Allen Banks wouldn't be the same without you

Allen Banks

We've had a rough time since 2013, but your generosity is helping us reinstate access at Allen Banks forever, for everyone

Thank you to all of our donors, we really couldn't do it without you: The Sir James Knott Trust, Friends of the Haltwhistle Rings, Michael and Judith Coates, Steve & Donella Rozario, Stephen King of PHSC plc, Adrian and Sarah Clark, Tyne Valley Association , Emma and Marc Feltham, The Benjamins, Ron and Edwina Morgan, The Cook Family, Anna Skelton, Amy Graham, Simon English, Mary Oswell, The Robinson Family, Yvonne and John Fraser, Lorraine Turnbull, John Lucas, The Pugh Family, Laura O'Toole, The Abdelnoor Family, Tony Groom, Dora Bolam, Rebecca Joanne Hedley, Mike Worthington, Peter and Sue Lowrie, Chris Gilding, Tim and Carolyn Basing, Ruth and David Miller, Mike, Jenny and Oliver Ranson, Tim and Pam Carney, The Tompkins Family

In May 2013 the wobbly bridge was badly damaged when flood water washed trees downstream and they got caught in the bridge. The extent of the damage was so bad it meant the bridge needed to be taken apart and rebuilt. More flooding later that year also damaged the footpaths meaning the repair bill was too big for our budget.

We decided to ask visitors to help raise the money we needed, so we set up a crowdfunding webpage and the response we got amazed us. It soon became apparent just how special Allen Banks was too so many people and with their generosity we were able to rebuild the wobbly bridge and repair and improve the footpaths to it.

The Sir James Knott Trust generously supported the reinstatement of the suspension bridge and footpaths at Allen Banks in 2014. 

" Allen Banks was left to the National Trust by the Bowes-Lyon family in 1942 with the express purpose of preserving it for the enjoyment of the nation, so we were delighted to support a project that would protect and preserve the features that so many people have come to enjoy."
- Sir James Knott Trust

Many donors have supported the restoration of the wobbly bridge as it held so many happy memories for them. 

The damaged wobbly bridge in 2013
The damaged wobbly bridge in 2013
" Our donations are memory of our dog Lily. She loved the place and we tried to visit as often as we could when she was alive. The last time we visited with her she made it as far as the ruins of the wobbly bridge and still tried to get up the steps!"
- Anonymous donor
The bridge when it was restored in 2014 that was unfortunately washed away
The 2014 restored bridge

It was devastating to then witness the bridge being washed away less than a year after completion, when Storm Desmond brought record rainfall during the winter of 2016/2017. The destruction of the wobbly bridge, this time so much worse than before, was further compounded by the huge landslips that meant the two main footpaths through Walks Wood were impassable.

Some of the damage from Storm Desmond
A landslip at Allen Banks

In the immediate aftermath of these storms we closed the woodland whilst we established which areas were safe for visitors. We’re still regularly monitoring the landslip in Walks Wood, but with strict safety control measures in place we’ve been able to allow visitors to use the top footpath to the summerhouse.

Our aim is to reinstate more public access and we’d love to reopen the two paths that are currently closed in Walks Wood. The loss of the low level riverside footpath means the site is so much more challenging than before, with some steep sections of path to walk up. The problem is the amount of debris that slid down the hill and now covers the path which could trigger another landslip if we try to remove it. So we’ll start by looking at the middle path and see if we can shore that up and make it safe to use.

Storm Desmond has made the bottom footpaths unsafe
Tree debris on the bottom pathway

As a conservation charity we need to make sure we’re acting in a sustainable and cost-effective manner, and the last thing anyone wants to see is a repeat of all that effort washed away again.

We couldn’t have done the work so far with your kind and generous donations. If you’d like to support the work at Allen Banks, contact aerian.rogers@nationaltrust.org.uk to make a donation, or find out about our volunteering opportunities here