Cheviot Hills

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Cheviot Hills
The Cheviot - - 246415.jpg
The Cheviot and Coldburn Hill
Lammermuir Moorfoot and Cheviot Hills.png
Relief map showing the Lammermuir, Moorfoot, and Cheviot Hills
Northumberland UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Northumberland
Location Northumberland, England, UK
OS grid NT905205
Coordinates 55°28′41″N2°09′07″W / 55.478°N 2.152°W / 55.478; -2.152 Coordinates: 55°28′41″N2°09′07″W / 55.478°N 2.152°W / 55.478; -2.152

The Cheviot Hills ( /ˈvɪət/ ), or sometimes The Cheviots, are a range of uplands straddling the Anglo-Scottish border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The English section is within the Northumberland National Park. The range includes The Cheviot (the highest hill), plus Hedgehope Hill to the east, Windy Gyle to the west, and Cushat Law and Bloodybush Edge to the south.


The hills are sometimes considered a part of the Southern Uplands of Scotland as they adjoin the uplands to the north. Since the Pennine Way runs through the region, the hills are also considered a part of the northern Pennines although they are separated from the Cheviot Hills by the Tyne Gap, part of which lies within the southern extent of the Northumberland National Park. [1] [2]

The Cheviot Hills are primarily associated with geological activity from approximately 480 to 360 million years ago, when the continents of Avalonia and Laurentia collided, resulting in extensive volcanic activity (the Caledonian orogeny) which created a granite outcrop surrounded by lava flows.

The area enjoys a general right to roam under both the English Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Scottish Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

The Southern Cheviots include the Otterburn Training Area, the UK's largest firing range, where the Ministry of Defence train up to 30,000 soldiers a year.


The Cheviot is the highest hill in the range at 2,674 feet (815 m). Other notable tops are Hedgehope Hill, Windy Gyle, Cushat Law and Bloodybush Edge. Of the hills mentioned, only Windy Gyle has its summit on the border. The rest are all within England. The English section is protected within the Northumberland National Park.

Although many of the summits top 500 metres (1,600 ft), most have a relatively low prominence. Only three rise 150 metres (490 ft) or more above the surrounding terrain: The Cheviot itself, Shillhope Law and Housedon Hill, a small northern outlier (see Marilyn). To the south-west the Cheviots merge into the Kielder Forest group of hills.

Hedgehope Hill and overlooking the Breamish Valley Breamish Valley Cheviot Hills - - 121874.jpg
Hedgehope Hill and overlooking the Breamish Valley

There is a broad split between the northern and the southern Cheviots. The former encompass most of the high ground and are pierced by five main valleys:

The southern Cheviot hills encompass the slopes running down to the valley of the river Coquet.


The Cheviot Burn Cheviot Burn - - 96643.jpg
The Cheviot Burn

At the centre of the range is an outcrop of Early Devonian granite, the Cheviot Pluton, which is surrounded by Silurian and Devonian arc andesitic lava flows, tuffs and agglomerates of the Cheviot Volcanic Formation. These are in turn intruded by a swarm of igneous dykes with a predominantly calc-alkaline chemistry arranged radially around the pluton. [3] Both the pluton and the volcanic rocks owe their origin to the northward subduction of the oceanic crust attached to the former micro-continent of Avalonia beneath the Laurentian plate in the course of the Caledonian orogeny during the Ordovician and Silurian periods. [4] [5]

The surrounding lower ground is formed from Carboniferous Limestone, though much of it is obscured by superficial deposits of Quaternary age. [4]


College Valley in the northern Cheviots, near Hethpool Hillside and woodland plantations west of Hethpool - - 570797.jpg
College Valley in the northern Cheviots, near Hethpool

To the south of the Cheviot hills was the site of the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, and possibly to a separate bloody battle between English and Scottish forces, after which only 110 people survived, which is described in "The Ballad of Chevy Chase". (Note – the origin of the border skirmishes between Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, and the Scottish Earl of Douglas, may have been a hunt that strayed into Scotland and was interpreted as an invasion.) Two other related battles were the Battle of Homildon Hill, fought within the Cheviots near Wooler in 1402, and the Battle of Hedgeley Moor, fought north of Powburn in 1464.


