|Allendale | Bellingham | Blanchland | Corbridge | Haltwhistle|
Allendale is remarkable for its splendid isolation, its varied arts and crafts trade and the phenomenal annual tar barrels celebration on New Years Eve. Given the village’s unique location in the Allen Valley, its golf course is the most panoramic in the known world!
A large village in south west Northumberland, Allendale is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - the second largest of the 40 AONBs in England and Wales. The local economy is predominantly based on agriculture (notably sheep farming), arts and crafts and tourism.
Allendale refers to the "dale" or valley of the River Allen. In the 16th century this area, close to the Scottish border, was a lawless and troubled place. Fortified farmhouses known as 'bastles' were constructed to protect residents and livestock against reiver raids. Allendale has one of the greatest concentrations of bastles in the country and around 40 can still be seen, many as scenic ruins.
Local mining for lead has occurred since Roman times, with the first smelting mill being constructed in the 1600s. The significant growth of Allendale Town and the surrounding villages was fuelled by omit the local lead-mining and smelting industries in the nineteenth century. The remains of two flues from the former smelting mill (between Allendale and Catton) run to chimneys up on the fells high above the village. The smelting mill is now home to the Allendale Brewery and the Allenmills Regeneration Project.
The town is famous for a New Year celebration where lighted tar barrels are carried on the heads of revellers called "guisers". This tradition dates back to 1858. It appears to have originated from the problems of a silver band that were carolling at New Year. They were unable to use candles to light their music due to the strong winds, so someone suggested a tar barrel be used. Having to move from place to place, it was easiest to carry the barrels upon the guisers heads, rather than rolling them. There have been claims that it is a pagan festival, however, but these claims are unfounded.
Bellingham is home to Hareshaw Lynn, a wooded, wild-flower three mile walk, passing the remains of the old iron works and criss-crossing the tumbling stream below, culminating in a 30ft waterfall.
Pronounced Bell-ing-jum, it stands on the banks of the River North Tyne, known as the gateway to Kielder Water and forest park and the capital of the North Tyne.
The village has its own heritage centre, a museum which celebrates the industrial and cultural past of the town and surrounding area, including the history of the North Tyne railway.
Within the graveyard is “The Long pack”, allegedly the grave of a burglar who attempted to infiltrate a local house by hiding in a beggar’s pack. Unfortunately for him one of the servants spotted a movement from the pack and then shot the package.
Blanchland features picturesque houses, set against a backdrop of deep woods and open heather-clad moors. Visit the Lord Crew Arms (or stay overnight there if you’re not worried by tales of Dorothy’s ghost!) and discover the priest’s hole. Located near the Derwent Reservoir, there are facilities for sailing and fishing.
Blanchland is a most picturesque small village in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, set beside the river in a wooded section of the Derwent Valley. Blanchland is a model village in Northumberland on the borders of County Durham.
Blanchland was formed out of the medieval Blanchland Abbey property by Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew, the Bishop of Durham, 1674-1722. It is a conservation village, largely built of stone from the remains of the 12th century Abbey.
This village has an array of retail outlets including: a Post Office in Blanchland Stores, Gallery Upstairs, The White Monk Tea Rooms and The Blanchland Deli.
It flourished during the 19th century lead mining bonanza and industrial archaeology abounds nearby. Its population now numbers 140.
Its unspoilt qualities make it a frequent setting for period films, set in the 18th century, such as those based on the novels of Catherine Cookson.
Corbridge is located 5 miles east of Hexham, easily accessible from the A69 and A68.
With Corbridge’s super-rich roman heritage, you can visit the remains of the Roman town, Corstopitum, on the outskirts of the village. This boasts an excellent Roman museum and the site provides visitors with a total picture of a Roman supply town, run by English Heritage.
Ancient Corbridge is centred around the village square and St Andrews church, which dates from Saxon times and shares its site with a unique parson’s pele tower.
As far back as 1827 the town was renowned for its small shops and several of the decorated fronts still survive.
Today Corbridge is known for its genteel quaintness and unique boutique shops.
Haltwhistle is the geographic centre of Britain, N-S and E-W. The name, Haltwhistle, goes back to the Saxon times and its market was first licensed in the 13th Century.
The town saw violent times during the medieval period because of its close proximity to the England/Scottish border. At one time the town had its own castle and pele tower.
Today Haltwhistle is a bustling market town. Regular market day is a Thursday.
Haltwhistle offers great pubs and tea shops as well as national and independent stores.
Haltwhistle is a town 20 minutes drive from Hexham, with good bus and train services from Hexham, Newcastle and Carlisle.
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