The Cheviot Hills (/ˈviət/), or sometimes The Cheviots, are a range of uplands straddling the Anglo-Scottish border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The English section is within the Northumberland National Park. The range includes The Cheviot (the highest hill), plus Hedgehope Hill to the east, Windy Gyle to the west, and Cushat Law and Bloodybush Edge to the south.

Cheviot Hills
The Cheviot and Coldburn Hill
Highest point
PeakThe Cheviot
Elevation815 m (2,674 ft)
Coordinates55°28′41″N 2°09′07″W / 55.478°N 2.152°W / 55.478; -2.152
Cheviot Hills is located in Northumberland
Cheviot Hills
Cheviot Hills
Location in Northumberland
LocationNorthumberland, England
OS gridNT905205

The hills are sometimes considered a part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland as they adjoin the uplands to the north. Since the Pennine Way runs through the region, the hills are also considered a part of the northern Pennines although they are separated from the Cheviot Hills by the Tyne Gap, part of which lies within the southern extent of the Northumberland National Park.[1][2]

The Cheviot Hills are primarily associated with geological activity from approximately 480 to 360 million years ago, when the continents of Avalonia and Laurentia collided, resulting in extensive volcanic activity (the Caledonian orogeny) which created a granite outcrop surrounded by lava flows.

The area enjoys a general right to roam under both the English Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Scottish Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

The Southern Cheviots include the Otterburn Training Area, the UK's largest firing range, where the Ministry of Defence train up to 30,000 soldiers a year.

Description edit

The Cheviot is the highest hill in the range at 2,674 feet (815 m). Other notable tops are Hedgehope Hill, Windy Gyle, Cushat Law and Bloodybush Edge. Of the hills mentioned, only Windy Gyle has its summit on the border. The rest are all within England. The English section is protected within the Northumberland National Park.

Although many of the summits top 500 metres (1,600 ft), most have a relatively low prominence. Only three rise 150 metres (490 ft) or more above the surrounding terrain: The Cheviot itself, Shillhope Law and Housedon Hill, a small northern outlier (see Marilyn). To the south-west the Cheviots merge into the Kielder Forest group of hills.

Hedgehope Hill and overlooking the Breamish Valley

There is a broad split between the northern and the southern Cheviots. The former encompass most of the high ground and are pierced by five main valleys:

The southern Cheviot hills encompass the slopes running down to the valley of the river Coquet.

Geology edit

The Cheviot Burn

At the centre of the range is an outcrop of Early Devonian granite, the Cheviot Pluton, which is surrounded by Silurian and Devonian arc andesitic lava flows, tuffs and agglomerates of the Cheviot Volcanic Formation. These are in turn intruded by a swarm of igneous dykes with a predominantly calc-alkaline chemistry arranged radially around the pluton.[3] Both the pluton and the volcanic rocks owe their origin to the northward subduction of the oceanic crust attached to the former micro-continent of Avalonia beneath the Laurentian plate in the course of the Caledonian orogeny during the Ordovician and Silurian periods.[4][5]

The surrounding lower ground is formed from Carboniferous Limestone, though much of it is obscured by superficial deposits of Quaternary age.[4]

History edit

College Valley in the northern Cheviots, near Hethpool

To the south of the Cheviot hills was the site of the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, and possibly to a separate bloody battle between English and Scottish forces, after which only 110 people survived, which is described in "The Ballad of Chevy Chase". (Note – the origin of the border skirmishes between Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, and the Scottish Earl of Douglas, may have been a hunt that strayed into Scotland and was interpreted as an invasion.) Two other related battles were the Battle of Homildon Hill, fought within the Cheviots near Wooler in 1402, and the Battle of Hedgeley Moor, fought north of Powburn in 1464.

Access edit

Most of the range on the English side is mapped as 'open country' and hence there is a general right to roam over it as prescribed in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Traditional rights of access in Scotland, bolstered by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, provide for similar access for the public to the north of the border. In addition, a sparse network of public bridleways and footpaths stretches around the area, often providing useful means of access from the lower ground onto the open hills.

The northernmost leg of the Pennine Way runs from Byrness in England to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. It is the longest, and most exposed, on the whole of the national trail. The Way follows the high level Border Ridge (literally the England–Scotland boundary fence) for nearly 20 miles (32 km) after the ascent to the ridge from Byrness. The terrain is boggy and remote, and two mountain refuge huts are situated on the Way for those too tired or weather-beaten to continue.

