A 2-day circuit of the Deadwater hills of the Kielder Forest region, largely following the route of the old ‘Kielder Stane’ Trail, now called the Deadwater Trail (DWT) on some marker posts.
We had pondered the Kielder Forest area for some time on the maps, a region encompassing a number of new hills including Peel Fell, a Dewey summit and our one remaining unclimbed 600m hill in England – the ‘SiMS’ list. This route traverses Peel Fell and includes Deadwater Fell, another new summit from the Dewey 500m hills, a circuit that seemed right for the predicted conditions.
The route is one of sharp contrast: the ascent of Deadwater Fell, and the descent through Deadwater Forest and return along the North Tyne valley, are very easy walking on good paths and tracks, but the traverse of Mid Fell and Peel Fell is typical north Pennine peat bog of heathery hags, tussocks and sphagnum. Despite being a named trail and furnished with a few waymark posts, the latter section is not sanitized in any way and after a wet spell is potentially very boggy in a few places. The line is almost always discernible on the ground though with even a few brief fragments of good path.
We saw several sketchy accounts of these hills online, and this being a sunny Sunday morning we expected to see at least a few walkers on the ascent from the Kielder Visitor Centre, but we saw nobody at all and the area was deserted for the whole trip.
The old Outdoor Leisure map shows this route but the newer Explorer map does not. Typically each revision of a 1:25,000 map shows various new named walks springing up here and there, but this is the first case I recall of a trail being removed.