The Surrounding Countryside

At the head of the East Allen Valley

The North Pennines is an area of outstanding natural beauty, covering 772 square miles. This breathtakng area is one of the country’s last expanses of wilderness, a high wild landscape of undulating heather moorland and blanket peat.

The North Pennines spans three counties – Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria and comprises moorlands, wooded valleys and small, unspoilt villages.

The area has a rich abundance of minerals and was once an important location for lead, zinc, iron, fluorspar, barytes, witherite and coal mining.

In 2003 the North Pennines was awarded European Geopark Status, a designation for areas with world-class geology.
Parts of the area are protected as national nature reserves and sites of special scientific Interest.

Man’s influence has also moulded the landscape with farming and mining. The largest towns in this remote area are Allendale, Alston, Blanchland and Haltwhistle.

Besides the natural wild beauty of the countryside, the landscape is full of clues to the lead-mining history of the village and the surrounding communities of East and West Allendale, Weardale and Teesdale.

The high grouse moors attract visitors from far and wide. The cross country route through the Lake District from the Irish Sea, in the west, to the North Sea, in the east, provides an irresistable cycling challenge for some. Walkers may be drawn by the unspoilt natural environment and the wildlife it supports or by the rich industrial history of the area. Some people just want the peace, quiet and natural simplicity of the place.