THINGS TO DO
(under non-Covid conditions!)
Nenthead lies near the head of the River Nent (which flows into the River South Tyne at Alston). It claims to be the highest village in the UK and the first with electric lighting.
The old Methodist chapel has recently been converted into the Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre - with an excellent cafe! Ideal for a coffee stop when you walk the dog down to the shop for your milk and papers!
The village owes its past importance to lead mining and lies in one of the most productive regions for this mineral. There are many remnants of the industry, some of which can be seen at Nenthead Mines which has various open days throughout the year, including underground trips.
Killhope Lead Mining Museum is about 4 miles away.
The area is excellent for recreational walking. Lying to the south are Cross Fell, Great Dun Fell and the Howgills;
the Lake District is to the west and the Northumberland National Park to the North.
Nenthead and Alston lie within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In the immediate area are numerous lesser known walks of varying length via footpaths across Open Access ground.
There are river walks taking in waterfalls such as Ashgill Force.
The Pennine Way passes Alston and the 37 mile Isaac's Tea Trail (which we walked over three days in October 2018!) goes through Alston and Nenthead and runs just below Sunrise Cottage - see Anne Leuchars' blog: A short distance away are the Hadrian's Wall path and other Roman attractions such as Vindolanda and Epiacum Roman forts.
The Walkers are Welcome Alston Moor website has an extensive range of local walks.
The Turk's Head in Alston runs a pub quiz every Tuesday evening and also has regular live music sessions - watch their Facebook page for notices. They also have a drop-in music session early Sunday evening.
The Miners Arms in Nenthead has live music every Thursday before a full moon.
Alston lies in the valley of the River South Tyne and has a claim to being the highest market town in the UK - disputed by Buxton in Derbyshire!
Alston also owes its past importance to lead mining. Some of the buildings are indicative of importance and affluence dating from this.
There is a Tourist Information Centre at the library in the Town Hall.
The town boasts both a Spar and a Co-op and two garages selling fuel at national prices,
There are a number of characterful pubs doing cooked meals in the evening and some at lunch-time. There are cafes and a number of one-off shops and a wholefood shop selling a wide range of local, regional, organic, fairtrade and special dietary foods and some wonderful local cheeses.
Alston also has a golf course and is home to the South Tynedale Railway
Nenthead has a cycle hire, spares and repair shop indicating the area's importance in the cycling world as there are number of routes such as the C2C and Routes 7, 47 and 71
Some examples of local bird life: Black Grouse; Ring Ouzel; Curlew; Redshank; Snipe; Hen Harrier; Nightjar, Buzzard, Kestrel, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Short-eared Owl.
Some examples of local animal life: Red Squirrel; Deer (not to mention hordes of rabbits!)