St Cuthbert's Way

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St Cuthbert's Way, between Wideopen Hill and Grubbit Law

St Cuthbert's Way is a 62-mile long-distance trail between Melrose in Roxburghshire and Lindisfarne (Holy Island) off the coast of Northumberland. (map)

The walk is named after Cuthbert, a 7th-century saint, a native of these lands who spent his life in the service of the church. He is believed to have been born in what is now Roxburghshire and began his work at Melrose Abbey. He achieved the status of Bishop, and when he died he was buried on Holy Island. He was hailed as a saint eleven years after his death, and when his coffin was opened it is said that his remains were found to be perfectly preserved.[1]

The route


The route starts at Melrose Abbey. It first climbs over the Eildon Hills to the village of Bowden, then turns east to Newtown St Boswells on the River Tweed opposite Dryburgh Abbey.

From Newtown St Boswells the path then follows the bank of the Tweed for three miles downstream past St Boswells to Maxton. Near Maxton the trail joins Dere Street, which it follows south east past the site of the Battle of Ancrum Moor to Monteviot House on the banks of the River Teviot.

From Monteviot Bridge the Way follows Dere Street for another half a mile, before striking east and climbing above the village of Crailing to reach Cessford. A short stretch of road walking follows to Morebattle, from where the trail leads south up the valley of Kale Water. One mile south of Morebattle, the Way climbs steeply to the ridge of Wideopen Hill, the highest point of the trail at 1,207 ft, before descending to the villages of Town Yetholm and Kirk Yetholm, where it meets the northern end of the Pennine Way.

Cheviots and Northumberland

From Kirk Yetholm, St Cuthbert's Way follows the Pennine Way out of the town for a short way, then alone climbs the ridge of the Cheviots which, two miles east of Kirk Yetholm, marks the border between Roxburghshire and Northumberland. The path crosses the ridge into Northumberland between White Law and Coldsmouth Hill.

The trail descends through the Northumberland National Park to the village of Hethpool in the College Valley. From Hethpool the trail then climbs again, through the foothills of the Cheviot Hills, passing just south of the hillforts at Yeavering Bell and Humbleton Hill, out of the park to Wooler.

From Wooler, the Way climbs up the valley of the River Till to the twin villages of West Horton and East Horton, then follows farmland tracks to St Cuthbert's Cave near Holburn. Near the cave it joins St Oswald's Way and the Northumberland Coast Path to head north through Fenwick to reach the coast just east of Beal.

The easternmost section is across the sands to Lindisfarne (Holy Island): this can only be walked at low tide, either by the modern road or by the historic, more direct, Pilgrims Path, marked by posts. Attempts to cross to the island at high tide have frequently proven fatal.

Connecting paths

St Cuthbert's Way connects with several other long-distance paths:

The route west of Kirk Yetholm is part of the European walking route E2, and part of the Scottish National Trail.

Outside links


Long-distance footpaths in the United Kingdom

Cleveland WayCotswold WayGlyndŵr's WayGreat Glen WayHadrian's Wall PathIcknield WayNorth Downs WayNorfolk Coast PathOffa's Dyke PathPeddars WayPembrokeshire Coast PathPennine BridlewayPennine WayThe RidgewayScottish National TrailSouth Downs WaySouthern Upland WaySouth West Coast PathSpeyside WayThames PathUlster WayWest Highland WayYorkshire Wolds Way