Tag: wallington hall

Perfect Picnics

Nothing says ‘holiday’ more than heading out into the great outdoors with a picnic, so whether you simply throw some crusty bread and cheese in your backpack or you carefully prepare a gourmet basket of goodies, you will find plenty of perfect picnic spots in Northumberland.

National Trust and English Heritage sites are always a great choice for an al fresco lunch with benches, picnic tables and grassy areas aplenty. At Wallington Hall throw down your picnic blanket in the grassy courtyard or saunter off along one of the many walks to find some dappled shade or sit and enjoy the peace and tranquility within the walled garden. A trip to Cragside offers a huge area in which to enjoy your perfect picnic with perhaps some of the best spots being as you navigate The Carriage Drive with lots of lakeside dining areas to choose from and some hidden in the beautiful woodland of the Cragside Estate.

alt="Cragside Nellys moss lake with picnic bench"
Nelly’s Moss – Cragside

A visit to our Northumbrian Market Towns are a great day trip and a picnic can make for a relaxing lunchtime pitstop. Hexham boasts the beautiful Abbey grounds which includes the pretty bowling green surrounded by seating where you can enjoy an outdoor lunch and if you’re lucky you may even be able to enjoy all the sights and sounds of an outdoor bowls match. Carlisle Park in Morpeth is another great destination for a a picnic lunch and this lovely market town also offers the opportunity to stroll along the banks of the River Wansbeck or even row, row, row your boat up the river.

As far as scenic picnic spots go there can be few better than the dramatic landscape of Hadrian’s Wall, so throw a picnic together and venture out to enjoy some of the wonderful walks this area provides, although with so many wonderful vistas to admire it can be hard to choose. A short 20 minute drive takes you to the very impressive Cawfields which is one of the best preserved stretches of the Wall and provides the opportunity enjoy your packed lunch by the lake or at the sheltered picnic site before burning off some of those calories and taking the scenic walk to Milecastle 42.

Kielder Water & Forest Park covers an area of hundreds of square miles so finding a secluded but picturesque place to picnic is easy. With large grassed areas, picnic tables dotted all over, designated picnic areas and miles and miles of wide open space Kielder is the perfect place to escape and just enjoy the quiet and the vastness of this remote part of Northumberland. The Visit Kielder website is packed full of information on everything that can be enjoyed at Kielder.

Fancy a picnic and a paddle? Well just pick a beach, any beach on the North East coast. All of our Northumberland beaches are heavenly, the whole of our coastline offers wide, sweeping beaches of golden sands that boast to be some of the quietest in the country, there are hidden coves, huge sea views together with pathways, rockpools and dunes, all perfect for a romantic picnic for two. Although I’m afraid we can’t guarantee you won’t get sand in your sandwiches!

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Bamburgh Beach

The beauty of a picnic means you can enjoy one anytime anywhere and you certainly don’t have to travel far to enjoy some open air dining when you stay at St Oswald’s Farm. We invite you to use our farm map and take a walk around our farmland and head to ‘our favourite spot’ on the farm. Brady’s Crag or The Bottom Crag as we call it, is the most perfect place to admire one of the best views from St Oswald’s and it’s a great place to enjoy an evening walk and witness our huge skies and spectacular Northumbrian sunsets. We provide a rug and a backpack in the cottage so all you need to do is chill a bottle of something lovely, grab some glasses and some tasty bites and take the 10 minute walk. We hope you are able to sit back and enjoy what we truly love about where we live.

River Walks

Northumberland is well known for its amazing walking opportunities and with it’s varied, rugged and wild landscape the walks in Northumberland provide fantastic opportunities to enjoy everything from the beautiful coastline to hills and dales as well as high remote moorland, iconic castles and historic monuments. Our water ways and river walks are perhaps less well known but a walk by water in Northumberland incorporates all that is great about our landscape with the relaxing sight and sound of water.

Our river walks offer everything from strolls by babbling brooks to the wonders of finding a waterfall and to the wilderness of the Northumberland National Park. Northumberland offers an abundance of river walks right across the County and we are lucky enough to have so many nearby, Hareshaw Linn, Allen Banks & Staward Gorge but here’s a few more of our local favourites.

The Tyne Green Trail is a 4.5 mile circular walk that follows the course of the River Tyne between Hexham Bridge and the turning point just past Watersmeet which is where the North and South Tyne join, and the river along which the path continues is the South Tyne, flowing from the Pennines beyond Alston, while opposite is the North Tyne flowing out of Kielder Water. The return walk is on quiet lanes and paths and can be extended to Warden Hill which includes the perfect pit stop for refreshment at The Boatside Inn which is just over the river a few hundred yards from the trail. The walk takes in the lovely avenue of mature trees on Tyne Green itself, the 18th century Hexham Bridge which is the perfect spot to stand and gives an ideal view of the weir and depending on the time of year, you may see leaping salmon. Further upstream look out for the remains of the old railway bridge which was built between 1855-1862 and went on to carry the Border Counties Railway. This is an ideal gentle walk and with a very conveniently placed pub!

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Tyne Green Hexham

Dukesfield Arches and Devil’s Water is a walk that uncovers the lead industry heritage of this hidden part of nearby Hexhamshire. There are two routes depending how far you wish to walk, either 6.25 miles or a 4 mile walk. The walks start at the gothic arches that are all that remains of the mill that was built to smelt lead ore brought to the site on the backs of packhorses from the North Pennine hills. The original mill dates back to the late seventeenth century and
was working until 1835. For much of this time it was probably one of the largest such mills in the country. The Devil’s Water route is in no way menacing as it’s name would suggest but offers a lovely peaceful riverside walk through beautiful countryside.

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Dukesfield Arches

Wallington Hall is a well known National Trust property that we always recommend to our guests and as well as the impressive house and grounds, Wallington has a lovely circular river walk which takes 1-2 hours and is a relatively flat route. The walk starts at the Courtyard at Wallington Hall taking in the woodland, ponds and walled garden before guiding you along the banks of the River Wansbeck crossing bridges and stepping stones on the way before arriving back in the Courtyard. It’s a gorgeous walk and you’re more or less guaranteed to see plenty of wildlife as you saunter this tranquil river route.

alt="Wallington bridge on the river walk"
The Bridge on the river walk at Wallington – credit Helen Avery

Featherstone Castle & Lambley Viaduct walk is a beautiful circular walk that follows public footpaths and bridleways across fields and meadows beside the River South Tyne and joins the South Tyne Trail. The walk is rich in history taking in a 14th-century castle, a prisoner of war camp and an elegant 19th-century viaduct that used to carry the Alston to Haltwhistle railway line. The walk is around 6 miles and classed as a moderate walk but should you find yourself in need of a refreshment after your walk, The Wallace Arms is just up the road.

alt="lambley viaduct with river walk"
Lambley Viaduct

There are just to many gorgeous river walks in Northumberland and each with it’s own unique charm, so whether you enjoy the heritage behind our waterways, want to look out for wildlife or simply enjoy the calming influence a river walk brings then Northumberland will certainly have a walk for you. Book your stay and look forward to enjoying all Northumberland has to offer.

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!

alt="Spring in St Oswald's Churchyard covered in snowdrops"
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.

alt="Spring crocus lawn at Wallington Hall walled garden"
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.