Date: 18th August 2011
Distance: 4 miles
Ascent: 625 feet
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NU071248
A short waymarked path through Hepburn Woods on to the moor above and then on to Ros Castle a fine viewpoint and the site of a 3,000 year old hillfort.
Route Summary: Red waymarked route through Hepburn Woods on to Hepburn Moor and on to Ros Castle, returning via the road to the parking area.
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: After a fantastic day spent with the family at Dunstanburgh Castle and on the beach at Embleton Bay this was a short early evening leg stretcher. I actually thought the walk would be nothing more than a 2 mile there and back again trip from the parking area below Hepburn Woods but when I saw that there was a longer waymarked route through the woods I decided to follow that instead.
The walk began pleasantly enough on a nice path through the woods before a steep pull on a narrow path brought me out of the woods and on to Hepburn Moor. The moor was particuarly colorful with the heather in full purple bloom contrasting beautifully with patches of green bracken.
After a pleasant walk across Hepburn Moor I crossed over a minor road for the final climb up on to Ros Castle. Although of modest height itself Ros Castle towers above the neigbouring moors and is a fantastic vantage point. An information board in the car park had promised that from the summit on a fine day you can see a total of seven Northumbrian castles. I could easily see Chillingham, Lindisfarne, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh castles but was unable to make out Alnwick, Ford and Warkworth castles, probably because of the largely overcast conditions.
Ros Castle is not an actual castle though it is the site of an iron age hillfort, not that there was much evidence of the latter, at least not to my untrained eye. Perhaps what remains was well hidden in the surrounding heather and bracken.
From the summit I took the direct route back down to the road which I then followed for a pleasant mile back to the car park. This was a nice little outing and Ros Castle certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the best viewpoints in Northumbria. My only disappointment was that the sun hadn't made an appearance. The purple heather was stunning but it really needs the sun on it to truly capture its full beauty.