Tag: Northumberland

Discovering Morpeth

Northumberland is home to a number of market towns, each one boasting it’s own unique charm, character and many steeped in Northumbrian history. The town of Morpeth sits on the river Wansbeck and is only a half hour’s drive from St Oswald’s Farm. Morpeth is a bustling market town where history and traditional market town charm and independent retail meets with modern shopping centres and trendy wine bars. The cobbled streets, the markets, the walks and the park area together with a unique heritage all give the town an irresistible beauty.

A visit to any market town must include a spot of retail therapy and Morpeth doesn’t disappoint. You will find the Farmers’ Market in town on the first Saturday every month and the weekly charter market in the Market Place each Wednesday. As well the markets the town is packed with retail offerings, the Sanderson Arcade and the charming precinct together with Rutherford’s department store are perfect for browsing and picking up lovely gifts. There is a superb mix of independent shops together with some of your high street favourites.

If you’re seeking a green space Carlisle Park is centrally located in the town and is open every day so it’s always a great time to visit. It includes the William Turner Garden, tennis courts, bowling green, aviary and is home to one of only four working Floral Clocks in the country.

Take a walk up to the castle or there is mature deciduous woodland with lovely, but also very hilly woodland walks, there are even rowing boats if you fancy taking to the water and testing your rowing skills. Or of course Carlisle Park is the perfect spot for a picnic and to sit and watch the world go by!

If you visit in Spring Morpeth’s Bluebell Woods are beautiful when the woodland floor becomes carpeted with bluebells. Properly known as Howburun Woods are names for the How Burn which flows through them into the River Wansbeck. As well as the bluebells, expect to see an array of woodland plants, red squirrels, birds – and the occasional deer.

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Bluebell Woods

As with all Northumbrian Market Towns there is a unique offering of history to enjoy and Morpeth is no different. Northumberland is the only county in England with its own dedicated musical instrument and Morpeth is home to a museum that celebrates and plays homage to our Northumbrian Pipes – a unique part of the heritage of Northumberland. Tucked away in a stunning 13th Century Grade 1 listed building is The Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum which boasts a treasure trove of instruments and along with the fascinating displays, the museum often comes to life with regular live musical performances and ‘meet the piper’ sessions. The Chantry is also home to the Northern Poetry Library and Craft Centre and even the building itself has a story to tell, with townspeople once over having to pay a toll to the local priest to cross the river! You can still see the foundations of the town’s Medieval bridge in the river today.

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The Chantry Museum – Home of the Northumberland Pipes

The town has plenty of free parking and with a great choice of places to eat or grab a coffee it’s the perfect destination for a day out. For more information on visiting this lovely Market Town please go to the More in Morpeth website.

If you enjoy the buzz of a market town just take your pick, as whichever one you choose you’ll be sure of a warm Northumbrian welcome.

Spring in Northumberland

Spring has to be the most sought after season, when we finally escape the winter months and look forward to warmer days and new beginnings. Spring in Northumberland is an absolute riot of colour from the very first glimpse of snowdrops in February through to the delicate blossom in April and May, Northumberland really does know how to put on a good Spring show!

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St Oswald’s Churchyard in Heavenfield

First to raise their pretty little heads are the wonderful snowdrops which cover our woodlands, country roads and gardens and can be enjoyed on so many walks. However there is no better place to see these little gems than the woodland around Wallington Hall which with over half a million snowdrops ensures an almost snowy white woodland carpet. The walled garden at Wallington Hall also holds it’s own Spring surprise as the lawn bursts with 100,000 crocuses and their beautiful purple blooms.

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Walled Garden at Wallington Hall

Shades of white and purple are swiftly followed by sunny yellow as the daffodils taken centre stage across so many visitor attractions. Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle, Belsay Hall, Castle & Gardens, to name but a few, all glow with stunning daffodils displays. For something a little more casual Letah Wood near Hexham is thought to be Northumberland’s last wild daffodil wood, a lovely walk where you can enjoy the sound of Letah Burn as it passes through the woodland.

Bright yellow soon turns to shades of dusty pink and white as the delicate blossom appears, gardens, country roads, parks and open spaces are scattered with the delicate confetti from their trees. The Cherry Orchard at Alnwick Garden has the largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ Cherry Blossom in the world, comprising of 329 trees and they all bloom together for up to two weeks around the end of April/beginning of May. The orchard is truly lovely and almost has a magical feel as you meander and weave through this Spring spectacle. Up to date news of ‘blossoming’ time can be found on their website.

