For the purposes of this website Hadrian’s Wall Country is defined as Northumberland south of Hadrian’s Wall. It is a land of hills and rivers dominated by the magnificent River Tyne and its tributaries – the main ones being the Rivers North Tyne, South Tyne and Allen. Much of this area is farmland with mixed farming at lower elevations and sheep and cattle in the higher areas towards the county boundary with County Durham and Cumbria.
Along the Dales of the Rivers Tyne and South Tyne Hadrian’s Wall Country is quintessential English farmland with rolling hills, fields and trees. Travelling south as the fells (hills) grow, the countryside becomes more open and dry stone walls begin to dominate as field boundaries. Eventually the scenery changes to open moorland with areas of heather.
Where Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria meet was once a major industrial area with the mining and smelting of lead. The population was many, many times greater than it is today. Remnants of this era can be found with, most notably, the remains of the chimneys and flues from the smelting process at Catton and the splendid Victorian viaduct at Lambley. It is also sad to see the homes of many of the miners decaying amongst the fells.
Where families once lived pheasants, grouse, curlew and other moorland birds thrive. Standing high on the fells reveals magnificent views over south Northumberland under towering skies. Northumberland is the most sparsely populated county in England, accordingly the towns and villages of south Northumberland are small and concentrated along the rivers.
The main centre is the attractive town of Hexham with its historic market place, Abbey, moot hall and gaol. All the communities offer good reasons to visit. To the east Wylam has the home of the Stephensons who were responsible for the early development of the world’s railways. Moving up the Tyne is Prudhoe with a magnificent Norman Castle with an Elizabethan Manor House built inside – security and solid defences were essential in wild and lawless centuries past with the Border Reivers.
The small town of Corbridge plays host to Corstopitum Roman Station and nearby Aydon Castle.
Along the River South Tyne is Haydon Bridge with its historic bridge and the small hospitable town of Haltwhistle further upstream. History is present in abundance with remains of the Roman occupation, early Christianity and the era of the Border Reivers. Fortified buildings and remains are numerous.