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Canny lass

Halfpenny Woods

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I went up the Happenny woods on my bike this morning. Didn't notice the no cycling sign until I came back out honest!


I haven't been along there for about 30 years and was pleased to see that some sort of path has been put down. The place used to be boggy and inaccessible in a few places but was okay today.


The path isn't a tarmac path like the free woods side of the river but is a bit better than a one which has been 'worn in' by walking over grass etc. The route continues for about three quarters of a mile before you come to private land with a barbed wire fence and no access signs which means you then have to retrace your route back to the bottom of the Hairpin Bend.

  The path is wide enough for only one person in most places but there are no steep inclines so would be suitable enough for any ages especially when it's a dry day. There were a couple of branches that you had to duck under and some exposed tree roots to watch out for too.


Maybe some of the £74,000,000 allocated to Ashington could be diverted to pay for some stepping stones across the river which would allow a nice circular walk along both sides. There are a couple of natural shallow sections with one close to the far end which would be a great crossing point.



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Is it really no cycling?

One of the Development Trust directors is looking at putting together a possible cycling event in Bedlington soon.

There will proabably be two 'routes, one for families and the other for the more earnest cyclists.

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That's why they call a Fox..a Fox...cos they are Foxy!....and very intelligent creatures.

When we as kids played,nay.....spent wor lives doon them woods,as Keith says,the Seven Sisters,trees, still stood beside the toll-house.[on the Ha-apenny wood side..]

The cliffs were fully exposed,and the plaque was there for all to plainly see.

Noo it's aal covered wi trees,a cudn't see it thi otha day when a went doon.

The Free woods stretch,from Attlee Park,[the Picnic field..],was on the Blyth side of the river,starting from the Bedlington bridge,aal thi way ti thi Humford swimming baths,and steppy-stones.

The picnic field was a lovely grazing meadow,full of pink clover,[which we used to suck the juice from the flower heads..],and a herd of cattle wi greet nasty horns,in 1950-ish,[when kids 6 yrs old CUD gaan doon the river wi tha aada brother's and friends!!]

Noo,at the far end of the field,where the tarmac path starts,through thi woods,THAT used ti hae a greet high wood fence aal thi way up from the waataside,ti the fields reet at thi top,and was clearly marked "Private-No Tresspassing."

That land was Dinsmoors land,[probably leased from Lord Blagdon],and there used to be a lot of deer roaming,unless they fell foul of thi poacher's...that is....and it wasn't thi first time me and my friends came across a shot deer lying ,dead.

Dinsmoor must have had CCTV, on every tree,[my little joke....!],cos thi minute we climbed the fence,and went inti thi "Plantation"[as it was caaled],he used ti come after us wi his dogs,never caught any of us cos we would splash straight across thi river,fully-clothed!,and climb up the biggest beech tree we cud find,and he cudn't touch us!!

Eh....wat happy times we had!!

Only fault was noo,we had ti wesh wa clarty claas in the river,mek a fire ti dry wasell's oot,afore gaanin yem,or else wa Mutha's wud kill wi for gaan yem clarty.......[money was scarce,new clothes even scarcer,and Mutha med sure yi knew aboot it!

This was on thi Bedlington side,remember!

If ye gaan doon thi Furnace Bank noo,thi Plaque says .."Welcome to Bedlington Free Woods"..[a bit different noo,ti 1950!]

Somehoo,and a divvent knaa HOO,but them free woods on thi Blyth side are noo marked "Private land-no tresspassing!

Ivrythin's torned topsy,since aa was a bairn!

There wasn't any paths like tarmac,yi knaa,in them days,just thi paths that thi kids med through thi weeds and trees....and thi woods were a lot denser as weel.

There was a lot of clearance work done,to create the tarmac path ti Humford from thi Picnic field.

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As far as i recall the halfpenny woods had a toll becuase the Ridley estate had no problems with access, but the toll of the minimum amount (apart from a farthing - remember the wren) was so that the pathway could never be considered a right of way due to usage - its a bit like the modern thing of certain houses having to open up the grounds or the house 1 day every year. It kept the land within the full control of the estate and didn't compromise their full control in perpetuity.

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