27 Jul Ancient Wonders of Northumberland
Ancient Wonders of Northumberland
Browsing around YouTube one day, we stumbled on the Ancient Wonders of Northumberland and were hooked. This excellent series by Michael McVay visits some of the county’s remote treasures with suitably reflective commentary. This combined with sweeping video conveys a degree of the profound quiet, secluded splendour and sense of history intrinsic to these locations.
In this first episode, McVay visits St. Cuthbert’s cave near Holburn, between Belford and Lowick. The monks of Lindisfarne are reputed to have wandered for seven years following Viking raids on their monastery, before bringing St. Cuthbert’s body to rest under this overhanging outcrop of sandstone in 875 AD.
He also goes to Edlingham, a small village to the west of Alnwick. It played a noted role in the local establishment of Christianity being one of four villages granted to Cuthbert in 737 by Northumbrian King Coelwulf. St. John the Baptist’s church dates from the 11th Century and the nearby castle is only slightly less old. Across from the castle is a disused viaduct of the Alnwick-Cornhill branch line. The Devil’s Causeway also passes close to the village.
Take the Alnwick turning off the A697 by the Bridge of Aln Hotel, about 3 miles south of Powburn. After just over a mile, take the right signed Edlingham. Park (considerately) near the church. Entry to Edlingham Castle free. An 8km (5 mile) circular walk starting from Edlingham includes these and other local scenic highlights: Walks in north Northumberland – Edlingham [PDF]
St. Cuthbert’s cave directions
If coming by car, turn off the Holburn to Chatton Road about one mile south of Holborn where signed. Drive down the lane to Holburn Grange farm and park just beyond.
The cave is some 1.75km (1 mile) walk from here: follow the signs up the hill. Alternatively there is a circular walk of about 7km (4.5 miles) including the cave and Raven’s Crag from this point – Walks in north Northumberland – St. Cuthbert’s Cave [PDF]
Next: in episode two, McVay reveals the ruins of Old Bewick and Blawearie as well as the Duddo stone circle.