Bardon Mill Station to Allen Banks
A short walk from Bardon Mill station to Allen Banks taking in the River Tyne, the ancient yew tree at Beltingham Church yard and open countryside before heading into the wooded valley of the River Allen.
Bardon Mill train station, grid ref: NY778645
Leave the station heading east and go over the railway crossing. Follow the road and cross the river via the footbridge.
South Tyne River
The South Tyne rises on Alston Moor and flows through the North Pennines AONB before passing Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge and ultimately joining the North Tyne at Warden Rock near Hexham, which has been dubbed 'The Meeting of the Waters'. It then flows as the River Tyne heading to Newcastle and out to the North Sea. These rivers provide an important breeding ground for migratory salmonids and brown trout plus a whole host of other wildlife including otter, water vole, birds, and bats. To find out more visit the Tyne Rivers Trust website.
When you meet the road head left and continue all the way to Beltingham.
In the village of Beltingham take a small detour to the church yard and see the ancient yew trees round the back of the church. Leave the church yard and continue in the direction you were out of Beltingham.
Ancient yew trees
Visiting the ancient Yews is not to be missed.There are three ancient yew trees in the grounds of St Cuthbert's Church in Beltingham. The yew to the north side is said to be around 900 years old, one of the oldest yews in Britain today, the other two are around 400 years old. The main part of the church dates back to the 15th century while older sections date back circa 1260. Another feature here is a 7th-century Saxon Cross which, along with the yews and all being at the centre of Britain, suggests this was once regarded as a highly sacred place.
At the road junction head left.
There’s a public footpath on your right after about 100yd (90m), follow this across the fields past the ‘ha-ha’ until you reach the gate into Allen Banks. The large house on your left is Ridley Hall, whose former owners landscaped Allen Banks into what we see today. Once in the woods head left to make your way down to the car park or right to explore further.
Ha-ha & Ridley Hall
The purpose of a ha-ha is to stop grazing stock entering a garden whilst providing a view from the house (or from Ridley Hall in this case) where the garden and landscape appear to blend together without any disruption. It is only when getting close you can see how the optical illusion was created by a retaining wall hidden behind a sloping landscape. People finding out for the first time that they had fallen for such a visual trick provided much amusement, which gave rise to the name ha-ha.
Allen Banks car park, grid ref: NY798639
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