Spring is also a time where birdlife is second to none, not only the garden birds who seem to chatter all the louder in Springtime, but the visiting birds that swoop in during April to spend the warmer months here too. Even a walk over the fields here at St Oswald’s may bring delights such as yellow hammers, curlews, lapwings, skylarks and buzzards and listen out for our resident woodpecker! If birdlife is what you really enjoy then a trip to North Northumberland and The Farne Islands is an absolute must. The best time to visit the islands to see the breeding seabirds and the iconic puffins is from mid-April when the boat trips are able to land on Inner Farne, Staple Island and Longstone. Serenity boat trips run from Seahouses and full details of the Farne visits and the birdlife can be found on their website.

Of course we couldn’t talk about Spring here without mentioning lambs, lots of them! Lambing here begins during the third week of March and runs until the second week in April, it’s such a lovely time of year to stay on a farm and enjoy the delights of playful new life. Our lambing time stays are always so popular and book up really quickly, we can promise a hive of activity in the lambing shed, births, lamb cuddles and there’s always the pet pen to bottle feed.

A stay in Northumberland at any time of the year promises to be a memorable one, so whether we’re bursting into life in Spring, in full bloom during the glorious summer months, in an autumnal bronze glow or sparkling in our winter frosts, your trip to Northumberland will be magical. If you’d like to book to stay at St Oswald’s Farm you can check all our availability and prices here. We look forward to welcoming you here soon.

Discovering our Museums – Beamish

St Oswald’s Farm is so well placed for days out in Northumberland and there is so much to see and to do and experience across the County and the whole of the North East. So whether you stay for a weekend, a week or two weeks you won’t be short of places to visit and enjoy. If you like to soak up the history and enjoy discovering museums during your time away then Northumberland most definitely won’t disappoint! Our museums are all so very different and many bring to life the lives of the people who once lived and worked here, and none more so than Beamish, an astonishing living and working museum set in over 300 acres of beautiful countryside in nearby Durham.

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The Pit Village – Beamish

Beamish – The Living Museum of the North is a world famous open air museum which tells the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. “A living, working museum that uses its collections to connect with people from all walks of life and tells the story of everyday life in the North East of England”. And my goodness is certainly does, and in the best and most imaginative way ever!

You will step back in time when you visit Beamish, it is nostalgic, authentic, factual, enchanting, everything about it is interactive and engaging, you can’t help but be in awe of it’s scale and fond of it’s charm.

Hop on the tram and discover how families lived and worked in the years leading up to World War 1 in the 1900’s town, it’s everything a town should be. A bank, the printers, a well stocked Co-op, the Masonic Hall, a chemist and the town stables. See vintage cars, motorcycles and bikes in the replica early 1900’s garage, call in at Herron’s Bakery and watch bread and cakes being made using traditional recipes or pop into Jubilee confectioners and see ‘ye olde fashioned sweets’ being made and of course there’s plenty to tempt you if you would like to take some treats to take home. Buy a pint in The Sun Inn, try your hand at games at the fairground or enjoy a picnic by the bandstand in the Town park and if you time it right, the brass band will be playing too.

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Horse and cart at Beamish

Mining was a huge part of North East life and the 1900’s Colliery and Pit Village depict the life of the men and boys and ponies who worked the mines and how families lived in a pit village. Admire the well tended vegetable gardens, grab a takeout at the local fish and chip shop, visit the chapel or go to school, you can even test your skill with the ‘booler’ in the school yard. You might need a Geordie dictionary to know what a booler is!

Jump back on board the bus or tram and head to the 1940’s farm where you can walk through the homes of those living an everyday domestic life during wartime. See how evacuees adjusted to living a rural life and what life was like for the land girls. The farmhouse, the cottage, the old farm implements and buildings, be sure to take note of the pig troughs at the farm, they once resided here at St Oswald’s Farm, and in fact they were where our house is now, before being given to Beamish around 50 years ago.

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Life on the 1940’s farm

A visit to Beamish is a full day out with so much to explore and see and set over such a large area, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as there’s lots to walk around and you wouldn’t want to miss a single bit! It’s around an hour’s drive from St Oswald’s and we would recommend planning a whole day there to be sure you are able to enjoy it fully. There’s plenty of loos and places to grab a bite to eat and plenty places to sit and enjoy a picnic if you would prefer. For all the details of visiting Beamish please check their website for up to date information and current guidance.

Whatever your interest you’ll be sure to find plenty to see and do in the North East and of course if you need any help or guidance on where to visit you just need to ask and we’ll be happy to help. We look forward to welcoming you here very soon!

Simply Kielder

Kielder could be described as a very small and remote village, it could just be called the home of Kielder Water & Forest or be best known for it’s impressive star studded skies with observatory and International Dark Sky Park status. However, it is also so much more than all of that and there is a wealth of beauty to enjoy and a plenty supply of hidden gems to discover.

