Herding Hill Farm is ideally placed close to the town of Haltwhistle, Northumberland which is known as the Centre of Britain. Our 5-star camping and glamping site is close to the Northumberland/Cumbria border, making it an ideal place to stay if you are looking to explore the amazing rural landscape down the Tyne Valley from the city of Newcastle to Carlisle and beyond. So which Northumberland towns and villages do we recommend?
Haltwhistle, Northumberland proudly proclaims itself to be the geographical centre of Great Britain as it is mid-way along the mainland’s longest line of longitude, however there are a number of other places which also make this claim. That calculation, allegedly, only works if you use Orkney as the northernmost point of Britain rather than Shetland.
The Haltwhistle as the “centre of Britain” or “centre of uk” titles are heavily prominent about the town, with a Centre of Britain launderette, a Centre of Britain gallery and a centuries old sandstone-coloured Centre of Britain Hotel built as a pele tower in the late 15th century. The name Haltwhistle comes from the Old English Haltwezell, meaning 'high place', or, alternatively, 'a hilltop with two streams'.
Haltwhistle, Hadrian’s Wall has lots more to shout about and is an excellent base from which to explore the Northumberland National Park. The railway came to Haltwhistle in the 1830s, with the building of the Newcastle to Carlisle railway and provides excellent transport links to the cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. There is also an excellent and scenic bus connecting the two cities.
Haltwhistle is one of the closest Northumberland towns to the most spectacular sections of Hadrian’s Wall. It has a rich border heritage. Hadrian’s Wall and Cawfields Quarry can be reached on foot from the town to Herding Hill Farm by a walk up the beautiful Haltwhistle Burn which illustrates Haltwhistle’s rich industrial heritage of brickworks and limekilns, as well as giving you the opportunity to spot birds and wildlife.
There is a small high street with a number of pubs, takeaways cafes and small stores, as well as a Co-Op and a Sainsburys. Many of the takeaways deliver to Herding Hill Farm. For other things to do in Haltwhistle for families there is Haltwhistle Leisure Centre with its outdoor pools and slides, open during the Summer months.
There are a number of Haltwhistle castles close by, including Featherstone Castle, Blenkinsopp Castle, Thirlwall Castle and Bellister Castle. Whilst some of these cannot be visited directly there are beautiful walks nearby allowing excellent views of the fortresses.
The small village of Gilsland is located close to Hadrian’s Wall and sits in the counties of both Northumberland and Cumbria. It is the closest Northumberland village to Birdoswald Roman Fort. There are a small number of amenities including an excellent café House of Meg and a community-owned pub The Samson Inn.
Just north of the village is Gilsland Hall Hotel (previously Gilsland Spa Hotel). Whilst the hotel is currently closed to guests there are excellent local walks in the dramatic wooded Irthing gorge behind the hotel. Gilsland Spa was established in 1901 as a convalescent home for Co-Operative Wholesale Society members in the North of England. It was named after a nearby sulphurous spring in a cliff below the hotel.
Gilsland is famously known as the place where Sir Walter Scott proposed to his future wife Margaret Charlotte Charpentier in 1797. Until recently visitors could view the Gilsland “popping stone” where this proposal took place, but it has sadly been destroyed.
The Poltross Burn milecastle is an excellent example of a Hadrian’s Wall historic site, is free to visit and is a short walk from the centre of this Northumberland village. Gilsland is also the start of a gorgeous walk along a fabulous section of Hadrian’s Wall at Willowford, over the River Irthing and up to the Birdoswald Roman Fort, where there is an excellent café and visitor centre, along with tremendous views.
For those wanting a longer walk the Crammel Linn waterfall is a favourite spot in the Summer.
Whilst Gilsland sits on the railway line between Newcastle and Carlisle it’s station is currently derelict and there are plans to restore and re-open in the future.
The beautiful and ancient market town of Hexham is located on the banks of the River Tyne, approximately 25 minutes by car from Herding Hill Farm Camping and Glamping Site. It can also be accessed via a 15-minute train journey from Haltwhistle Railway Station. If you would like to know more about Hexham why not read our blog HERE.
Corbridge, Northumberland is a lovely village with a wide range of independent stores, galleries and cafes. It is ideal for a shopping visit. There is an excellent bakery, greengrocer and delicatessen, a wide range of local gift and craft shops and the excellent Forum Books, located in the old Methodist Chapel complete with preserved pulpit. The amazing Re is a vintage and lifestyle emporium, we dare anyone not to make a purchase whilst shopping there. There are a number of historic pubs serving excellent food. The Pele Tower is now an excellent gin and wine bar. There is also a beautiful church – St. Andrews Church Corbridge.
Corbridge, Hadrian’s Wall is also the site of Corbridge Roman Town, an excellently preserved community ran by English Heritage. Corbridge Hadrian’s Wall was the most Northerly town of the Roman empire. Here you can wander the streets and get a true idea what it was like to live as a Roman soldier, as well as viewing one of the most comprehensive Roman collections in the UK.
Corbridge sits on the River Tyne and there are excellent walks along the river.
Aydon Castle Northumberland is a short walk from the village centre and can be visited. Almost completely intact, it is one of the finest examples of a 13th century English manor house. The fields around Aydon Castle are covered by poppies in Summer.
Corbridge also sits on the Newcastle to Carlisle railway line and it’s a short walk over the river into the village centre.