Northumberland Walk - Allendale
PUBLISHED: 00:14 12 June 2013
David Taylor Photography. All Rights Reserved
It is sobering in England in 2013 to think that not so long ago, clean drinking water was by no means guaranteed, and that nasty diseases like cholera and typhoid were rife as a result.
This month’s walk begins in Allendale, where 19th century philanthropist – and itinerant tea seller – Isaac Holden provided a well to provide clean drinking water for the residents, at a time when serious water-born diseases were a common threat to public health. Our walk, in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, takes in part of ‘Isaac’s Tea Trail’, a 36 mile long walking trail taking in Nenthead, Alston, and Ninebanks, which traces Isaac’s footsteps.
From the Co-Op in the square in Allendale, cross the main road to the footpath marker for High Scotch Hall. On your right before you meet the footpath, you will see Isaac’s Well. The water in the well is no longer safe to drink, but the well is one simple reminder of the good Isaac Holden did for local, and often isolated, communities.
Follow the footpath marker for Finney Hill Green. Head diagonally right up the hill and cross the stile. Continue in the same direction up the hill. One of the main industries here, as across the rest of the Pennines, is sheep-farming, and in spring the surrounding fields are full of lambs calling to their mothers.
At the top of the hill, cross the stile then continue diagonally right across the field, through the gap in the wall ahead to the top of the field. Climb over the stile, cross the private lane, and follow the yellow marker up the hill towards the line of trees. Near the top of the hill, cross the stile and go straight ahead to the stile in the middle of the wall at the top of the field, over the stile and straight on.
Cross the stile next to the gate between the trees. Head for the middle of the wall at the end of the field. Go over the stile, left around the edge of the field to the far corner, and over the stile in the wall, just before the barn. Go right up the farm track, past Scotch Hall.
At the end of the track, turn right onto the road. It passes a house on the left and then goes through a small copse. Follow it as it bears right. Continue towards the clump of conifers at the top of the shallow incline, and take the road on the right just before you reach the trees.
This road takes you past Allendale Golf Club, which was founded in 1906. The Club is an active contributor to the North Pennines AONB ‘Wildwatch’ scheme, set up to monitor and conserve wildlife in the area. If you look carefully, you may be lucky enough to spot a hare in one of the fields nearby.
Cross the road, and go through the gate straight ahead. Be aware that you are now walking on a ‘Green Road’, not a footpath, so motor vehicles are allowed. At the bottom of the track, go through the gate and cross the river bridge.
Turn right. We are now on the Isaac’s Tea Trail, which we will follow all the way back to Allendale.
Isaac Holden was originally a lead miner, but illness and the closure of the Mohope mine required that he find a new livelihood. This he did, by selling tea door-to-door, in Allendale and the remote farmsteads and mining hamlets nearby. He also sold photographic ‘likenesses’ of himself, along with his poems, to raise money for the poor. Evidence of his philanthropy can be seen all over the area, especially in the form of chapels, such as the Wesleyan Trinity Chapel in Allendale.
Go over the stile and follow the path to the right, across the stream then along the river. Follow the path through the gap in the wall, keeping the river on your right.
Go through the gap in the wall, and follow the edge of the field to the right, past the river bridge and follow the marker for Isaac’s Tea Trail round the field. Go through the gate, cross the wooden footbridge and bear left.
Follow the steps up the hill towards the house, but bear left on the path before reaching the house. Go through the gate and straight ahead, round the edge of the field, with the fence on the left.
At the top the hill, near the house, keep the house on the left and go straight ahead to the stile. Continue diagonally right across the field and across the stile, then bear left. The farmland here provides an ideal home to curlew and lapwing, both of which are easy to identify from their haunting calls. Go through the gate then diagonally right to the next stile, and diagonally right along the path.
Cross the stile and the wooden footbridge. Follow the path to the right, go through the gate, and continue, keeping the fence on your left. Go down the wooden steps and over the stile. Follow the fence round the field, go through the opening in the wall ahead of you, and carry on following the fence.
When you reach the houses, go through the gate and follow the track. Bear right across the river bridge, and follow the road as it bends uphill. At the top of the hill, you will find yourself back in Allendale, at the end of this month’s walk.
Talk the walk
Start point: Allendale village square
Grid Reference: NY 837558
Ordnance Survey Map: Hexham & Haltwhistle 87
Length: 4.85 miles (7.8 kilometres)
Difficulty: Some initial steep climbing
Time: Three hours
Nearest Pub: The King’s Head/The Golden Lion in Allendale
Nearest town: Allendale
For more information about Allendale go to www.visitnorthumberland.com/allendale.