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Tranquil Kielder Water (image Kielder Waterside Park)

At over 250sq miles Kielder Forest is the largest man made working forest in England with Kielder Water the largest man made lake in Europe and with them you will find nature, wildlife and natural beauty on a scale you may not have witnessed before. If you wish to seek out the vastness and expanse of this dynamic scenery for yourself there are many ways to enjoy this beautiful part of Northumberland. Take the expansive forest drive or breathe in the clean and fresh Northumbrian air on one of the many walks, you may even opt to bike or walk the 26 mile Lakeside Way! Pay a visit to the nature garden or take advantage of one of the nature hubs with up to date information throughout the year as the forest and it’s inhabitants change through the course of the seasons.

If you want to be prepared and enjoy a guided walk then download the ‘Kielder Water & Forest Park Wild Walks’ app and take your virtual tour guide with you on your own discovery day of this beautiful piece of Northumberland. The ‘guide’ together with view points ensure you know what to look out for and where.

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Kielder Water (image Kielder Waterside Park)

A great place to start any visit is the visitor centre at Tower Knowe, it is ideal for planning your day and for choosing what to see and where to go. Both the visitor centre at Tower Knowe and the visitor centre at Kielder Castle offer refreshments too.

A day out here holds lots of surprises and over the past 25 years it has become home to a unique collection of art, sculptures and architecture. Kielder Belvedere, Skyspace, Wave Chamber, Freya’s Cabin, Janus Chairs, Silvas Capitalis or the newest installation, The Nick. You never know what you might just discover on your travels!

Adventure seekers need look no further than this vast offering. The options to get out and get active are second to none, with cycling, mountain biking, canoeing, sailing, water skiing, snorkeling, fencing, archery, horse riding and even activities such as high ropes and zip wire, there is something there for all adrenaline junkies.

So whether you want to quietly enjoy the surrounding nature by taking a leisurely drive or a relaxed trip on the Osprey Ferry across the water to take in the views, or maybe you would just love to catch a glimpse of an Osprey or learn about Water Voles and the ‘Saving Ratty’ project or you want to delve into the vast forest park and see the architectural structures now firmly at home there, or you really want your day out to be about getting down to some serious activities, Kielder will not disappoint.

Kielder is without doubt beautiful but it is remote and we would always recommend checking the Visit Kielder website before you travel for up to date guidance on opening times, any restrictions and weather updates. The website is full of useful information and guides, and you will find some of these guides printed off for your use in the cottage. Please do note that when you visit Kielder a phone signal will not be easily found!

When you stay at St Oswald’s Farm Kielder is about an hour away with the drive there taking you through some of the most amazing and picturesque countryside. Book your next stay with us and be sure to put Kielder on your must do list.

Stay and Golf

If golf is your game then a stay in Northumberland means you will quite literally be spoilt for choice with nearby courses offering everything from scenic and picturesque to wild and remote and even some internationally renowned. Our courses are varied and offer something for everyone and Northumberland promises courses suitable for all abilities and budgets. So whether you’re looking to just try your hand at golf or just give your clubs an airing whilst holidaying in Northumberland or if you’ re hoping for a different course and different challenge each day, then we can definitely oblige.

Stay and Golf in Northumberland

Allendale golf course sits amongst the hills in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and at it’s highest point reaches 1374ft and is one of highest courses in England. It’s position ensures a remote yet beautiful aspect with fawn and fauna in abundance so don’t be surprised if the odd hare or deer takes interest if you’re nearing the rough.

The picturesque North Tyne Valley is home to Bellingham golf course, a highly regarded 18 hole, 70 par course which provides breathtaking views over the valley and towards Kielder. With a mix of par threes, long par fives and some challenging par fours, you’re assured variation until the very last putt.

alt="Tynedale Golf course in Hexham"
Tynedale Golf Course, Hexham

The local town of Hexham boasts not one but two courses, Tynedale a 9 hole course that sits neatly on Tyne Green, it provides a small tree lined and almost flat course. To the west of the town you will find Hexham Golf Club which is set in acres of pretty countryside overlooking the River Tyne. The Club offers a stunning and memorable venue, with what is said to be the best opening hole in the County and then follows up with a challenge on every green. If you want to brush up on what’s in store hole by hole, their website provides top tips and even ensures you know where to enjoy the best views.

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Hexham Golf Club course – image credit Hexham Golf Club

Northumberland also lays claim to championship courses, Slaley Hall, a 36 hole golf complex with their USGA standard, multi championship ‘Hunting Course’ and set on higher slightly windier ground their ‘Priestman Course’ which has hosted many European Tours. Both Hunting and Priestman offer a challenging but scenic round.

