Hadrian’s Wall stretches some 80 miles, coast to coast across the North of England. It encompasses some of the most beautiful scenery and yet it is still a quiet and largely forgotten corner of the country. Towards the western end, just after it leaves Northumberland and enters Cumbria you will find the valley of the River Irthing. Here the Wall follows the last of the high ground before descending to the coastal plane and here as the mountain limestone gives way to the red sandstones of the coast you will find Lanercost. For many people this is the England we remember from many years ago. A small village, large cricket field, gently meandering river and a large and partially ruined Abbey with a dramatic history.
The Abbey dates back to approximately 1169 AD. It became the capital of England during the winter of 1306, when Edward 1st, Hammer of the Scots, visited Lanercost and was forced to delay his departure until the springtime due to illness.Subsequently it was visited, not peacefully, by both Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. During the reign of Henry VIII the monastery was dissolved and the main roof removed.
Local attractions include:-
Hadrian’s Wall. The nearest large site is Birdoswald but Lanercost Abbey also has Roman altars and carvings which are worth seeing.
Border Reiver country. This was part of “The debateable lands” made famous from Border Reiving times. Bastle houses and fortified buildings are common here.
Brampton. Nearest market town with shops and plenty of good food.
Gilsland. Border town famous for its outlaws and lack of law during the troubled times. During the 19th century it became famous for both its Spa waters and being where Sir Walter Scott proposed to his wife ( on the Poppin stone)
Alston. The highest town in England and the centre of the mining industry around here.
A little further away and you come to Carlisle in the west and Hexham to the east. There is good shopping, good golf and plenty of countryside to explore.
This panorama shows the Abbey on the right. To the left lie the Lanercost tea room and between these two there is a small courtyard with holiday cottages.
Image: Lanercost by Lanercost, on Flickr
This article was written by Mike Holly who has been visiting the luxury cottages at Lanercost.