Feel Good

January’s walk of the month: Happy Valley circular

Sarah Lancashire could do with blowing the cobwebs out on this Northumberland trail after Happy Valley season 3…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 04.01.2023

Distance: 8.5km (5.3 miles)

Elevation: 188m

Time: 2 – 3 hours



The trailhead for the Happy Valley circular can be found at a roadside layby 1.4km south-west of Middleton Hall.


Ok, so our choice of walk this month may or may not be influenced by our recent binge-watching of the BBC One crime drama ready for the third and final series, but what we can promise you is that Northumberland’s Happy Valley is a far more relaxed outing than its Yorkshire counterpart as depicted by Sarah Lancashire and co.

Taking you through idyllic countryside that will see you explore the abandoned medieval village of Middleton Old Town before looping around to follow the banks of Coldgate Water, this circular route promises the perfect post-Christmas pick-me-up.

It’s a great route to let your four-legged friends run off some steam, too. Just remember that you’ll almost definitely encounter livestock, so be sure to keep all dogs on leads.

HLN Hint: While the trail isn’t overly challenging, there are some overgrown and poorly marked sections of the route that may make walking difficult. Be sure to wear proper walking boots and bring a GPS or trail map with you, just in case.


Setting out from the roadside layby, head south-west along the road and cross over the bridge, picking up the footpath on your left to cross over Harthope Burn.

From here, head east and keep left along the trail, passing through the lightly wooded terrain along the lower slopes of Brands Hill as you roughly follow the banks of Coldgate Water.

Eventually, you’ll make your way past the abandoned village of Middleton Old Town, where you’ll find the stone cottages and outbuildings of a settlement that dates back to the medieval period. From here, continue along the undulating terrain to the south-east until you arrive in South Middleton.

At the road, head left and follow it towards the end of the hamlet, where you’ll branch off to the left in order to traverse the open fields to the north-east, eventually meeting up with another country road.

Heading left here, make your way to the north along the road and follow it through North Middleton to arrive at Coldgate Mill. Just before the bridge, pick up a footpath on the left and follow it across Coldgate Water to arrive at a junction.

Turning left here, make your way along the winding banks of Coldgate Water, taking some time to appreciate the peaceful setting as you make your way back into the trailhead where you began your day on the Happy Valley circular walk.


For more information about the Happy Valley circular walk, or for more walking inspo across Northumberland, visit the 10 Adventures’ website.

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