If you look on the OS map for the Bellingham area, the Hareshaw Burn seems unremarkable. Go to Google Earth and the impression is much the same. But delve deeper, and take the time to walk up the Hareshaw Burn and a different world of ancient woodland, ferns, fungi, numerous waterfalls and a surprising industrial past are revealed. The walk only takes a couple of hours (3 mile round trip) and a short guide can be downloaded from the Northumberland National Park website
. The walk starts from a small car park in the village and gently winds its way through meadows filled with thistles, buttercups, Hog Weed (no not the unpleasant Giant Hog Weed), clover and a myriad of insects busily buzzing around.
Further on it's possible to get down to the burn side and watch the stream tumble over sandstones formed nearly 340 million years ago in the Carboniferous Period
As you walk further up the burn becomes more and more confined by the craggy walls of sandstones, shales and limestones as it cut its way down through the rocks over the eons. In the shade and damp conditions, ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi thrive.
Several well built footbridges allow the path to zigzag across the burn offering views of waterfalls, giant sandstone boulders and the occasional glimpse of a Grey Wagtail or perhaps a Dipper. Eventually the main event! Hareshaw Linn tumbles over a sandstone ledge into a deep dark pool. It's a very atmospheric place.
Whilst it is possible to scramble down to the edge of the plunge pool, care should be taken as the rocks are covered in moss and lichen and can be very slippery. Not a place to twist an ankle! Sit for a while and enjoy the beauty of this place, then wander back down to Bellingham for a well earned cuppa and slice of cake. Rocky Road
in the village square and Carriages Tea Room
next to the Heritage Centre
are both excellent- please note I am not sponsored by either!