Most of the range on the English side is mapped as 'open country' and hence there is a general right to roam over it as prescribed in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Traditional rights of access in Scotland, bolstered by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, provide for similar access for the public to the north of the border. In addition, a sparse network of public bridleways and footpaths stretches around the area, often providing useful means of access from the lower ground onto the open hills.

The northernmost leg of the Pennine Way runs from Byrness in England to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. It is the longest, and most exposed, on the whole of the national trail. The Way follows the high level Border Ridge (literally the England–Scotland boundary fence) for nearly 20 miles (32 km) after the ascent to the ridge from Byrness. The terrain is boggy and remote, and two mountain refuge huts are situated on the Way for those too tired or weather-beaten to continue.

The town of Wooler in the Cheviot Fringe (the lowlands bordering the hills to the east) is often cited as the "Gateway to the Cheviots" as it is the largest town in the Cheviot region; the town also has easy access being on the major A697 road. [6]

Many walking routes have been established, such as:

Otterburn Army Training Estate

The Otterburn Army Training Estate (ATE) covers about 230 square kilometres (90 sq mi) of the Southern Cheviots, approximately 23% of the Northumberland National Park. It is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and used for training some 30,000 soldiers a year. Otterburn is the UK's largest firing range, and is in frequent use — artillery can be clearly heard from Lindisfarne to the north-east and Fontburn Reservoir in the south. Because of this, recreational use of the area is restricted, although it is possible for the public to use some parts of the estate subject to the relevant bylaws. The MoD publishes a booklet, Walks on Ministry of Defence Lands, which offers advice on this matter (see link below). [10] [11] [12]

Peaks over 500 metres in the Cheviot Hills

The peaks marked with a warning sign ( Nuvola apps important.svg ) lie within the danger area of the ATE Otterburn artillery range.[ verification needed ]