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Slaley Hall

Matfen Hall lies only a 15 minute drive from St Oswald’s and boasts a stunning 27 hole Championship course across beautiful classic parkland incorporating some challenging water features and is regarded as one of the finest courses in Northumberland.

Further East along the Tyne Valley you will find not one but two Lee Westwood courses in the grounds of Close House near Wylam, the Colt Course and the Filly Course alongside a 9 hole Yearling course. Close House was developed by local businessman Graham Wylie who has ensured it has a place on the global golf map and and has hosted the European British Masters and is the only PGA Academy in the North East of England.

Wherever you choose to play you will be sure of a warm welcome to the course and of course to the 19th hole, you will be playing surrounded by vistas that are so staggeringly beautiful you might struggle to keep your eye on the ball! Book your stay in Heavenfield Cottage, take your pick from our fantastic golfing offer, arrange those tee off times and enjoy golf Northumberland style!

Autumn walks

Isn’t Autumn just the most glorious time of the year? Crunchy leaves, misty mornings, crispy air and with a myriad of colours sweeping over our trees, woodlands, gardens, hedgerows, fields and even across our skies. Autumn is definitely not the time to hibernate.

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Early morning at St Oswald’s Farm

Northumberland is renowned for its walks and trails right across the County from coast to country, from remote moorlands to river walks, Northumberland offers the very best in walking opportunities. For hardened walkers Autumn brings a new dimension to each walk with a kaleidoscope of colours to indulge in and for those who enjoy more of a gentle stroll there’s no better time than Autumn to breathe in the great outdoors. Whatever your walking level or experience we can guarantee Northumberland has a walk for you.

You don’t need to travel far from our back door to enjoy the River Tyne. One of Hexham’s nicest green spaces is Tyne Green and it is the most tranquil of places to enjoy, this long river walk at any time of the year is lovely but bathed in Autumn glory it’s nothing short of beautiful.

Further east, the River Tyne takes you to Wylam and to Hagg Bank which is dominated by an impressive single span arch bridge, this former railway bridge is now a footbridge only. The walk East, Keelman’s Way (cycle route 141), stretches from Wylam to Newburn and can be accessed from either end or you may wish to explore the river stretch from Prudhoe to Wylam taking in sights such as George Stephenson’s Cottage and Prudhoe Castle along the way. A copy of this handy guide of the walks along this river stretch is also available in the cottage.

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Hagg Bank at Wylam

The walks at Allen Banks & Staward Gorge are a must-see in Autumn. The gardens and woodlands are owned by the National Trust and are the largest area of ancient semi-natural woodland in Northumberland. This beautiful wooded gorge that follows the River Allen has many different walks to enjoy with miles of paths, most are signed, however some are fairly steep and in places can be a little uneven. Amongst this ancient and ornamental woodland not only will you discover wildife and fauna but also ancient monuments and perhaps even a summer house! Make sure to grab a map available from the car park to keep you on the right path. For current opening times and to check on any restrictions please check their website before visiting. Top tip – afterwards head to Bardon Mill Village Store & Tearoom for hot drinks, light lunches and cake!

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Allen Banks & Staward Gorge in Autumn

The Simonside Hills in Northumberland National Park are perhaps the most recognisable hills in the County and as the Autumn months approach they bring just an expanse of purple beauty across the heather moorland. There is a circular 7km walk to the summit and although the route across the woodlands and moor are classed as moderate it is oh so worth it. At the summit you will encounter 360 degree view and be able to take in the Cheviot Hills, Coquetdale and over to the North Sea coastline. You will find details of parking and route guidance on the National Park website.

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Simonside Hills

It’s hard to choose our favourite place to visit in Autumn, Gibside with its long tree lined avenue or the charm of Belsay Hall and the colours that appear across the gardens and surrounding woodlands at this time of year. Or perhaps our favourite is Cragside House & Gardens which despite the many evergreens amongst their 7 million trees they just seem to highlight and compliment the display of Autumn colours. Talkin’ Tarn is lovely for a gentle walk around a lake but then so is Bolam Lake and there’s Blanchland …if only Autumn lasted longer. There’s always next year when nature will do it for us all again!

Whatever or wherever you choose to walk during your Autumn stay we can guarantee you will ‘fall’ for the charm of Northumberland.

Heavenfield Cottage is the perfect base for all your Autumn days out and just perfect to return back to following a day in the great outdoors. With underfloor heating, a log burning stove, a deep double ended bath, walk-in rainforest shower, fluffy bathrobes, the biggest most comfortable bed with luxury bedding, oh and there’s even somewhere to dry your boots! Sound good? All our Autumn availability for this year and next year can be found here.

We look forward to welcoming you to St Oswald’s Farm.