Just some places …

… the bikes have taken me in the last few days in search of images.  The old rolling stock being put to an agricultural use sits in a field above Allendale.  Thorneyburn is way over yonder in the minor key – between Bellingham and Kielder.  Linnels Bridge and the Mill are on the road between Hexham and Slaley.  The transport for most of this can be seen in the last.  What an unpredictable summer it has been.

Old rolling stock

The gates at Thorneyburn

A cross at Thorneyburn

The Mill at Linnels Bridge

Linnels Bridge

Above Allendale and Catton


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).


Today has dawned miserable again; a cold north easterly from Scandinavia has brought more rain and the threat of snow on high ground – we are on high ground, about 550 feet above the Tyne Valley.  To the south are views of Dilston, Slaley and the northern hills of County Durham.  In the foreground are Swallowship Hill and the woods that rise to the southern side of the valley.  This is the site of the Battle of Hexham, 15th August 1464 – “the last battle of the first chapter of the Wars of the Roses”.

On that long ago Tuesday (5th March 2013) with the promise of Spring in the air, we walked these woods and looked back across the valley to see our home looking south towards Swallowship; even the name holds promise.  Today there is just damp mist and no view at all, in either direction.

Swallowship Woods

Swallowship Woods

Swallowship Woods

Swallowship Woods

This is the view north from the lower eastern slopes of Swallowship Hill – to the right, off centre, Beaufront Castle can be seen towards the top of the ridge, shining in the Spring sun.  Our distant home at Beaufront Woodhead is a ‘half an inch’ up and left (click on the image to enlarge).

North towards Beaufront