NameHeight (m)Height (ft) OS Grid reference Coordinates
The Cheviot 8152,674 NT909205 55°28′40″N2°08′35″W / 55.47778°N 2.14306°W / 55.47778; -2.14306 (Cheviot)
Cairn Hill 7772,549 NT903195 55°28′10″N2°09′10″W / 55.46944°N 2.15278°W / 55.46944; -2.15278 (Cairn Hill)
Hedgehope Hill 7142,343 NT944197 55°28′15″N2°05′20″W / 55.47083°N 2.08889°W / 55.47083; -2.08889 (Hedgehope Hill)
Comb Fell (peak to the east of the Fell)6522,139 NT924187 55°27′40″N2°07′10″W / 55.46111°N 2.11944°W / 55.46111; -2.11944 (Comb Fell)
Windy Gyle 6192,031 NT855153 55°25′50″N2°13′45″W / 55.43056°N 2.22917°W / 55.43056; -2.22917 (Windy Gyle)
Cushat Law 6152,018 NT927137 55°25′00″N2°06′50″W / 55.41667°N 2.11389°W / 55.41667; -2.11389 (Cushat Law)
Bloodybush Edge 6102,001 NT903144 55°25′20″N2°09′10″W / 55.42222°N 2.15278°W / 55.42222; -2.15278 (Bloodybush Edge)
The Schil 6011,972 NT869223 55°29′45″N2°12′30″W / 55.49583°N 2.20833°W / 55.49583; -2.20833 (The Schil)
peak SSW of Catcleuch Shin 5791,900 NT682052 55°20′20″N2°30′00″W / 55.33889°N 2.50000°W / 55.33889; -2.50000 (Catcleuch Shin)
Dunmoor Hill 5691,867 NT967187 55°27′30″N2°03′00″W / 55.45833°N 2.05000°W / 55.45833; -2.05000 (Dunmoor Hill)
The Curr 5641,850 NT850233 55°30′15″N2°14′10″W / 55.50417°N 2.23611°W / 55.50417; -2.23611 (The Curr)
Wholhope Hill 5631,847 NT941117 55°23′50″N2°05′40″W / 55.39722°N 2.09444°W / 55.39722; -2.09444 (Wholhope Hill)
Beefstand Hill 5621,844 NT821143 55°25′20″N2°16′55″W / 55.42222°N 2.28194°W / 55.42222; -2.28194 (Beefstand Hill)
Thirl Moor Nuvola apps important.svg 5581,831 NT806083 55°22′10″N2°18′20″W / 55.36944°N 2.30556°W / 55.36944; -2.30556 (Thirl Moor)
Mozie Law 5521,811 NT828150 55°25′45″N2°16′10″W / 55.42917°N 2.26944°W / 55.42917; -2.26944 (Mozie Law)
Carlin Tooth 5511,808 NT631024 55°18′55″N2°34′50″W / 55.31528°N 2.58056°W / 55.31528; -2.58056 (Carlin Tooth)
Limestone Knowe 5511,808 NT672018 55°18′30″N2°31′00″W / 55.30833°N 2.51667°W / 55.30833; -2.51667 (Limestone Knowe)
Hartshorn Pike 5491,801 NT627017 55°18′30″N2°35′10″W / 55.30833°N 2.58611°W / 55.30833; -2.58611 (Hartshorn Pike)
Black Hag 5491,801 NT861237 55°30′25″N2°13′05″W / 55.50694°N 2.21806°W / 55.50694; -2.21806 (Black Hag)
Scald Hill 5491,801 NT927218 55°29′20″N2°07′00″W / 55.48889°N 2.11667°W / 55.48889; -2.11667 (Scald Hill)
Carter Fell 5471,795 NT672035 55°19′25″N2°31′00″W / 55.32361°N 2.51667°W / 55.32361; -2.51667 (Carter Fell)
Yarnspath Law 5431,781 NT884133 55°24′45″N2°11′00″W / 55.41250°N 2.18333°W / 55.41250; -2.18333 (Yarnspath Law)
Newton Tors: summit5371,762 NT908269 55°32′10″N2°08′38″W / 55.53611°N 2.14389°W / 55.53611; -2.14389 (Newton Tors)
peak at Girdle Fell near White Crags 5361,759 NT697017 55°18′35″N2°28′40″W / 55.30972°N 2.47778°W / 55.30972; -2.47778 (Girdle Fell)
King's Seat5311,742 NT879173 55°27′00″N2°11′30″W / 55.45000°N 2.19167°W / 55.45000; -2.19167 (King's Seat)
Shill Moor 5281,732 NT944153 55°25′50″N2°05′15″W / 55.43056°N 2.08750°W / 55.43056; -2.08750 (Schill Moor)
peak between Saughieside Hill and Black Hag 5281,732 NT868241 55°30′30″N2°12′35″W / 55.50833°N 2.20972°W / 55.50833; -2.20972 (Saughieside Hill, Black Hag)
Ravens Knowe 5271,729 NT780062 55°21′00″N2°20′45″W / 55.35000°N 2.34583°W / 55.35000; -2.34583 (Ravens Knowe)
Peak near Harden Edge Nuvola apps important.svg 5271,729 NT786073 55°21′30″N2°20′20″W / 55.35833°N 2.33889°W / 55.35833; -2.33889 (Horten Edge)
Preston Hill 5261,726 NT923238 55°30′25″N2°07′20″W / 55.50694°N 2.12222°W / 55.50694; -2.12222 (Preston Hill)
Scrathy Holes 5211,709 NT638031 55°19′15″N2°34′10″W / 55.32083°N 2.56944°W / 55.32083; -2.56944 (Scrathy Holes)
Newton Tors: Wester Tor5181,699 NT907273 55°32′50″N2°08′40″W / 55.54722°N 2.14444°W / 55.54722; -2.14444 (Newton Tors)
Newton Tors: Hare Law5181,699 NT902265 55°31′50″N2°09′00″W / 55.53056°N 2.15000°W / 55.53056; -2.15000 (Newton Tors: Hare Law)
Broadhope Hill 5171,696 NT933234 55°30′15″N2°06′20″W / 55.50417°N 2.10556°W / 55.50417; -2.10556 (Broadhope Hill)
Grey Mares Knowe 5161,693 NT666003 55°17′40″N2°31′30″W / 55.29444°N 2.52500°W / 55.29444; -2.52500 (Grey Mares Knowe)
Ogre Hill 5161,693 NT777069 55°21′20″N2°21′10″W / 55.35556°N 2.35278°W / 55.35556; -2.35278 (Ogre Hill)
Lamb Hill 5111,677 NT811133 55°24′45″N2°18′00″W / 55.41250°N 2.30000°W / 55.41250; -2.30000 (Lamb Hill)
Outer Golden Pot Nuvola apps important.svg 5051,657 NT802072 55°21′30″N2°18′45″W / 55.35833°N 2.31250°W / 55.35833; -2.31250 (Outer Golden Pot)
Shillhope Law 5011,644 NT873097 55°22′50″N2°12′00″W / 55.38056°N 2.20000°W / 55.38056; -2.20000 (Shillhope Law)
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  
Download coordinates as: KML

