I still have a sackful of balmy, Algarve images to post but, here in England, the Autumn colour is fading fast. I thought I’d share this walk to Aydon Castle before the leaves have all departed. Though it’s just over the border into Northumberland, I’d never heard of this 13th century, fortified manor house until a couple of weeks ago.
I know lovely honey coloured Corbridge, where my walk starts, quite well. It’s riverside walks often tempt me. This is Roman Wall territory and there are any number of sites you can visit to delve back in time. Today though, I’m after a good tramp in the outdoors. No, don’t ask ‘which one?’
The walk starts from the free car park, just over the bridge, where you will also find a helpful map and suggestions for other trails in the neighbourhood. Cross over the bridge and head gently up through the town, bearing to the right.
Corbridge is a very genteel and affluent looking place. Not easy to imagine the Scottish border raids that once were a regular feature of this area. Livestock were often brought in from the fields at night, and a watch placed at each end of town to protect them from marauders. Way before that, Corbridge was the most northerly town in the Roman Empire.
Keep a watch for a signpost off to the left. Aydon Castle is one and a half miles from this point, initially following a narrow lane and then a footpath beside a lovely old stone wall. It’s a bit of a surprise to find yourself walking next to the noisy A69 but, once you cross the road bridge over this busy highway, you are again enfolded in English countryside. Did you notice the kilns off across the fields? It was my intention to circle around to see them on the return leg, but that didn’t quite happen.
The sheep are quietly contemplative, their fleece crisply white against the shimmering autumn foliage. Ahead, the trail drops down into the woods and weaves in and out of dappled shade. It’s a bit of a climb up towards the Castle.
Suddenly the solid walls are right there in front of you. Robert de Reymes, a wealthy merchant, built a manor house here, beside the Cor Burn, in 1296. It was originally a 2-storey building but in 1305 he obtained a licence to add battlements, crenellations and curtain walls. Despite this it was pillaged and burnt by the Scots in 1315. Two years later the English recaptured it, only to lose it again to the Scots in 1346.
In the middle of the 16th century the building was renovated, and mid 17th century it was converted into a farm. It remained a farm until 1966.
It is a remarkably solid building. Information panels showing the floor plans are strategically placed and, on the ground floor, there’s a charming storybook on a sturdy wooden table. Sunlight dances off the wall hangings in the regal hall. I find myself gazing at the rough roof tiles, high above the timber beams. The patterns intrigue.
Outside, Autumn continues to glow. I hope for a tearoom attached to the Castle, currently managed by English Heritage, but a small shop has to suffice. Lunch proves to be a bar of fudge and a hot chocolate, clutched for warmth. Still, it’s a fairytale setting and I’m not disappointed.
Leaving the castle behind, there are decisions to be made. Left or right? Left is a longer walk, which passes by the pottery kilns, but the light is already beginning to fade. I’m afraid that good sense prevails. A country lane eventually leads back to Corbridge.
I have some bad news for you. The Castle is now closed until April next year. I caught the last weekend, but the location is still lovely. The English Heritage website provides all the details, and if you want the full 6 mile circuit, pottery kilns included, this is how. There are some great pubs for food in Corbridge, if you’ve time to linger. Here it’s time to put the kettle on and settle in for a good read.
Many thanks to all for your wonderful contributions again this week. Your enthusiasm and support drives me ever onward. Hope you enjoyed this week’s walk. It’s easy to join in, if you’d like. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Just click on the logo above.
Debbie has a delicious waterside stroll for us this week. But do take care of your ankles!
Desmond has a barrow in the market place. Molly is the singer with the band. Thanks Drake!
Pink houses, peach houses, or how about lemon? Jude, in colourful Colchester :
Violet has found us some more delights this week! And it’s not even snowing! (Yet!)
Anabel tests her fitness levels and comes out on top!
And looking at glorious locations, not much can top this. Thanks, Lady Lee!
Jackie’s in Jamestown. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t named after my son :
Woolly is waving goodbye this week :
While Paula has a very special, luminous night time stroll to share :
And Susan has searched out some very beautiful fountains in Central Park :
You can almost hear the noise from Carole’s Mute Swans! They’re fabulous :
Next please let me introduce Unicorn and Bear, a hiking couple from Canada :
Miriam’s feeling a bit adventurous this week, and why not?
I wouldn’t get far on Kathryn’s walk because there’s a recycle book store. Serious temptation!
That’s it for another week. Hope you all have a good one. See you soon!