Places to Visit

Some places to visit: (some of these may also be visited, or passed, on the organised “runs”)

There follow   SOME of the places that you might like to visit if staying in the area or want to take a shorter – or longer – trip out during the rally.  No route is given.

Roman Wall:

The most interesting section is on the B6318 (Known as the “Military Road”).  This section is roughly parallel to the portion of the A69 (Newcastle-Carlisle),  between Haydon Bridge and Haltwhistle.

Prominent is Housesteads Roman fort, on the right of the “B” road as you go West. The fort is hard by the wall.  There is a big car park You can walk up past the fort, on its left side, without  having to pay, to reach the wall itself.  If you are happy to pay, the museum at Vindolanda is much better value.

Continuing West be careful of the two severe dips (signposted). They mean business.

A bit further on , at Once Brewed, you can go right,  up the hill, and at the top, go into the car park. Here you can walk a few yards to inspect the wall and take in the view of the crags and the lake.  The walk from here to Housesteads is rewarding but long – harder work than you would think – lots of up and down.

Going the other way (which would have been a left turn off the “B” road, follow the signs) into Vindolanda.

OK, you pay to get in. But there is a superb museum with some exhibits that are unique ANYWHERE, a café and a pretty setting.  A portion of the original camp and attached town has been dug out, as well as the Roman camp.


Home of Lord Armstrong.  Off the B6341, shortly North East of  Rothbury.  National Trust. The entrance fee is stiff, but  it is value for money.  Armstrong built the place from scratch, using all the advanced technology he could bring to bear, even creating his own technology, using hydraulic power and electricity.  The interior is remarkable.  There are also extensive gardens and woodland walks.

Upper Coquetdale and Chew Green Roman camp. 

The route  – or a route to Alwinton – is described in the “ Over the border and round the back of the Cheviots” run, and the ride up from Alwinnton to Chew Green forms part of that ride.  Chew Green Roman camp is at the head of this totally lost valley leading to the back of beyond.  Study the warnings about this road in the “Over the Border” write-up. At Chew Green the road enters the army ranges, and if the flags are flying, this is as far as you can go. A short walk up the hill to the right brings you to the lumps and ridges forming the outline of a Roman camp. A short walk further takes you up onto the ridge. This is the Scottish border, with fine views to the North. The fence is the “border fence”, and it is traditional, here, for English Gentlemen to pee through the fence into Scotland, while Scottish gentleman stand on the other side, and pee into England. The farm half way up the upper Coquet valley does food.

A short walk (about 1 hour there and back) to a waterfall at Hareshaw Linn.

Northumberland waterfalls are “called Linns”. This one is at Bellingham.  If going up the Bellingham high street (South to North), turn right towards Otterburn. Almost immediately the road crosses a small river, and immediately  after this turn left to a small car park. An excellent footpath follows the river from here up a wooded dene to the waterfall.

There is also an interesting  folk museum at Bellingham, by the old railway station.

 Stately homes:

–         Alnwick castle and gardens.

–         Belsay Hall approx 10 miles out of Newcastle on the A696 (Jedburgh road)

–         Wallington Hall, on the 6341, approx 1 ½ miles NE of where it crosses the A 696

–         Howick Hall,  near Longhoughton, NE of Alnwick.  Home of Grey family (Great Reform Act – and Earl Grey tea!)


–         Warkworth castle

–         Dunstanborough – about 20 minutes coastal walk from the tiny harbour  of Craster, which, in turn is about 10 miles NE of Alnwick.

–         Alnwick (above)

–         Edlingham (ruin) just off the B6341 between Alnwick and where it crosses the A697.

–         Bamburgh (May serve as default for 2 of the organized runs if the boat ride is cancelled due to sea conditions)

–         Holy Island castle –  Access is only possible first thing in the morning and  late afternoon/ evening on rally days due to tides. Tide info via the internet.


Woodhorn Colliery Museum (Something for a rainy day?)

Quite close to Morpeth:

From the town centre take the A197 to Ashington.  Carry on past Ashington to the roundabout where the A197  joins the A189. Turn left and left again at a small roundbout – still following the A197 direction. IMMEDIATELY after this roundabout, turn into the entrance to the colliery museum.

Apart from the exhibits concerning the colliery, and mining life, the “Pitman Painters'”  pictures are on display


Beaches: – lots. Here’s a few.

–         Closest to Morpeth as the crow flies, is Newbiggin (Town, beach pubs, strange modern statues), or at Cresswell. For Cresswell, take A197 east from Morpeth.  Entering Ashington, go Left on A1068.  Right at a (2nd?) roundabout into Ellington. Left in village to Creswell. Turning left at Creswell takes you along dunes. Park up where you like. Beach behind dunes.

–       Not much further and more interesting is at Warkworth. Here you can also visit the castle and enjoy the town.  For the beach, cross the bridge on the North side of town and turn right immediately for the beach car park.   If you walk along the beach to the right, you reach the Amble breakwater. Here you can walk to the end (DANGEROUS IN ROUGH SEAS!).

–         Alnmouth.  Also very attractive small town.

–         Embleton (golf club friendly and probably happy to let a couple of bikes park there if you pay them at the bar – they even sell meals – but I would not try inflicting 100 bikes on them!). The beach is rated as one of England’s prettiest.

–         Newton-by-the-sea. Just up the coast from Embleton. It’s pretty too!  Also it has a pub.

–         At Bamburgh

– and so on – —-


Northumberlandia”. This new piece of “Sculture” is made out of man-made hills, in the shape of a woman’s body.  It is just North of Newcastle, off the A1. It has been made by piling up earth from the adjoining open cast mining site.   From the South, exit the A1  at the A19 exit, and go hard left at the exit roundabout, following the sign to “services”.  Do not enter the service area, but continue. This takes you alongside Blagdon Hall estate. Take the first right (sign: “Cramlington”). Northumberlandia is on your left about 1/2 mile down.

From the North, exit the A1  for “Dinnington and Ponteland” . Follow “Dinnington and Ponteland”. This brings you into the road alongside the Blagdon Estate. Turn left (Sign says “Cramlington”). Northumberlandia is on your left about 1/2 mile down.

They say Northumberlandia  is closed on Mondays but recently the car park was found open on a Monday, but was unattended.  There are no direction signs.  Pub next door with meals.

Newcastle: far too much to cover here, but those with an engineering bent may be interested in the Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, just off St James Boulevard.  For a scenic city  walk, get yourself to Monument Metro Station, and walk down the magnificent Grey Street to the quayside – Millenium bridge, Sage Concert hall,  Baltic Gallery etc.

Durham and cathedral:  This is the “King” of English cathedrals – Salisbury has the “Queen”.  Durham’s is a building of immense power.  Also, there is a saint buried at each end. The best parking place for town and cathedral is nowhere near the park and ride. Look up  Grove Street, where it joins South Street above the river bank. Spectacular views of the cathedral.  Chain up the bike to a lamp post and walk down and over the footbridge into the old town centre, getting into the cathedral via the cathedral close (arch on the left of the only road in, leading to large square with lawn).  Town centre beyond.

Well – that should be enough to be going on with – – – –