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Byrness Human settlement in England

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Windy Gyle

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Carter Bar is a point on the England–Scotland border, in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.

Hedgehope Hill

Hedgehope Hill is a mountain in the Cheviot Hills of north Northumberland in northeast England, and categorised as a Hewitt.

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Shillhope Law

Shillhope Law is a hill in the southern Cheviots, a range of hills in Northumberland, England. Shillhope Law is a relatively unremarkable member of this group; in common with its neighbours it has a small summit and steep, grassy sides falling to deeply incised valleys on either side. However, unlike its neighbours, the ridge connecting Shillhope Law to the higher dome of The Cheviot to the north is bisected by a low col at 343 metres (1,125 ft) m, giving it enough relative height to be a Marilyn.

Breamish River in Northumberland, England

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Otterburn Training Area

The Otterburn Army Training Estate (ATE) is a military training area near Otterburn, Northumberland, in northern England. It is owned by the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) and operated by Landmarc on contract from the MoD's Defence Infrastructure Organisation. The range and is used for training up to 30,000 soldiers per year. The site was established in 1911 and covers about 242 square kilometres (93 sq mi) of the southern Cheviot Hills.

Usway Burn

The Usway Burn is an upland river on the southern flanks of the Cheviot Hills, in the Northumberland National Park, England.

The geology of Northumberland in northeast England includes a mix of sedimentary, intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks from the Palaeozoic and Cenozoic eras. Devonian age volcanic rocks and a granite pluton form the Cheviot massif. The geology of the rest of the county is characterised largely by a thick sequence of sedimentary rocks of Carboniferous age. These are intruded by both Permian and Palaeogene dykes and sills and the whole is overlain by unconsolidated sediments from the last ice age and the post-glacial period. The Whin Sill makes a significant impact on Northumberland's character and the former working of the Northumberland Coalfield significantly influenced the development of the county's economy. The county's geology contributes to a series of significant landscape features around which the Northumberland National Park was designated.

The geology of Northumberland National Park in northeast England includes a mix of sedimentary, intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks from the Palaeozoic and Cenozoic eras. Devonian age volcanic rocks and a granite pluton form the Cheviot massif. The geology of the rest of the national park is characterised largely by a thick sequence of sedimentary rocks of Carboniferous age. These are intruded by Permian dykes and sills, of which the Whin Sill makes a significant impact in the south of the park. Further dykes were intruded during the Palaeogene period. The whole is overlain by unconsolidated sediments from the last ice age and the post-glacial period.


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