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Rising in the high moorland beside Hadrian’s Wall, Haltwhistle Burn is one of the hidden treasures of the Northumberland National Park.


t can vary from babbling brook to rushing torrent depending on the season but it has its own special charm no matter what the weather. The upland part of the valley runs through wild moorland but south of General Wade’s Military Road (the B6318 - the longest B road in the country!) its character changes, first to meander through herb rich meadow and then to tumble its way through a dramatic gorge and luxuriant woodland until it joins the River South Tyne below the town of Haltwhistle. The rocks exposed in the cliffs of the Burn Gorge date from the Carboniferous Period, some 300 million years ago - a period when the land that was to become Northumberland lay close to the equator and was subject to many changes of condition, from tropical seas to great river deltas and lush forests. The rocks that were laid down at that time have been cut through by the waters of the burn to leave dramatic exposures which have been exploited by the people of Haltwhistle for hundreds of years. Although the Burn is filled with lush woodland and has become a haven for wildlife, it was not always so. The power of the stream was harnessed from Roman times to drive the machinery of corn and woollen mills. The rich rocks of the burn gorge were exploited for building stone, lime, coal and clay. The enigmatic remains of three woollen mills and three pits can be located whilst the large brickwork’s, which occupied both banks in the 1860s, has vanished with scarcely a trace. Explore The Burn Take a gentle amble from the Market Town of Haltwhistle along the well signed route beside the Haltwhistle Burn. Enigmatic ruins, abundant wildlife and the tranquility of the flowing water: a short stroll or the start of a day’s walk through Hadrian’s Wall Country. The Haltwhistle Burn Footpath can be accessed from Willa Road going north from Fair Hill. From there you can go north through the lush woods and dramatic scenery of the Burn Gorge and follow it to its source in the moors beside the Roman Wall or take the path south towards the foot of the town. Whichever way you turn you can experience the wildlife and discover something of the burn’s industrial heritage as this small stream and its rich geology provided employment and resources for Haltwhistle and the surrounding communities from the 17th century until the 1960s. Find out more on the Haltwhistle Burn website »


Haltwhistle is a stone's throw from Hadrian's Wall, where Roman Britain comes to life! Come to walk the Hadrian's Wall Trail. Discover the amazing Roman Forts of Vindolanda or Housesteads and much more. You are bound to fall in love with Hadrian's Wall Country.


Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the north of England. With construction starting in AD 122, during the rule of Emperor Hadrian, Hadrian’s Wall extends west, for 80 Roman miles (73 statute miles or 120 km), from Segedunum at Wallsend on the banks of the River Tyne in Newcastle upon Tyne to the shores of the Solway Firth, at Bowness on Solway, in Cumbria. The wall was largely completed by AD 128. There is a common misconception that Hadrian’s Wall denoted the boundary between England and Scotland. This is not the case and is believed the wall was constructed to denote the northern extremity of the Roman Empire at that time, to reflect the power of Rome, and was used as a political point by Hadrian. However, the boundary was pushed further north in AD142 with the building of the Antonine Wall between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde in Scotland thereby this represented the northern most frontier barrier of the Roman Empire of all time, albeit for a short time as this wall was only in use for about 20 years, and the garrisons relocated back to Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian’s Wall remained occupied by Roman troops until their withdrawal from Britain around AD 410. Even though the wall was the most fortified border in the Roman Empire, it not only served as a military fortification it also controlled cross border trade and immigration. As the wall had many gates, usually located within the milecastles, it would have served as a “customs” post. Milecastles were an important part of Hadrian’s plan and, without fail, they were built at every Roman mile along the Wall ... a total of 81. Thanks to the Victorian, John Clayton, in the 19th Century, a significant portion of the wall still exists today, and his artefacts can still be seen today in the museum at Chesters Roman Fort. These remaining sections can be enjoyed by those walking the 84 miles of the Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail, which follows most of the walls length or by cycling on the Sustrans promoted National Cycle Route 72, the Hadrian’s Cycleway. The Hadrian’s Wall corridor, which also includes the system of milecastles and turrets that continue west, from Bowness on Solway, along the Cumbria Coast as far as Maryport was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and in 2005 it became part of the transnational "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" World Heritage Site. From Haltwhistle you can explore all the interesting and intriguing Roman sites as well as experience some of the best preserved sections of Hadrian's Wall. Cawfields, for example, is a dramatic stretch of Hadrian's Wall on a steep slope, one of the highest standing sections of the Wall. Within its length there are turrets and an impressive milecastle, which was probably built by the Second Legion.

