Welcome to the website of the Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council, covering the Northumberland villages of Broomhaugh and Riding Mill.
We hope to make this site a useful place for all residents of Broomhaugh and Riding Mill to visit.
Your Parish Council is here to help provide all the facilities that you want to see in the village. We aim to spend your money wisely, and to make Broomhaugh and Riding Mill a great place to live and work.
From the Old Playground, turn left and west along Church Lane, past the school, continuing straight ahead up the steep bank to Long Rigg. As the road levels out, follow the waymarked track to the left. Keep following this track to its conclusion.
Over the stile by the 5 bar gate, PERMISSIVE PATH HAS BEEN CLOSED (January 2019) – FOLLOW EXTENDED WALK BELOW INSTEAD follow the permissive route to the right around the field edge to a stile by a gate in the far corner.
Over the stile, drop down into the wood following a clear path to the western edge where you emerge by crossing another stile.
Head diagonally right across an open field dropping down to the Riding Mill burn, following it upstream to the Blue Bridge alongside an old ford.
Turn right crossing the bridge, over a stile and follow the steep rough track ahead up through trees crossing another stile alongside a 5 bar gate near the top of the track to reach the Slaley road by Riding Lea Cottages on the right with a post box mounted in the wall.
Turning right on to the road, follow this past Beauclerc and keep right down to the main road at the western edge of the village.
Cross and follow the main road down in to the village, crossing back by the Wellington Pub, turning right up the small lane opposite the pub carpark entrance, over the Packhorse bridge and back to the Old Playground.
To extend walk 1 to approximately four miles:
At the end of Church Lane track, instead of following the permissive route by turning right after the stile (point 2), turn left and head up hill crossing another stile into an open field.
Head straight up this field crossing another stile into an enclosed track and continue straight uphill until the gradient eases, with High Plains Equestrian Centre on the right.
Go through a wicket gate and turn right, passing in front of High Plains farm house, heading slightly left across the hardstanding area to a substantial track (the middle one of 3) which crosses a small stream and concludes at a 5 bar gate.
Turn right over a stile just before the gate into the wood and follow the path ahead, sweeping around to the left and keeping the field boundary dry stone wall to the left.
Once over the remains of a dry stone wall after a couple of hundred yards, the path becomes a more substantial track.
Continue ahead through the wood until the track forks and follow the right hand fork downhill, emerging from the trees at the top of two fields.
Turn right down between the fields keeping the wall on your right and young hedge to the left. Over a stile, keep the fence on your left and continue downhill until the fence heads off to the left.
Continue ahead in roughly the same direction for a further 200 yards and when the gradient steepens once again and you will see the Blue Bridge ahead of you. Cross the bridge and continue back to the village as before (point 5 – point 7).
To extend walk 1 to six miles: Following the Church Lane track after leaving Long Rigg (point 1), instead of walking to the end of the track, take the first path on the left (uphill), through an opening with a gate and stile alongside just over a hundred yards before the end of the track.
Follow this path up the fields, over three stiles, keeping the hedge on the right and ignoring the path leaving to the right, until it emerges onto the Broomley Pit House Road via a ladder stile.
Turn right once over the stile into the entrance to High Plains and then immediately left crossing another stile and into a field.
Cross the field keeping the wood into the wood.
Follow the path straight on through the wood, keeping the stone wall to your left and ignoring criss crossing forestry tracks and unofficial paths, crossing a stone wall via a stile, finally emerging onto a tarmac road.
Turn right following the road for about 1/4 mile until reaching a marked footpath on the right.
Cross a stile from the road onto open heathland. The path heads down to the left (indistinct) through the gorse for a couple of hundred yards before heading right before a wire fence, along a more distinct path.
Keeping the field boundary to your left, the path soon drifts right, by a low way marker. Continue through gorse and heather, until reaching a stile over a stone wall into the wood directly ahead.
Cross the stile and head down with a stone wall on the left for 30 yards, then on reaching a track turn right and follow this track through the wood straight ahead, ignoring the more distinct track which heads off half right almost immediately.
On reaching a fork in the track after about 300 yards, double back and downhill, now following the track to the Blue Bridge (point 12 – point 14) and back to the village.
Leaving the Old Playground by the stone drinking fountain in the south east corner, cross the road (Whiteside) and take the footpath directly opposite up the steep bank.
Cross the stile at the top into a field and continue straight ahead, keeping Wentworth Grange Nursing Home to the left to the far side of the field.
Go through a kissing gate, over the A68, through another kissing gate, straight ahead across the next field, then over a stile and into the wood.
Follow the path up through the trees, crossing a track and up again until reaching a T-junction in the path. Turn left and east, continuing to follow the path until it exits the trees, then follow the track, right to reach a stile with a dog hole by a low stone building.
