Rothbury- Northumberland

PUBLISHED: 16:01 11 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 20 February 2013



Termed the capital of Coquetdale, Rothbury struggles with confusion over its designation as a town or village. Whichever definition is preferred, it's simply a delightful place<br/><br/>Words and pictures by Steve Newman

The sloping green, shaded by majestic sycamores, always seems to offer a warm welcome when you pull into Rothbury. Known as the capital of Coquetdale, it has an aura of old worldliness that is immediately apparent and comforting.

The hills towering either side with their moorland and thick forests are laced with footpaths and tracks, making Rothbury popular to those who enjoy a range of outdoor sports from walking and pony trekking to mountain biking, fishing and birdwatching.

The Market Cross is a good place to soak in the atmosphere of the village. Beside it is the majestic Newcastle Hotel and to the west you'll find the Coquetdale Art gallery, offering paintings and crafts by artists living within a 50-mile radius.

Just around the corner, Rothbury's links with the old way of life and the farming community are exemplified by TW Aldersons Ironmongery and hardware shop, where yard brooms and bamboo canes nestle sleepily against the window, whatever the weather.

At the west end of the village is Rothbury House providing short welfare breaks for members of the RAF, a link enhanced by the floral display of the RAF Roundel in the village.

'The scenery around here is stunningly beautiful,' says Graham Taylor who, with his wife Lynda, runs the Crown Gallery in Bridge Street. Paintings, prints, ceramics and cards by resident artists Lynda and Graham, as well as work by other Northumbrian artists and craftsmen are sold in the gallery. 'I am from here originally and moved to Africa for a few years but I had always planned to come back. It's just simply such a beautiful place.'

You may not recognize Graham but his pots are international film and TV stars. Graham is renowned for making pots from ancient and past cultures and can often be found at Hadiran's Wall giving demonstrations on Roman Pottery. He also recently produced a replica pot for the TV series 'Supersizers eat ancient Rome'.

Indeed, one of Rothbury's main attractions is the variety and quality of its local shops. Some are a bit quirkier than others and some are certainly not what you would expect. The long line of shops that run the length of the village offer a cornucopia of delights, including businesses such as Thomas Rogerson, to which people will happily drive 40 miles to buy a pair of shoes.

No country village, though, would be complete with out a family butcher's and Morris Adamson has taken Rothbury's to such a level that the picture of him with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on the shop's wall shows that the prize-winning sausages and pies and exotic meats attract customers from far and wide.

'Rothbury is a fabulous place to live,' says Morris. 'I originally came here from Berwick but people are so friendly and make you feel so welcome I would not want to run a business anywhere else.'

The village derives its name from Anglo-Saxon times when it was known as Routh Biria, meaning `Routha's Town'. In the 15th and 16th centuries the village was regularly visited by bands of Reivers who attacked, burned and stole with terrifying frequency. Today, especially on a Sunday, Rothbury is visited by legions of motorcyclists, who park along the green sipping coffee in the cafes and tearooms and who enjoy nothing more than telling you all about their beloved bikes.

History is never far away here and beside the town's impressive All Saints' Parish Church stands a small doorway, all that remains of the site of the 17th century Three Half Moons Inn, where the Earl of Derwentwater stayed with his followers in 1715 prior to marching into a heavy defeat in battle at Preston.

Perhaps Rothbury's link with town and country, future and past is best shown by a small shop on the corner of Bridge Street. Here you'll find Red Grouse Taxidermy where you can not only buy permits for trout fishing, a stuffed grouse or snowy owl but toys of all descriptions and also one of the largest displays of Schleich models, much sort after by children and adults alike.

'Yes, one of my customers once told us we had a bigger display than Harrods,' said Ralph Robson, owner and taxidermist. 'Rothbury is an absolutely superb place to live. I've been here five years and I wish I'd thought to move here sooner.

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