Bellister Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building and stands on a mound which may have been the motte of an early motte and bailey castle. A moated hall house existed on the site in the 13th century and a substantial tower was added to the western end in the 14th century. A survey of 1541 records a tower house occupied by Blenkinsop (of the family of nearby Blenkinsop Castle) in a 'measurable good' state of repair. In about 1699 the property was enlarged into a three storey castellated house. The Blenkinsop family sold their estates including Bellister in 1697 and the castle was thereafter held by several different owners. Owned by the National Trust since 1976, it is now on a long term tenancy. Although it is not open to the public, the castle can be viewed from public footpaths that run through the adjoining woods, also owned by The National Trust. Ghosts of the past Legend has it that a musician had called at the castle and afforded food and a night's rest, only for the lord of the castle to become suspicious of him. Picking up on his host's hostile manner, the minstrel left the castle instead of retiring to bed, which confirmed the lord's suspicions and he set his hunting dogs to go after him. The dogs tore the musician limb from limb, and to this day he is said to haunt the castle grounds, with some guests reporting hearing the sound of baying hounds and a man screaming. The grounds are also home to an old sycamore, known as the hanging tree, where royalist Cavaliers during the civil war are said to have executed defeated parliamentary troops, known as Roundheads.



While you are in Haltwhistle you shouldn't miss the opportunity to visit Bellister Castle, a National Trust owned castellated 19th-century Mansion House attached to the ruinous remains of a 14th-century tower house.



Haltwhistle has three friendly churches supporting the community


Church of the Holy Cross This is the oldest building in Haltwhistle and one of only a few early 13th century churches still functioning as a working church in England. It is open to visitors on Thursday and Saturday from 2.00 until 4.00 pm from Easter to 30th September. The oldest part of the Church is the chancel erected in the 12th century. A fine triplet is noticeable here. The shafts and piers of the arcade are early English in style and have various features of interest including a 6th century old Water Stoup and a tomb of the crusader Thomas de Blenkinsopp who died in 1388. Much of the Church was decorated by the Pre-Raphaelites including excellent stained glass windows by William Morris and Burne-Jones and the Chancel ceiling which was decorated by Burne-Jones. The Pre-Raphaelite artists were frequent visitors to our area, staying at Wallington with the Trevellyans and at Naworth Castle with the Howard and Roberts families. They have also left examples of their skills in the "new" church, St. Martin's in Brampton - windows and altar cloth - and in the main hall at Wallington. From the churchyard there is a splendid view of Plenmeller Common and the North Pennines behind. It is thought that this may have been the site of a much more ancient religious place. St. Aidan who established the great Christian Priory of Lindisfarne on Holy Island, evangelized much of northern England, founding numerous churches and monasteries, and is believed to have preached here in the early 7th Century and a corrupted form of his name may be the origin of the modern day name of the terrace, Eden's Lawn. Holy Cross meets for Holy Communion at 10:00am on Thursday and 8:00am on Sunday with a Sung Eucharist at 10:00am on Sunday. Visit the Holy Cross church website » All other enquires to Revd Neil Wilson, 01434 320215 Haltwhistle Methodist Church The Primitive Methodist’s in Haltwhistle were known to have formed a Society in 1823 and the Wesleyans date from 1844. The Methodist Church on the Main Street was built in 1882, replacing a previous chapel. A fine Nelson organ was added in 1900 and the hall at the rear was built in the 1920’s. In the 1970’s the gallery was removed and the church re-designed. At the same time the congregation of the other Methodist Church on Castle Hill joined with them. As did the members of the United Reformed Church when it closed in 2009. Today Haltwhistle Methodist Church has a Sunday service at 10:30am with Sunday school.Coffee Mornings are held on Saturdays from 10:00am to 12:00pm.For more infromation, telephone Rev. Alex Dunstan: 07981 044555 St Wilfred's Catholic Church In 1860 Father Francis Kirsopp was appointed to serve in the Western portion of Hexham parish at Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge. In Haltwhistle rented premises were used for the school and church. The Church on Wapping which was erect in 1884 and dedicated to the Holy Cross. The presbytery was built in 1902 and the parish became known as St Wilfrid’s. In 1991 the congregation moved to share the premises of United Reformed Church on Westgate until 2009 when the United Reformed Church closed and St Wilfrid’s became the owners of the building. St Wilfred's Catholic Church has a Sunday service at 11:00am. For more information, telephone Father Leo Pyle: 01434 684265

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