Cross this stile, following the path to the left around the field perimeter, over a track and ladder stile alongside a 5 bar gate and along the edge of a 2nd field, keeping the wall to the left, crossing a stile to emerge onto a single track tarmac lane.
Turn right following this lane for a hundred yards or so before turning right again by West Broomley Farm and following the (closed) road ahead.
Go through the gap in the stone wall at the end of the road, turn left and follow the path alongside the A68 before crossing the road by High Shilford Farm.
After crossing the A68, follow the waymarked path to the right, once again alongside the main road, which joins the top of Whiteside bank and follow the road back down to the Old Playground.
To extend walk 2 to three and a half miles:
On emerging onto the tarmac track (point 5) turn left.
Follow the lane past Roe House Farm, where it becomes a gravel track and keep going gently downhill until reaching a T-junction with a tarmac road. Turn right towards Broomley.
At the next road junction, turn right past the telephone box and follow the road through Boomley.
After about 1/4 mile, cross a ladder stile on the right and head left across the field ahead.
Cross another stile to emerge on to the tarmac lane and continue as before (point 5 – point 8).
To extend walk 2 to five miles:
On reaching Broomley (point 10), turn left down the stony track (marked Byway), past the sewerage plant on the left then almost immediately over a stile on the left and into a field.
Follow the path across the field, dropping down to the right to cross the Smithy Burn via a small bridge.
Climb the bank the other side, following the path left, crossing a stile and heading into the trees ahead.
The path snakes right by a former stile then left, arriving at a clearing with a 3 way signpost.
Take the path to the right (marked Old Ridley), undulating through the trees, ignoring the path off to the left after a couple of hundred yards. (This path leads down to Stocksfield from where you can catch the bus or train home if you wish.)
After a small rise, the path passes through a kissing gate and becomes enclosed by a wire fence. Once through a second kissing gate the path starts to descend. On joining a track which comes in from the right, double back uphill to follow this track which takes you back to Broomley. Continue back to the village as before (point 10 – point 12 then point 5 – point 8).
Leave the Old Playground, crossing Church Lane, down the path and over the Packhorse Bridge keeping the church on your left.
Continue to the main road, crossing by the Wellington Inn, head left and then follow the road to the Station which is the first road on the right.
Cross the railway by the footbridge, then proceed under the bridge to the far end of the platform and enter the wood via a kissing gate.
Follow the permissive path down to the river where it joins the public footpath and turn left heading upstream alongside the river.
Continue to follow the path through the wood, crossing two small wooden bridges, eventually leaving the wood behind in favour of more open ground.
The path heads slightly left now to a fence which marks the gravel pit boundary. Continue ahead again, keeping the fence to your left.
After crossing a dilapidated dry stone wall, the path becomes a grassy track. Continue ahead ignoring gates and paths off to either side.
As the track starts to climb it veers sharply off to the left. Ignore this and follow the footpath which climbs steeply directly ahead over the old railway tunnel. The path then descends steeply, first by steps and then a ladder stile. Once down the ladder there are another set of wooden steps on the right a few yards further on which take you back down to the river.
Follow the path to the left along the river until it ascends on to the ridge which forms part of the flood defence. There is the option here to continue along the flood defence keeping the rugby ground to your left, joining a track which ends by the bridge at Corbridge enabling you to catch the bus or train back to Riding Mill which shortens the walk to 3 miles.
Otherwise, when the path joins the flood defence, immediately take the path to the left which crosses the railway via two stiles.
The path then climbs steeply up steps through the trees, crossing another stile and into a field. Head right across the field keeping the field boundary to your right and through a wicket gate which takes you on to the A695 at Farnley.
Turn right along the pavement for about 1/4 mile passing houses on the opposite side of the road, then cross the main road to take the first road on the left signpost “Prospect Hill”.
Follow the road uphill, then take the footpath on the left just after the first hairpin bend via a stile in the stone wall. The path continues half left up the field, skirting a wall to the right to cross the fence via a ladder stile, then continuing in the same general direction past a mature ash tree and on up to the stone wall at the top of the field.
Cross another stone wall stile on to a track, turning right then immediately left back onto the Prospect Hill road.
Continue up the hill to the cross-roads at the top and turn left following the road downhill to a T-junction. Turn left here continuing downhill to Riding Hills Farm on the right.
Follow the footpath into the entrance of Riding Hills Farm, walking between the converted farm buildings, past the farmhouse keeping to the gravel drive and then turning immediately right, through a 5 bar gate and into a small field. Continuing straight ahead a stile takes you into a large field.
Follow the path straight ahead and downhill along the field edge, keeping the fence to your left. Through a 5 bar gate, the path becomes a track between houses to emerge on to the road at Beauclerc.
