate walk. We did 6 miles taking in the wonderful views of the moors and the picturesque ruins of Blawearie. Parking along the grassy verge we headed onto the footpath and took the first left, you’ll see a stone marked with CH. This is the sign that you are almost at the dark cave entrance. If you like a little exploring then it’s worth checking this out.

BewickBlawearie

A little something about Cateran Hole, information taken from trusty Wikipedia.

Cateran Hole is a circa 35m length cave set in the Gritstone of Cateran Hill in Northumberland. It lies about 4 miles due north of Eglingham, and can be reached by lining up the tall mast behind the farm with the left-hand end of the wood to the side of the Quarry House farm (to the north of the cave), then walking on this bearing.

A shallow crater with cut steps lead down into an easy rift passage which ultimately chokes. After the initial steepness of the steps, the passage is roomy with a slight downward tilt, running between two large planes of Gritstone which close in above. After about 30m a block, protruding downwards from the ceiling, reduces the route to a crawl into a small chamber which is choked by large blocks ahead. This crawl is sandy and often completely dry, although in very wet weather it occasionally sumps.[1] The main fault, however, continues, and it is likely that this cave could be extended by concerted digging (a dangerous activity), although it is difficult to see why this would be done in Gritstone, where there is unlikely to be found any significant lateral development.

Cateran Hole is reputed to have been a smugglers’ hiding place,[2] although locals claim that it once linked nearby Chillingham Castle with Hepburn. The latter seems an unlikely conclusion as it tends in the direction of neither, while the carved stone steps favour the former.

Cateran Hole

I’m not very good myself with dark and dingy spaces but I persevered to take some photos, thankfully it was a little wet towards the end of the crawl space so I didn’t have to face that fear!

Cateran HoleCateran Hole

Cateran Hole

After a couple of miles of walking, we decided to stop for a short lunch break at the ruins, incredible views and at this time of the year the rhododendron’s looked fabulous. I also loved the swings hanging from the old and imposing tree. Photographers will love the window view of the landscape from within the ruins.

BlawearieBlawearie

 

Blawearie Blawearie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mel

Before you get to this walking trail, there is also a mini Thrunton Woods you could explore. It’s called Hepburn Woods. I’ll certainly be going back to explore as there are so many walks in the area to do for all fitness levels.

I’m slowly updating my walks that I have done prior to Lockdown and during, if you like walking/hiking like myself then make sure you are following our FB posts – I’ll also set up a newsletter for regular walks from those that wish to subscribe.

Blawearie

For more information on my route, visit the following link: View Ranger

Access: From Alnwick take the B6346 to Edlingham, then continue straight on until reaching Old Bewick. Park considerately on the grassy triangle or the road verge beside the farm.

SatNav: NE66 4DZ

From Felmoor Holiday Park we are approximately a 30 minute drive to Bewick.

Looking for a weekend away or a mid week break to relax and charge those batteries then make sure you check out our availability on our website. Prices start from £350 depending on property. All of our properties come with their very own private hot tub, wifi, Sky TV and we are very dog friendly! 

Stag Lodge, Northumberland

Have an enquiry, drop us an email, info@acornleisureholidays.co.uk, we’d love to welcome you to our premier lodges and holiday homes. Nicola & Mel x

Northumbrian Walks: Craster to Amble

Northumbrian Walks: Craster to Amble

The sun was out, the forecast was looking good and it was time to get my hiking boots on and prepare for my Hadrians Walk Challenge in June. I’ve been training at Simonside for the past couple of months but needed a long distance walk. I chose my favourite walk, Craster to Amble. It’s a total of 15.5 miles, not for the faint hearted.

Rollo was my walking buddy this time as Woody is a little too old now for the long distant walks. We set off from Craster car park at around 9:45am. It was slightly chilly to start off with but after a mile I’d sufficiently warmed up and the jacket was off.

We took in the sights of Howick Bathing House overlooking the sea, what stunning views. Further along there is a cove area, where we watched a family playing catch and enjoying the warmer and most certainly milder temps. Great place for a BBQ.

Over the bridge and upwards as we hiked up towards Boulmer, a lovely place for a pit stop at the Fishing Boat Inn, but please note it’s not dog friendly. There is seating at the back of the pub which overlooks the sea. We didn’t stop this time, we carried on, eager to get to Alnmouth Beach. We walked through the countryside, taking us away from the sea briefly and through a small caravan park with caravans just next to the dunes. We were rewarded by this entrance to the beach. Absolutely gorgeous.

A long stretch of beach, where you will find lots of dogs enjoying the sea and playing catch – not so many that it becomes over crowded. You see plenty of families enjoying rock pooling too and maybe a few paddle boards.

With Alnmouth in our sights, I was feeling slightly tired from not stopping, so I was really looking forward to a pint at the Red Lion and Rollo was looking forward to a drink of water and a chance to have a rest. The sun was beaming and needless to say I was looking a little flushed. This was our half way mark and I was going to walk back but I got a call from my mam and she said she was going to Amble for lunch so thought I’d join her. I just needed to keep the pace up.

