In the valley south of Juniper, Devil’s Water runs north east towards Corbridge where it joins the Tyne.  Hall Burn that gently flows down from Dukesfield to join Devil’s Water once turned mighty waterwheels which powered a lead ore smelt mill.  On a bright spring afternoon when everywhere is bright fresh green and dappled light, it is hard to imagine this as the setting for such industry.  Operational from the late 17th century until 1835, it was one of the largest smelt mills in the country.  The Dukesfield Arches are all that remain:

... Dukesfield Smelt Mill

Walk a half mile up the hill adjacent to the burn and you reach Dukesfield Hall parts of which date from the seventeenth century when it was the smelt mill agent’s house. A bothy opposite the main hall once stabled the packhorses which brought lead ore to the site from across the north Pennines. The drovers slept in the loft above the stables.

... Slaley, Northumberland
The bothy ...

The bothy loft above the stables probably offered less than salubrious accommodation for the drovers but much has changed over the centuries. The Grade 2 listed Dukesfield Hall is now a thriving farm and Bed & Breakfast offering “Charming en-suite rooms, guest lounge with a log fire and a friendly atmosphere”. Your average drover would be astonished.

... Dukesfield Hall farm

... Dukesfield Hall farm

... Middle Dukesfield

The last image is from Middle Dukesfield some 400 yards to the east.

Much of the information for this post was gleaned from the excellent leaflet “Dukesfield Arches & Devil’s Water” produced by Friends of the North Pennines.

Finally, that barn roof looks broken to me 🙂
(click on the images to enlarge).


  1. Pit · May 24, 2015

    Love the pictures: they really catch the spirit of those buildings.
    Have a great week,

  2. restlessjo · May 24, 2015

    I’m heading through York at the minute or I could be seriously tempted. Great pics and story Robin. A drovers life for me?

  3. LaVagabonde · May 24, 2015

    Juniper. Devil’s Water. Hall Burn. Such evocative names. Awesome shots, as usual, Robin. Love the sepia tint.

    • northumbrianlight · May 24, 2015

      Many thanks Julie. Devil’s Water always teases the imagination – it was the setting for the Battle of Hexham, part of the Wars of the Roses and Dilston Castle is close to its banks further down stream.
      We head off on the canals for nearly three weeks on Tuesday so may be less active on WordPress for a while.

      • LaVagabonde · May 24, 2015

        Happy drifting, Robin.

  4. Sue · May 24, 2015

    Love that image of the Dukesfield Arches, in particular. 🙂

  5. simon682 · May 24, 2015

    I like the way you structure this post. I like the contents and I love the photographs. I’m also tempted to make a trip up north.

    • northumbrianlight · May 24, 2015

      Many thanks Simon – I would recommend a visit as this is just one small part of an extensive set of walks around this area. We will certainly be going back to explore further.

  6. iosatel · May 24, 2015

    Great series!

  7. Cate Franklyn · May 24, 2015

    You live in a history book. I just love your neighborhood!

    • northumbrianlight · May 25, 2015

      Many thanks Cate, some mornings I feel like an historical character too 🙂

      • Cate Franklyn · May 25, 2015

        Know the feeling well, my friend 🙂

  8. Graham Stephen · May 25, 2015

    Nice toning!

    • northumbrianlight · May 25, 2015

      Many thanks Graham – owes much to OnOne’s Modern Vintage preset.

  9. janemorley2014 · May 25, 2015

    Really atmospheric images, that stone is irresistible, strange, I live in France now but the stone and the feel of it is very similar 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · May 25, 2015

      You are right, the buildings around Dukesfield Hall do have a French atmosphere which reminds me of southern Brittany. Or maybe it was just the warmth and bright sun, not something we have seen much of in Northumberland recently 🙂

      • janemorley2014 · May 25, 2015

        The sun is rather too absent here as well at the moment unfortunately ! Makes for interesting photos though 🙂

  10. Malin H · May 25, 2015

    Very cool! Interesting post (as usual) and wonderful images!!

    • northumbrianlight · May 25, 2015

      Many thanks Malin, much appreciated. We are off on the English canals for several weeks so may go quiet for a while. Internet connectivity is not a priority on the waterways 😦

  11. Pingback: 132 – Whitley Chapel in Hexhamshire – 27th April 2022 | Footloose walks

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