The town of Wooler in the Cheviot Fringe (the lowlands bordering the hills to the east) is often cited as the "Gateway to the Cheviots" as it is the largest town in the Cheviot region; the town also has easy access being on the major A697 road.[6]

Many walking routes have been established, such as:

  • Breamish Valley Hillfort Trail[7]
  • Three Forts Foray,[7] a 5.5 mile walk that takes roughly 3.5 hours to complete.[8] The walking difficulty has been graded as moderate.[8]
  • Humbleton Hillfort[7]
  • Ring Chesters Round[7]
  • Hethas Hike[7]
  • Hethpool to the Curr,[7] a 11.5 mile walk that takes roughly 7 hours to complete.[9] Graded as strenuous.[9]
  • Barrowburn Family Walk[7]
  • Harthope Valley Walk[7]
  • Yeavering Bell Walk[7]
  • Hethpool Wild Goat Walk[7]
  • Linhope Spout Walk[7]
  • Hethpool Linn and Yeavering Bell Walk[7]
  • Kirknewton Hillfort Trail[7]
  • Dunsdale to West Hill[7]
  • College Valley Walk[7]
  • The Shepherds Cairn Walk[7]
  • Reaveley Farn Family Stroll.[7]

Otterburn Army Training Estate edit

The Otterburn Army Training Estate (ATE) covers about 230 square kilometres (90 sq mi) of the Southern Cheviots, approximately 23% of the Northumberland National Park. It is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and used for training some 30,000 soldiers a year. Otterburn is the UK's largest firing range, and is in frequent use — artillery can be clearly heard from Lindisfarne to the north-east and Fontburn Reservoir in the south. Because of this, recreational use of the area is restricted, although it is possible for the public to use some parts of the estate subject to the relevant bylaws. The MoD publishes a booklet, Walks on Ministry of Defence Lands, which offers advice on this matter (see link below).[10][11][12]

Peaks over 500 metres in the Cheviot Hills edit

The peaks marked with a warning sign ( ) lie within the danger area of the ATE Otterburn artillery range.[citation needed]

