The Curious Cuddy’s Cave

Walkers beat a path to this strange rock formation where it is said that monks carrying the coffin of St Cuthbert  ( sometimes referred to as ‘Cuddy’) rested on their long winding journey to Durham.

Hidden by trees on a hillside near Belford, Northumberland the cave (or cove) is a overhanging outcrop of sandstone supported by a narrow rock pillar. This structure looks scary but in fact is quite safe. I have visited the spot on several occasions to discover visitors settling down with campfires and picnics here so no-one seems too scared of an imminent collapse.

The cliff face is riddled with dark recesses and passageways and for the more adventurous – could provide opportunities for a bit of free-style climbing!

Some large rocks – presumably broken from the main cliff eons ago – provide further interest as they have been inscribed with family names.

The monks may have rested here however an alternative story is that Cuthbert (later St Cuthbert) lived here as a hermit before moving on to the Farne Islands. There is another cave at Doddington that also claims association with Cuthbert.

What is know is that Cuthbert died in 687. A series of Danish raids caused monks to abandon Lindisfarne Priory and carrying Cuthbert’s body, they then moved around northern England for the next seven years before settling at Durham. The cathedral there houses St Cuthbert’s shrine.

You can reach Cuddy’s Cave on foot from the National Trust carpark at Holburn Grange (farmhouse). The path leads up the bank between two fields, turn right at the top and walk a few hundred yards to where the cave is on your left in woodland.

As might be expected this cave is located on the long distance footpath St Cuthbert’s Way. 

Click here for some suggested walks.

Sheila Bull.


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