Activities in the area
There are many outstanding local walks: Haltwhistle Rings, Haltwhistle Walking Festival, Kielder, Allenbanks, Lambley Viaduct, Hadrian's Wall, as well as walks to Haltwhistle, Herding Hill or Twice Brewed.
Each cottage has a selection of maps and suggestions for local walks, as well as public transport timetables. We can also help with transport either in an emergency or by prior arrangement.
We are a Walkers Welcome establishment and with rivers, forest and upland moorland within easy reach your route and choices are unlimited.
Common House Farm is only a mile’s walk from Hadrian’s Wall and you soon find yourself joining the footpath along the best preserved sections. We are close to the highest part of the walk, as well as the midway point, so we’re ideal for people walking the full length and transport can be arranged when your feet have had enough! The Hadrian’s Wall Bus offers a seasonal (April – October) service to link with other bus and train services, as well as calling at all the points of interest along the wall. This is an ideal way to enjoy linear walks or sightseeing along the route before returning by bus. There is also a good selection of walker and dog-friendly real ale country pubs in the area, many of which will have a real fire to rest by on colder days and a warm Northern welcome all year round.
The South Tyne river is said to be one of the best salmon fishing river in England. Day permits can be purchased in Haltwhistle.
This area is great cycling territory, with forest tracks through Kielder, the disused Haltwhistle to Alston railway line known as the South Tyne Trail and long distance cycling routes 68 and 72 which pass through Haltwhistle (www.sustrans.org.uk). Alternatively you may prefer to meander along the many miles of quiet country lanes either along the Tyne valley or up into the Pennine hills.
Haltwhistle has recently been given the status of a Cycling Hub town and the cottages provide a map of 7 possible cycling routes around the immediate area as well as other suggestions further afield.
Haltwhistle has the only heated outdoor swimming pool in the area, which is open from April – September. Day passes can be purchased either at the leisure centre or by ourselves by request.
Culture and History
Being so close to 2000 year old Hadrian’s Wall, you might expect there to be a wealth of historical interest nearby and you certainly won’t be disappointed. For example, across the fields from us is Vindolanda, where a purpose built museum houses some of the earliest examples of writing ever found in Britain – the Vindolanda Tablets. An investment of £4million pounds has been spent on Vindolanda and the Roman Army museum to bring them up to date and make them more visitor friendly.
Romans haven’t been the only inhabitants here. Other museums in the area chart the lives of local people and the industries they have been involved with, for example mining and ship building. The Border Rievers also played their part in shaping Tynedale into the place it is today and many family names in Haltwhistle can be traced back to those unsettled times.
Explore the Roman Wall
Common House Farm is well placed for visiting the best preserved sections of Hadrian's Wall, built nearly 2000 years ago to define the Northern frontier of Rome's mighty Empire. Today, the Wall is a World Heritage Site and the Roman fortress at Housesteads, the fort of Vindolanda and the fort and museum at Chesters are all within a few miles.
Other sites include:
Heritage and Christianity
Hexham offers its magnificent 12th Century Abbey, Kielder Water and Forest offering watersports, cycling and walking trails, and England's most recently declared area of outstanding natural beauty, The North Pennines, with its lead mining heritage.
As well as the fantastic Roman history waiting to be explored in Hadrian’s Wall Country, the area has a vast Christian heritage which goes way back to the 7th century, when English Christianity was born. The magnificent legacy of this time is clear to see in spectacular abbeys, priories and churches nestled in Hadrian’s Wall Country. Worthy of a visit are the Holy Cross church in Haltwhistle circa 13th century, which is renowned for its Burne Jones stained glass windows; Hexham Abbey; Lanercost Priory; and of course the jewel in the crown, the monastery on Holy Island. You can explore the charming market town of Hexham offers winding medieval streets and England’s first purpose built prison, the Old Gaol, which was designed to contain the rogue Border Reivers. Also close by is the popular roman town of Corbridge,with its narrow streets filled with quaint shops and cafes.
Other sites include:
The peaceful county of Northumberland is renowned for its castles, such as at Bamburgh and Alnwick and its open unspoilt countryside. Many of these are within easy reach of Common House Farm and visiting these locations can make a memorable day trip by car, especially Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island on the spectacular Northumberland Coast. The fabulous Alnwick Gardens, created by the Duchess of Northumberland, are also well worth a visit.
There are several National Trust properties in the area - Wallington Hall, Cragside House, Cherryburn, Gibside Estate, and beyond Northumberland you can visit Durham Cathedral, and Carlisle Cathedral. With Newcastle and the Gateshead Metro Centre to the east and Carlisle to the west, shoppers are also catered for. Further afield, but still within easy reach, are the Lake District, Scottish Borders and Edinburgh.