Name Height (m) Height (ft) OS Grid reference Coordinates
CheviotThe Cheviot 815 2,674 NT909205 55°28′40″N 2°08′35″W / 55.47778°N 2.14306°W / 55.47778; -2.14306 (Cheviot)
Cairn Hill 777 2,549 NT903195 55°28′10″N 2°09′10″W / 55.46944°N 2.15278°W / 55.46944; -2.15278 (Cairn Hill)
Hedgehope Hill 714 2,343 NT944197 55°28′15″N 2°05′20″W / 55.47083°N 2.08889°W / 55.47083; -2.08889 (Hedgehope Hill)
Comb Fell (peak to the east of the Fell) 652 2,139 NT924187 55°27′40″N 2°07′10″W / 55.46111°N 2.11944°W / 55.46111; -2.11944 (Comb Fell)
Windy Gyle 619 2,031 NT855153 55°25′50″N 2°13′45″W / 55.43056°N 2.22917°W / 55.43056; -2.22917 (Windy Gyle)
Cushat Law 615 2,018 NT927137 55°25′00″N 2°06′50″W / 55.41667°N 2.11389°W / 55.41667; -2.11389 (Cushat Law)
Bloodybush Edge 610 2,001 NT903144 55°25′20″N 2°09′10″W / 55.42222°N 2.15278°W / 55.42222; -2.15278 (Bloodybush Edge)
SchilThe Schil 601 1,972 NT869223 55°29′45″N 2°12′30″W / 55.49583°N 2.20833°W / 55.49583; -2.20833 (The Schil)
Catcleuch Shinpeak SSW of Catcleuch Shin 579 1,900 NT682052 55°20′20″N 2°30′00″W / 55.33889°N 2.50000°W / 55.33889; -2.50000 (Catcleuch Shin)
Dunmoor Hill 569 1,867 NT967187 55°27′30″N 2°03′00″W / 55.45833°N 2.05000°W / 55.45833; -2.05000 (Dunmoor Hill)
CurrThe Curr 564 1,850 NT850233 55°30′15″N 2°14′10″W / 55.50417°N 2.23611°W / 55.50417; -2.23611 (The Curr)
Wholhope Hill 563 1,847 NT941117 55°23′50″N 2°05′40″W / 55.39722°N 2.09444°W / 55.39722; -2.09444 (Wholhope Hill)
Beefstand Hill 562 1,844 NT821143 55°25′20″N 2°16′55″W / 55.42222°N 2.28194°W / 55.42222; -2.28194 (Beefstand Hill)
Thirl Moor   558 1,831 NT806083 55°22′10″N 2°18′20″W / 55.36944°N 2.30556°W / 55.36944; -2.30556 (Thirl Moor)
Mozie Law 552 1,811 NT828150 55°25′45″N 2°16′10″W / 55.42917°N 2.26944°W / 55.42917; -2.26944 (Mozie Law)
Carlin Tooth 551 1,808 NT631024 55°18′55″N 2°34′50″W / 55.31528°N 2.58056°W / 55.31528; -2.58056 (Carlin Tooth)
Limestone Knowe 551 1,808 NT672018 55°18′30″N 2°31′00″W / 55.30833°N 2.51667°W / 55.30833; -2.51667 (Limestone Knowe)
Hartshorn Pike 549 1,801 NT627017 55°18′30″N 2°35′10″W / 55.30833°N 2.58611°W / 55.30833; -2.58611 (Hartshorn Pike)
Black Hag 549 1,801 NT861237 55°30′25″N 2°13′05″W / 55.50694°N 2.21806°W / 55.50694; -2.21806 (Black Hag)
Scald Hill 549 1,801 NT927218 55°29′20″N 2°07′00″W / 55.48889°N 2.11667°W / 55.48889; -2.11667 (Scald Hill)
Carter Fell 547 1,795 NT672035 55°19′25″N 2°31′00″W / 55.32361°N 2.51667°W / 55.32361; -2.51667 (Carter Fell)
Yarnspath Law 543 1,781 NT884133 55°24′45″N 2°11′00″W / 55.41250°N 2.18333°W / 55.41250; -2.18333 (Yarnspath Law)
Newton Tors: summit 537 1,762 NT908269 55°32′10″N 2°08′38″W / 55.53611°N 2.14389°W / 55.53611; -2.14389 (Newton Tors)
Girdle Fellpeak at Girdle Fell near White Crags 536 1,759 NT697017 55°18′35″N 2°28′40″W / 55.30972°N 2.47778°W / 55.30972; -2.47778 (Girdle Fell)
King's Seat 531 1,742 NT879173 55°27′00″N 2°11′30″W / 55.45000°N 2.19167°W / 55.45000; -2.19167 (King's Seat)
Shill Moor 528 1,732 NT944153 55°25′50″N 2°05′15″W / 55.43056°N 2.08750°W / 55.43056; -2.08750 (Schill Moor)
Scotts' Law 528 1,732 NT868241 55°30′30″N 2°12′35″W / 55.50833°N 2.20972°W / 55.50833; -2.20972 (Scotts' Law)
Ravens Knowe 527 1,729 NT780062 55°21′00″N 2°20′45″W / 55.35000°N 2.34583°W / 55.35000; -2.34583 (Ravens Knowe)
Horten EdgePeak near Harden Edge   527 1,729 NT786073 55°21′30″N 2°20′20″W / 55.35833°N 2.33889°W / 55.35833; -2.33889 (Horten Edge)
Preston Hill 526 1,726 NT923238 55°30′25″N 2°07′20″W / 55.50694°N 2.12222°W / 55.50694; -2.12222 (Preston Hill)
Scrathy Holes 521 1,709 NT638031 55°19′15″N 2°34′10″W / 55.32083°N 2.56944°W / 55.32083; -2.56944 (Scrathy Holes)
Newton Tors: Wester Tor 518 1,699 NT907273 55°32′50″N 2°08′40″W / 55.54722°N 2.14444°W / 55.54722; -2.14444 (Newton Tors)
Newton Tors: Hare Law 518 1,699 NT902265 55°31′50″N 2°09′00″W / 55.53056°N 2.15000°W / 55.53056; -2.15000 (Newton Tors: Hare Law)
Broadhope Hill 517 1,696 NT933234 55°30′15″N 2°06′20″W / 55.50417°N 2.10556°W / 55.50417; -2.10556 (Broadhope Hill)
Grey Mares Knowe 516 1,693 NT666003 55°17′40″N 2°31′30″W / 55.29444°N 2.52500°W / 55.29444; -2.52500 (Grey Mares Knowe)
Ogre Hill 516 1,693 NT777069 55°21′20″N 2°21′10″W / 55.35556°N 2.35278°W / 55.35556; -2.35278 (Ogre Hill)
Lamb Hill 511 1,677 NT811133 55°24′45″N 2°18′00″W / 55.41250°N 2.30000°W / 55.41250; -2.30000 (Lamb Hill)
Outer Golden Pot   505 1,657 NT802072 55°21′30″N 2°18′45″W / 55.35833°N 2.31250°W / 55.35833; -2.31250 (Outer Golden Pot)
Shillhope Law 501 1,644 NT873097 55°22′50″N 2°12′00″W / 55.38056°N 2.20000°W / 55.38056; -2.20000 (Shillhope Law)

References edit

  1. ^ "The Cheviots". My Pennines. My Pennines. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  2. ^ Ogilvie, Alan Grant (1930). "Great Britain: Essays in Regional Geography". Google Books. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Geology of Britain". British Geological Survey. British Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b The topology and climate of Northumberland National Park Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Natural England". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  6. ^ England, Natural. "NCA Profile: 03 Cheviot Fringe - NE438". Natural England - Access to Evidence.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Staff. "Walking Routes". Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  8. ^ a b Staff. "Three Forts Foray". Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b Staff. "Hethpool to the Curr". Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  10. ^ Otterburn Public Information Leaflet pdf.
  11. ^ Nicholas Schoon (26 April 1997) Travel: Tanks for the wildlife. The Independent
  12. ^ Northumberland National Park – Otterburn Ranges.

External links edit