Turn left and follow the road down, keeping right at the junction to the main road. Continue down the main road to the Wellington Inn, crossing and retracing your steps back to the Old Playground via the Packhorse Bridge.
The bridge carrying Millfield Road over the Marchburn is unadopted and owned by the Parish Council (PC), who have undertaken responsibility for its upkeep. However, Northumberland County Council (NCC) has an overall duty to ensure the safety of highway users on all roads, whether adopted or unadopted. Prompted by a referral of the bridge to the Health & Safety Executive, NCC considered the situation regarding the bridge and imposed a temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) prohibiting use by vehicles greater than 3 tonnes in weight or 2 m in width, whilst the PC considered the longer term future of the bridge. NCC’s Planning and Environment Committee decided to make this TRO permanent in May 2011. It can be revoked only if they are satisfied that the bridge has been strengthened sufficiently to allow the passage of heavier vehicles.
In response to this, the PC commissioned consulting engineers BT Bell to carry out a structural survey on the bridge. This revealed a significant amount of deterioration requiring urgent attention. The PC has authorized BT Bell to oversee the necessary remedial work. They are currently seeking quotations to carry out these works. We expect this work to begin in June or July (for environmental reasons all work on the bridge piers has to take place during the summer months), and to take about four weeks. While the work is taking place it will be necessary to close the bridge completely to all traffic. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. Unfortunately these repairs will not allow us to remove the current width and weight restrictions on the bridge. The two outer beams supporting the roadway have been severely weakened by corrosion, and in the opinion of BT Bell would not safely support vehicles over 3 tonnes. The purpose of the current repairs is simply to stop the bridge deteriorating to the point where it becomes unsafe for any motor vehicle.
The long-term future of the bridge:
Over the last few months, the PC has also been discussing possible long-term options for the bridge with BT Bell. Four different options have been investigated:.
Option 1: demolish the existing bridge and replace it by a new bridge capable of carrying 44 tonnes. This would cost around £200,000. As before, the PC would be responsible for future maintenance – unless NCC could be persuaded to adopt both the bridge and the adjacent sections of Millfield Road. This would require Millfield Road to be brought up to adoptable standards, at a further cost of about £80,000.
Option 2: provide new balustrades for the bridge, restricting its effective width to 3 m (wide enough to allow passage of ambulances, fire engines and HGVs). This would mean that all traffic using the bridge was carried by the four relatively sound inner beams, but not the two severely corroded outer beams. This would allow the bridge to carry vehicles of up to 7.5 tonnes in safety. The estimated cost of this option is around £24,000; BT Bell are unwilling to say how long the bridge might last if modified in this way. Again, future maintenance would be the responsibility of the PC. However, discussions with NCC have indicated that the current width restrictions would have to remain, because there is no other way to prevent heavier vehicles from using the bridge. They are not prepared to run the risk of major damage to the bridge or to vehicles that this could cause.
Option 3: close the bridge to all vehicular traffic (though the bridge itself would remain as a public right of way). This should significantly prolong the life of the bridge and, by making Millfield Road a cul-de-sac with “no through road signs”, mitigate the current problem of large vehicles attempting to use it as a through road and having to turn back. This would be the lowest cost option, costing less than £5,000. The PC would have responsibility for future maintenance of the public right of way, though this would probably not be excessive.
Option 4: replace the bridge with a box culvert. This would have similar implications to Option 1. BT Bell have not estimated a price for this option, but their researches suggest that this would be even more expensive to construct than a replacement bridge. NB: All figures stated are based on costs provided to the PC in 2011.
In the short term, the PC has already authorized the repairs indicated above. This gives the village time (possibly several years) to reflect on what to do in the longer term. The PC’s view is that there is no benefit in pursuing either option 2 or 4. Option 2 appears to pose insuperable problems over enforcement of weight limits, and Option 4 offers no advantage over Option 1. In the long term, therefore, only two options appear to be realistic, though both have their problems:
Option 1: provide a new bridge capable of carrying all traffic, including heavy goods vehicles, at a cost of around £200,000. The PC could borrow this sum, but the cost of repaying the loan would be substantial and could only be met by making a very significant increase in the precept.
Option 3: close the bridge to vehicular traffic when it is judged to be no longer safe for vehicles. At this point, estimated to be around ten years’ time, the bridge would be restricted to pedestrians.
The decision will affect all of us. Even if you never use a new bridge, you will in effect be paying for it through an increase in your Council Tax, so the decision cannot be taken lightly. No decision about a new bridge will be taken without full consultation with the village. In the meantime, we welcome constructive comments and suggestions from any resident of the village. Please send any comments to our parish clerk Monica Anderton by completing the form below:
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