Otterburn Military training area or the Otterburn ranges
The Otterburn range training estate covers some 93 square miles of the Southern Cheviot hills and covers 23% of
the Northumberland National Park as well as approximately 5% of the whole county of Northumberland.
The history of the range goes back to 1911 when some 20,000 acres around Redesdale were purchased to provide an
artillery range and tented camp for the recently formed territorial army.
However the earliest signs of human occupation up here goes back 4000 to 6000 years and the Bellshiel long
Cairn. The following quotation comes from Keys to the Past.
This prehistoric long cairn lies just below the summit of Bellshiel Law. The long axis of the cairn lies
east-west and measures 109m long. The widest part of the cairn is 15m across at the east end and it stands up to
1.6m high. Only a small part of the cairn is covered with turf, for the most part it is bare stone. Excavations in
1935 showed that the cairn had a kerb of boulders around it and also discovered a rock-cut pit, thought to be a
grave. No trace of internal divisions was found. A later stone enclosure has been built on the south side of the
long cairn reusing stones from the cairn. Bellshiel long cairn is one of the earliest field monuments in
Northumberland and dates to the Neolithic. This is a Scheduled Monument protected by law