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The Breamish Valley

A picturesque landscape of high hills, open moorland, gently rolling farmland and the scenic River Breamish!


Hovering kestrel at Branton

I spy…a hovering kestrel

I set off cycling along the Breamish Valley a bit later than usual this morning. It was fairly windy so I wasn’t too sure how far along the valley I’d manage to get. Anyway, on my approach to the Branton footbridge that crosses the River Breamish – along National Cycle Network, Route 68, just alongside Branton Nature Conservation Area – I was delighted to see a hovering kestrel hovering over the lane.

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Powburn play area

I was just cycling past the Powburn play area today and stopped to take a closer look. It’s looking particularly neat and tidy at the moment – thanks to the regular grass cutting by Northumberland County Council.

The trees close to the Pow Burn are in full blossom and so they really catch the eye.

The planters cared for by Hedgeley Women’s Institute are also showing a few blooms and it all helps to make the Powburn play area a great space for children and adults to enjoy.

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A history of Powburn

By John Taylor

Hedgeley Parish lies at the extreme southern edge of the great prehistoric Glendale lake. As the land forms changed and natural drainage took place, human life began to shape the landscape as we know it.

Powburn village probably owes its existence to its strategic position near a river crossing (usually a ford) which, in time, would be replaced by a bridge of sorts. The Roman Army certainly used it for a military road which was part of the network north of the Great Wall. The road began in this part of the world at Rochester, crossing through Alndale to the Bridge of Aln. It was excavated on farm land at Rothill and shown to cross east of Glanton, coming down the high Powburn road and, following that part of the current A697, to Percy’s Cross along the route of the Devil’s Causeway to Hortons, Lowick and Berwick.

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Spring has sprung!

Spring has sprung in the Breamish Valley!

There’s not much to say really. Just take a look at what’s taking place in the Breamish Valley. Life everywhere!

What a wonderful place to be!

Spring has sprung.
The grass has riz.
I wonder where the birdie is?
The bird is on the wing
But that’s absurd
Because the wing is on the bird!

Poem often attributed to Ogden Nash
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Master craftsmen at Hedgeley

An account given by Robbie Hall in 1980

My grandfather, Robert Hall was born at Brandon White House in 1813. In 1825 he was apprenticed to James Stewart (for six years) who was a shoemaker in Powburn. His indenture, which we still have in the family, is interesting in that it lays down rules for both Master and Apprentice:

“The Master shall teach the Apprentice all he knows of the art and business of shoe-making, and also shall find and supply sufficient meat, drink, washing, lodging and all other necessities during his apprenticeship. The Apprentice shall undertake to faithfully serve, his secrets keep, do his lawful demands gladly, shall not waste or lend his Master’s goods to anyone, shall not buy or sell without his Master’s leave and shall not enter Taverns, Inns or Ale Houses, and shall not play Cards, Dice or any other unlawful game…”

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Easter egg rolling

Egg rolling

I wasn’t in the Breamish Valley over the Easter holidays: I was visiting family back in Durham. And it was in Durham, about 35 years ago, that I first learnt from my father-in-law, Bob about the tradition of egg rolling on Easter Monday.

He would make what he called ‘paste eggs’ – something else I’d never heard of (I was born in Yorkshire!). Basically, these were eggs that he used to hard boil in a pan of onion skins. It turned the eggs’ shells into wonderful shades of brown – some tawny, some golden – each one unique. And if he was really on a roll, he’d add a bit of cochineal from the kitchen cupboard and create red-purple patches and spirals over them.

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