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 18a. Wooler and a circular Cheviots walk through Happy Valley via North Middleton, Careyburn Bridge, Old Middleton Town, Northumberland

Wooler - town or village?

Wooler is 6 miles east from the Cheviot the highest peak in the Cheviot Hills. It is an ancient market town and parish in Glendale set in picturesque scenery of rolling hills and glens. Wooler is the only market town in Glendale and was one of the Northumberland baronies created after the Norman conquest. It was given to Robert de Musco Campo, or Muschampe, by Henry I in the twelfth century. When the campo family died out the lands around Wooler changed hands many times but eventually it came to the Grey family of Milfield, which included nee Josephine Grey, later Butler, a woman who championed improving the lives of women in the Victorian era (See Kirknewton page 19). Later the Earls of Tankerville obtained the land and are still the principal landowners in the area. The town was burned down in 1722, but rebuilt to a better standard! By the early 19th century Wooler had a population of ~2000, and held weekly markets for the sale of grains, especially corn and also held two annual markets held for the sale of sheep, horses and cattle. The surrounding area was and remains mainly agricultural with grain growing and sheep farming retaining important roles. Today Wooler, nestling in the Cheviot Hills is becoming more popular with tourist whether on foot, cycle or car and there is a good tourist-visitor information centre.

Market Place and Church Street down on right.

 

Looking down the High Street towards the church.

 

Looking up the High Street of Wooler.

 

The top end of the High Street.

 

St Mary's Parish Church, Wooler which was completed in 1765 and built on the site of an earlier medieval church of ~12th century?

PLEASE buy the guide and/or leave a donation for restoration appeal for this historic church - funds are needed in particular for the roof.

 

The very striking and impressive modern stained glass east window of St Mary's and the sandstone exterior of the church. [Enlarged version of the east window] The nave and the tower replace an earlier medieval church that was destroyed by fire. The church is built of local Doddington stone which looks really good in the late afternoon sunlight and especially after a good walk in the Cheviots.

 

The interior of St Mary's, looking east towards the altar and the east stained glass window.

 

Looking down Cheviot Street.

 

Wooler United Reformed Church, which was the Presbyterian Church from 1688-1972.

 

There are plenty of places to get refreshments from in Wooler. There is Foulis Fish and Chips Shop, the Breeze Cafe is very good (top left), but other cafes include Mojo's, The Terrace Cafe which has space in front for cyclists and there are plenty of pubs such as the Angel Inn and next to it the Black Bull and across from the church the Wheatsheaf Hotel.


A circular Cheviots walk through Happy Valley starting from North Middleton and proceeding to Careyburn Bridge, Old Middleton Town and back to North Middleton

The tiny hamlet North Middleton, where you can park your car on the grass verge.

 

The fields around North Middleton, on your right as you walk down to the ford and footbridge near Coldgate Mill.

 

Coldgate Water (higher up it is called Carey Burn). and much evidence of trees swept away by floods.

 

Walking west through Happy Valley alongside the river.

 

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Careyburn Bridge 1956

 

The remains of the old bridge buttresses, the previous bridge was swept away ion the floods of 1948. To the left = west the river is now called Carey Burn.

 

Oak trees galore!

 

Climbing up from Carey Burn Bridge into the beautiful woodland containing oak trees.

 

Earthworks of the Iron Age settlement south of Coldgate Water (higher up it is called Carey Burn).

 

The traces of Iron Age settlement enclosures and bases of round houses can be clearly seen.

 

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Yellow ragwort, a sign of poor soil and poisonous to animals, stands out against the threatening sky!

 

Approaching the hillside on which the deserted village of 'Middleton Old Town' once stood.

 

Looking down on Happy Valley.

 

The old stone covered mill race in Middleton Old Town - a deserted village.

 

The ruins of an 18th century barn just about still stand and the village was up on the right and meadowland and animal enclosures on the left.

 

The only residents now are a few sheep.

 

The weather threatened, but it was kind to us, but it certainly added to the atmosphere of this deserted 'town'.

 

The stone enclosures.

 

The stark sunlit barn ruins stand out against the black sky.

 

A bit of modern sculpture above North Middleton?

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