Grid Ref: LR80: NY 754 886
Location: Northern England & Borders
Small bothy with accommodation for four maximum. Parking in Falstone village. NO vehicles permitted in the forest.
The area where the bothy is situated is known as Hospital Gate, the word “hospital” meaning hospitality and is on the drovers trail to Bellingham. Local knowledge leads us to believe the bothy was a stopping point for the drovers where they would tidy up the sheep ready for market. A resident of Falstone can remember her father who drove sheep to market always carried his accordion, it was quite common for men to take along their instruments and have a ceilidh before bedding down.
Two names are recorded in the cement fill left hand-side of the window frame from when it was replaced in Ocotober 1959. The names are “R.Robson” and “J.Proudlock”. These were 2 local forestry workers who were then engaged on the first phase of forestry activity on this site. The site had been bought by the Forestry Commission in 1958 from the owners of Vaux Brewery, Sunderland, who had had it as part of a fishing rights property holding. “R.Robson” was Robert Robson, who had 3 sons later followed him into forest work and who still live locally.
The last known shepherd to have used the bothy was an ‘R.Brown’ in the earlier part of the 1950s. The original Victorian 6″ to mile Ordnance Survey maps record that both the stell and current kebhouse enclosure walling were surveyed in 1862, and the existence of the present shepherd’s bothy/kebhouse positively confirmed by the 1896 survey.
Robert Robson’s son to whom we are indebted for this information was also able to confirm that there was never any direct connection between the nearby Flittingford Well and this old shepherd’s bothy/keb house. The well was once connected by iron pipe down to Rye Close, Crag House and Oldhall farms, but apparently never ran as reliably as would have been wished and post-WW2 was abandoned when other sources of water became available.
This little gem of a building had been hidden for years surrounded by mature fir trees and was discovered when harvesting took place. Local information leads us to believe the building was used as a shepherd’s shelter. After discussion at our March 2014 area meeting it was decided to adopt the building but it wasn’t until June 2016 when Forest Enterprise finished harvesting that we were able to start work on the bothy… the full article can be read in NEWSLETTER no. 198 in the Member Section.
Click the thumbnails below for an enlargement.
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Mountain Bothies Association is a charity registered in Scotland, no. SC008685 and a company limited by guarantee and registered in Scotland, no. SC191425