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The priories and the snowdrops

 Route type

 walk (circular)

 Distance

 3.5 miles

 Surface and gradients

 mixed surfaces and moderate gradients

 Parking nearby

 yes

 On bus routes

 yes - plan a journey

 On-road sections

 yes

 Starting point

By the village green on the High Street in Blyth

(facing the White Swan pub)

 OS map number

 Explorer 260 and 279

Directions

  1. From the starting point by the village green on the High Street in Blyth (facing the White Swan pub) turn right and soon the two strands of the High Street merge. Continue ahead along the pavement, crossing with care when it runs out at the end of the houses. You soon reach Spital Farm on your right, and need to turn right on the farm access road. Follow this through the farmyard along the avenue of trees ahead until you reach the road at the far end. Turn left along the pavement for a short distance, before crossing with care to walk along a quiet, tree-lined lane signed for Hodsock Priory.

  2. Follow this lane for a kilometre, emerging into a parkland setting and as you approach the Priory gatehouse, turn right through a field gate. Walk through this field with the woodland to your left and head slightly to the right and uphill, to reach a stile in the hedge line.

  3. Cross the stile and head diagonally to the right, aiming for the first big gap in the hedge. On passing through this, continue in the same direction diagonally across the next two fields. On reaching the end of the second field, pass through the hedge by an old boundary stone, turn right along the field edge path and follow the path into an area of wet woodland.

  4. At the far side of the woodland, cross the footbridge over the River Ryton and follow the field edge path ahead. At the end of this field, pass through the gate and dogleg to the left, following a wide grassy track uphill with a hedge to your left. At the end of this track you emerge onto a tree-lined avenue, where you need to turn left and follow this to reach the road opposite the cricket pitch.

  5. Turn right along the pavement, following it around a sharp right hand bend to reach the road junction by the Fourways Hotel. Turn right and follow the pavement until you reach the village shop, where you can cross the road more safely using the central refuge, to return to the start point by the White Swan.

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