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Northumberland - The Tyne Valley & North Pennine fringes
Durham at night © Dave Head, Shutterstock
The North Pennine fringes are characterised by wooded gorges, flower-filled meadows and a pastoral landscape reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales.
From Carlisle to Newcastle, road, river and railway ribbon across the neck of England through a wide, fertile valley with fields, pockets of woodland and a scattering of farms and settlements hunkered down by the water’s edge. Hexham and Corbridge are the most prominent and visited market towns on the River Tyne.
From Haltwhistle, the South Tyne hurries eastwards past ruined castles, manor houses and historic market towns on its way to meet the North Tyne near Hexham. Here, the two rivers become one, forming the River Tyne for the final run through Newcastle and on to the coast. The countryside is not remote and neither is it dramatic, but there is much beauty in this broad-sided valley that is filled with light owing to the relative flatness of the land.
Mining and industrial production over the last few hundred years greatly changed the character and fortunes of settlements in the Tyne Valley and North Pennines. These industries expanded with the aid of the railways in the 19th century and towns and villages grew as a result. Many places, particularly along the Tyne corridor, have retained their characterful uniform terraces of sandstone and brick, village greens and stone bridges.
Visitors who wander into the North Pennines hills which stretch across the southernmost flank of Northumberland and into Durham, will discover some of the region’s most remote and beautiful upland scenery. Heather becomes increasingly dominant as you gain altitude, and, from some moors, you can see all the way into Scotland. For the most part, however, the North Pennine fringes are characterised by wooded gorges, flower-filled meadows and a pastoral landscape reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales with dry stone walls criss-crossing farmland. Our route from Alston to the source of the Tyne shows off some of the best of the scenery.