After a 20 minute rest, we headed out of Alnmouth and on towards Warkworth. This is a flat walk, never seems to end, I think it’s around 4 miles of walking along a footpath/cycle path. Follow the road along and take a little detour so your not walking on the road as you are just about to enter the very picturesque Warkworth. We stopped to take some images of the Castle and River Coquet.

 

Again, we didn’t stop for a pit stop as much as we wanted too, I needed to get to Amble for 3:30pm and I had another 3 miles to walk. So pushing on we were soon rewarded by the glorious sights of Amble. Never been so happy! After lunch we drove back to pick the car up and then headed straight back to Stag Lodge for a well deserved glass of wine and a hot tub.

If you are planning a holiday in Northumberland, make sure you check out our availability, we have a stunning collection of luxury lodges, all of which have their very own private hot tubs and we are super dog friendly. Find us on Facebook and join our community group, we are always sharing news on what’s happening in and around Northumberland, best places to visit and chatting with our past and future guests.

We hope to welcome you to Northumberland, I’m already planning my next walk and it takes place in Rothbury, with a visit around the grounds.

Mel x

Northumberland Walks: Thrunton Woods

Northumberland Walks: Thrunton Woods

One of the reason’s I relocated to Northumberland from Newcastle was because I enjoyed the many walks with Woody. We have walked miles upon miles, exploring the rich heritage and taking in the breathtaking views. Thrunton Wood is definitely in my top 10 of walks. You can walk for a couple of miles or you can take different routes and notch up those miles. This walk, we managed 9 miles.

These images were taken on the 11th February 2018, below I will post some of my images taken in July and October in 2017. It’s a fantastic place all year around to explore.

Thrunton WoodsThrunton Woods

For more information on the walks, maps and other useful information, please visit Thrunton Woods Foresty Gov website

From Acorn Leisure Holidays (Felmoor Holiday Park), the postcode for the satnav is: NE66 4SD

Thrunton WoodsThrunton Woods View

Thrunton Woods CyclistsThrunton Woods Cave

If you are looking to visit Northumberland, we have a collection of 2 and 3 bedroom lodges, all are dog friendly and they come with their very own private hot tub. Perfect for relaxing after a walk in the countryside. You can view our collection of luxury lodges here. If you have an enquiry, please don’t hesitate to contact, simply visit here.

Thanks for reading, Mel x

Takeaway Night: Lal Khazana, Shillbottle

Takeaway Night: Lal Khazana, Shillbottle

What day do you class as a “Takeaway Night”, for me it’s a Thursday and a Saturday night! A takeaway, movie or in my case watching “Altogether Now”, hot tub and a bottle of wine. Perfect weekend. I am quite often asked for recommendations on where to eat or collect a takeaway, this blog is all about curries.

I had the pleasure of returning to my favourite Indian Restaurant with Tracey from Northumberland Eats a couple of weeks ago. Lal Khazana is located in Shilbottle, it’s literally a 10 minute drive from our lodges on Felmoor Holiday Park. Unfortunately at the moment they do not do deliveries but you can collect. We often dine in about twice a month – and often get takeaways, it’s that good!

I always get popadoms with extra helpings of mint sauce. I know that’s not the correct name, but everyone know’s what I mean. I also ask for extra onions, but I’m not a fan of the mango chutney and the spicy one, I’ve tried it but I just prefer the onion and mint. Simple lass. For starters, we had the Khazana mixed platter for two which consisted of a selection of special chicken kebab, chicken tikka, sheek kebab, onion bhaji and king prawn butterfly – great value at £8.50.

lal khazana popadomsLal Khazana Mixed Platter

I practically starved myself all day as I was so looking forward to feasting here, good job because the portion sizes are very generous. Next up for mains, Tracey opted for the Chinghri Sagwala which is prawns and fresh spinach cooked with garlic, ginger and a mixture of spices, garnished with fresh coriander. I had a sample of this as it’s not normally what I would go for, it’s very tasty but I prefer the massala and balti dishes. I opted for the chicken balti, cooked in special sauce with garlic, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Spiced in a bend of aromatic spices. Oh my, I love this dish. I usually opt for a chiken tikka masala – I did ask for a small pot of that sauce though, so I could dip the nan bread in 🙂

Lal Khazan King PrawnLal Khazana Chicken Balti

We complimented our meal with garlic (again) and plain nan bread, pilau rice and Tracey got a side dish of dhal to try.

Lal Khazana RiceLal Khazana Dhal

My mum always get’s the bengali sizzler. She highly recommends this dish, an image taken from Lal Khazana’s website below.You can view their online take away and dine in menu here, and the contact details for ease are: Tel: 01665 575 880 | Mob: 07800 635 340

Address is: Deanmoor Road, West End, Shilbottle, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 2YP

They are open 6 days a week, closed on Tuesdays, from 5:30pm – 11pm

Lal Khazana Bengali Sizzler

If you decide to visit when stopping with Acorn Leisure Holidays, let us know what you thought, we’d love to see some pics too. Maybe I’ll try something else next time. Have a great evening, Mel x