a href=”http://globewanderer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Northumberland-Cheviot-Hills-a-walkers-paradise-640-x-479.jpg”img class=”size-full wp-image-484″ title=”Northumberland Cheviot Hills – a walker’s paradise (640 x 479)” src=”http://globewanderer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Northumberland-Cheviot-Hills-a-walkers-paradise-640-x-479.jpg” alt=”Northumberland Cheviot Hills” width=”640″ height=”479″ //a Northumberland’s Cheviot Hills – a walker’s paradise
h2span style=”font-size: 13px;”On a fine day in north Northumberland you can find nothing but cornfields and peaceful quiet around the tiny village of Branxton. It’s hard to imagine you are standing at a spot where thousands were buried after one of the bloodiest battles ever fought./span/h2
In the space of a few hours on a miserable day in 1513, the Battle of Flodden Field left for dead an estimated 4,000 Englishmen and 10,000 Scots, including their king and many nobles.
But quiet, thinly populated Northumberland is full of surprises like this. You could say it has earned its right to a peaceful life.
It has castles galore as its countryside was a prize asset for the Scots and the English. Two of the best to visit are at Alnwick and Bamburgh, the latter restored by Victorian industrialist Lord Armstrong.
The fortifications of the town of Berwick – built during the 16supth/sup century reign of Queen Elizabeth l after it changed hands an estimated 13 times between the English and Scots – are so massive you can spend an afternoon walking around them as the famous painter L.S. Lowry often did
Ruined Warkworth Castle on the county’s east coast was the setting for three of the scenes in Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth part one and one of the county’s famous sons, Harry Hotspur, killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, earned a place in the play.
And the border hostilities go back even further hence the county’s famous Roman Wall stretching through it and across to Cumbria.
But enough of those warrior days, Northumberland is now a county which is a massive draw for people wanting to enjoy its wonderful open spaces.
p style=”text-align: center;” span style=”font-size: 1.5em;”Northumberland and leisure/span/p
Walkers head for Wooler, the town known as the gateway to the beautiful Cheviot Hills and its breathtaking rolling moors and grasslands, ancient hillforts and pure rivers. A favourite climb is the Cheviot,the highest hill in the range at 2,674 ft
Pilgrims still cross the causeway to visit Holy Island where St Aidan founded his monastery in 635AD.
Hadrian’s Wall and the Northumberland National Park straddle the county to form another big draw.
Kielder Forest is famed for having the darkest night skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution.
The forest and its observatory wants to join an exclusive worldwide club by creating what would be the third largest area of protected starry dark sky in the world in deepest Northumberland.
Only 12 such preserves exist, including the two largest in Big Bend National Park, Texas, and Mount Megantic in Quebec, Canada.
Northumberland is also a place to spot the rare red squirrel. The Northumberland Wildlife Trust is behind a project to help protect the species, under threat from the grey squirrel.
It’s a great county to tour by road but drivers and bikers should take care when using the A1, the main highway on the east coast between England and Scotland.
The stretch between Brownieside and Berwick is a national disgrace with Government leaders in the south turning their backs on the needs of the north.
The combination of slow moving farm vehicles, lorries obliged to observe a 40mph speed limit, and motorists wanting to travel at 60mph and more on single carriageway road can be stressful for the sensible road user, to say the least.
If you are in Northumberland you should visit the city of Newcastle which offers its very own contrasting mix of industrial and architectural heritage plus a really lively social scene.
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