Rising in the high moorland beside Hadrian’s Wall, Haltwhistle Burn is one of the hidden treasures of the Northumberland National Park.
It can vary from babbling brook to rushing torrent depending on the season but it has its own special charm no matter what the weather.
The upland part of the valley runs through wild moorland but south of General Wade’s Military Road (the B6318 - the longest B road in the country!) its character changes, first to meander through herb rich meadow and then to tumble its way through a dramatic gorge and luxuriant woodland until it joins the River South Tyne below the town of Haltwhistle.
The rocks exposed in the cliffs of the Burn Gorge date from the Carboniferous Period, some 300 million years ago - a period when the land that was to become Northumberland lay close to the equator and was subject to many changes of condition, from tropical seas to great river deltas and lush forests. The rocks that were laid down at that time have been cut through by the waters of the burn to leave dramatic exposures which have been exploited by the people of Haltwhistle for hundreds of years.
Although the Burn is filled with lush woodland and has become a haven for wildlife, it was not always so. The power of the stream was harnessed from Roman times to drive the machinery of corn and woollen mills. The rich rocks of the burn gorge were exploited for building stone, lime, coal and clay. The enigmatic remains of three woollen mills and three pits can be located whilst the large brickwork’s, which occupied both banks in the 1860s, has vanished with scarcely a trace.
Explore The Burn
Take a gentle amble from the Market Town of Haltwhistle along the well signed route beside the Haltwhistle Burn. Enigmatic ruins, abundant wildlife and the tranquility of the flowing water: a short stroll or the start of a day’s walk through Hadrian’s Wall Country.
The Haltwhistle Burn Footpath can be accessed from Willa Road going north from Fair Hill. From there you can go north through the lush woods and dramatic scenery of the Burn Gorge and follow it to its source in the moors beside the Roman Wall or take the path south towards the foot of the town.
Whichever way you turn you can experience the wildlife and discover something of the burn’s industrial heritage as this small stream and its rich geology provided employment and resources for Haltwhistle and the surrounding communities from the 17th century until the 1960s.
Find out more on the Haltwhistle Burn website » Haltwhistleburn.org