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Showing posts from April, 2019

Maelmin Heritage Trail

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Northumberland | Milfield | Dark Age site | ★★★★

Perhaps the least well-documented period of (relatively recent) UK history is the Dark Ages: the centuries after the Romans left Britain, or specifically from about 500 to 1000 AD. Why is so little known about this era? The suggestion is that a general decline in economy and culture combined with increased local warfare led to fewer surviving artefacts and landscapes to analyse today. Maelmin Heritage Trail, on the main road between Wooler (England) and Coldstream (Scotland) delves a bit deeper into the Dark Ages beyond these usual harsh judgements, with a series of signboards explaining the events which took place both locally and within Western Europe during this time; the name comes from an ancient royal township believed to have been located nearby. It's a good idea in principle, but we found the layout of the site confusing, keeping us in the dark (as it were) about which route to follow despite many of the signboards describin…

Chillingham Castle

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Northumberland | Chatton | Stately home | ★★★

Welcome to Chillingham - the sun may be shining in the photograph above, but this is reputedly the most haunted castle in England. Whether or not you spot the "radiant boy" or any of his otherworldly companions, this is a quirky, interesting mansion with over a dozen rooms to explore. These are all crammed with artefacts belonging to owner Sir Humphry Wakefield, who rescued the castle from a pretty woeful state in the 1980s. Repairs and refurbishments seem to be ongoing: the Great Hall and a suite of three rooms built for a 1603 visit of James I are currently among the most impressive parts. Also leave time to explore the Formal Gardens, or even for a visit to Chillingham's Wild Cattle.


📌 Chillingham Castle★★★
Off minor road 2 miles south of Chatton, G.R.: NU 061258 ///lush.design.tacky
Open afternoons only, early April to early November | £10.50 adult / £6.50 child / joint ticket with Chillingham Wild Cattle available










Chilingham Wild Cattle

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Northumberland | Chatton | Wildlife tour | ★★★

A visit to Chillingham's cattle is the opposite of a trip to a zoo. Instead of seeing wild animals in captivity, this mini-safari in an untended part of Chillingham Castle's grounds gives you the chance to see an almost always domesticated species free from human influence. The wardens claim (though we can't verify) that the 100-strong Chillingham Wild Cattle herd are the only remaining wild cattle anywhere in the world, having been "kept" within the park for over 800 years. Great lengths are taken to ensure no direct human contact or spreading of diseases from domestic cattle, so tourists are kept at a safe distance, and the nearest dairy cows separated by multiple fences. Nevertheless, you should get plenty of options to observe and take photos - all of the pictures on this page were taken on our single visit. The cattle are potentially dangerous: fighting within herds and sub-herds is common, and is sometimes to t…

Walk: A rapid romp to Ros Castle

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Northumberland | Chatton | Short walk | ★★★

Ros Castle is the highest summit in the Chillingham Hills: a sprawling, almost uninhabited moorland region east of Chillingham Castle. There's no castle here, but faint earthworks belong to one of the many Iron Age forts in the area. A minor road conveniently passes within a few hundred metres of the summit, and from here it's a straightforward hike to the top on a clear path. The summit panorama encompasses a wide swathe of Northumberland, with the North Sea visible in the east and the Cheviot Hills to the west. Immediately below the summit is land grazed by the Chillingham Wild Cattle, though flat ground and a tall stone wall restrict views in this direction.


📌 Walk: A rapid romp to Ros Castle ★★★
▶ 1 km / <1 mile | ▲ 70 metres | ⌚ Short walk
Summits: Ros Castle (315 metres, Marilyn)
Start / finish: Space for a few cars at the start of the hill path, minor road 3 miles southeast of Chatton, G.R.: NU 081249 ///wished.foot.drag

Rout…

Wooler

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Northumberland | Town ★★

Grazing the northeastern edge of Northumberland National Park is the attractive town of Wooler, England, for centuries a key hub serving the rural areas around the foot of the Cheviot Hills. There's not much to do here beyond exploring the High Street's independent shops and cafes, but plenty of other attractions and walks are within about 20 minutes' drive. The town's name probably derives not from the sale of sheep at the local cattle market, but instead from the Old English wella, or spring. Past Anglo-Scottish feuds has ended with the current border about 10 miles distant, but local place names are a confused mix of Scottish and English. None more so than the valley that Wooler occupies the flood plain of: Glendale.


📌 Wooler ★★
Northumberland, G.R.: NT 992280 ///birthdays.remove.hinders


Nearby

>> Chillingham Castle★★★ (4 miles away)
>> Chillingham Wild Cattle★★★ (4 miles away)