Flodden Battlefield

Northumberland | Branxton | Battlefield | ★★

[Flodden Battlefield monument]

A simple stone cross on a shallow rise above Branxton village in Northumberland marks the approximate centre of the English starting battle line in the 1513 Battle of Flodden, which ended in a catastrophic Scottish defeat. The battle was initiated by the Scots in order to honour the "Auld Alliance" - a pact between Scotland and France - by diverting Henry VIII's English troops from their ongoing campaign against the French. Scottish troops were positioned on Flodden Hill, but the unexpected arrival of the English army from the northern rather than southern direction necessitated a hasty repositioning to Branxton Hill - leaving little time for the Scots to carve out new gun emplacements. The Scots still had the advantage of height, but a successful early charge downhill on the left (west) flank may have led to misplaced confidence. The rest of the Scottish army descended into a boggy depression where their cumbersome pikes were no match for English billhooks. Over ten thousand soldiers died in battle - the majority on the Scottish side - in what was, in terms of numbers, the largest battle ever fought between the two countries. The Flodden Battlefield Trail marks out the key events along a slightly muddy, 1-mile circuit - a rather emotive experience amidst a rural landscape which somehow still seems weighed down by past tragedy. We found getting to grips with the sequence of events a little confusing, but the rural location (unlike many other Scottish battle sites today) means you can at least get a good view of the area where different phases of the conflict took place. Pick up a leaflet at the start to help navigate the trail, or take a picture of the map board with a mobile phone if paper copies aren't available.

[Looking down towards "The Killing Fields" from Branxton Hill]

Location & info

📌 Flodden Battlefield ★★
Immediately south of Branxton. Monument is at G.R.: NT 890373 ///dusted.overhear.spans
Always open | Free

[The boggy low area where the battle was won for the English]

[West side of the battlefield, where things started promisingly for the Scots]


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