Old High Shield Cottage
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Activities and sites of interest

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall is almost 1900 years old. It stretches for 73 miles across what is now northern England from Bowness-on-Solway in the west to Wallsend in the east. It took three Roman legions over six years to build with constructing starting in 122AD. It is arguably the most significant Roman monument to have survived in Britain and has been awarded World Heritage Site status (Hadrian's Wall Country).

Housesteads Roman fort (Vercovicium)

Housestead’s fort lies 2 miles east of Old High Shield Cottage. It is the most well preserved of the sixteen outposts that line Hadrian’s Wall. It is also the most iconic of these outposts, with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. It is also a good day out with a museum and various ruins including four double-portal gateways, a perimeter wall, granaries, barracks, under floor heating system and some of the earliest known flushing toilets to check out (The National Trust).

Vindolanda Roman fort and museum

Vindolanda lies half a mile south of Old High Shield Cottage. The site of Vindolanda predates Hadrian's Wall and was occupied from around AD 85. The fort was built to guard the central section of the vital east to west supply route, now known as the Stanegate. Following construction of the wall, around forty years later, Vindolanda became a wall fort. Visitors to Vindolanda can view a range of excavated remains including a bath house, barracks, officer’s residence and a temple. The Vindolanda Tablets are among the most significant Roman artifacts to have been found anywhere in the former Roman Empire (Vindolanda Charitable Trust) .



Kielder Reservoir and Kielder Observatory

Kielder Water & Forest Park is home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England's largest forest. A wide variety of adventure activities are available ranging from water sports to walking and cycling. There are mile upon mile of purpose-built trails including forest walks for all the family and dedicated mountain bike tracks. For example, the Lakeside Way is a 26 mile multi-user trail, suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users, that encircles the shoreline of Kielder Water (Visit Kielder).

Kielder Observatory is located in one of the most ideal locations for star gazing. Northumberland is England's most sparsely populated county, with neighbouring Cumbria second, and is home to Europe's largest area of protected sky; Northumberland Dark Sky Park (BBC News). Kielder Observatory is at the heart of Northumberand Dark Sky Park (Kielder Observatory).



Haltwhistle is a local market town situated 5 miles from Old High Shield Cottage. The town sits close to the South Tyne river and on the Newcastle-Carlisle railway. Markets are held in Haltwhistle every Thursday. Haltwhistle's claim to fame is to be precise geographic Centre of the British Isles. Historically the area suffered from widespread feuding and raiding from the Border Reivers and many buildings in the area were heavily fortified. Whie just behind the Market Square is Holy Cross Church, a fine example of early 13th century architecture with a Burne-Jones painted chancel roof and William Morris windows. The town also has a leisure centre and heated outdoor swimming pool in the summer months (Haltwhistle Partnership).


The bustling market town of Hexham is the regional centre of West Northumberland. It is situated in the Tyne Valley, 12 miles south east of Old High Shield Cottage. Among its historic buildings is Hexham Abbey, which dates from 674AD and was the seat of Saint Cuthbert. Markets are held in Hexham every Tuesday. It offers a variety of pubs and restaurants, the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre hosts a library and theatre, a museum of border history (Queen's Hall). A wide variety of shops are located in Hexham, including Waitrose, Tesco’s and Marks & Spencer with many offering online ordering and delivery services (Visit Hexham).



The area boasts a wide variety of walks ranging from long distance walks, such as the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail and the Pennine Way, to short circular routes. For example, the wall itself is only a short half mile walk away and from there walkers can take a short circular route around Cragg Lough. Burndivot Common provides the right to roam over 400 acres of wild remote countryside and is of special scientific interest (Hadrian's Wall Path).


Rock climbing

The cliffs of High Shield Craggs and Steel Rigg, among others, provide perfect bouldering opportunities on dry days for competent climbers.



Bird watching and wildlife

It is not uncommon to see curlews, swallows, owls and buzzards from Old High Shield Cottage. While Grindon Lough, situated two miles east, is a popular spot for bird photography. Also look out for deer, badgers and boxing hares during springtime (Visit Northumberland).

Kielder Water & Forest Park is also home to around 50 per cent of England’s native red squirrel population. While in 2009 three chicks were born to a record breaking osprey couple - the first birds for at least 200 years to successfully raise chicks in Northumberland. So far they have returned to breed every year since. You can also spot otters, roe deer badgers and bats.



There are numerous local, regional and national routes for cyclists (Sustrans). The Hadrian's Cycleway, National Route 72, runs from Ravenglass to South Shields via the Cumbrian Coast, Carlisle and Hexham. The Pennine Cycleway, National Route 68, runs from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed through Haltwhistle, Bellingham and Wooler.

If you would like to rent bicycles please feel free to contact us (contact details).



The Tyne river provides first class salmon and sea trout fishing. Day permits for visitors are available from many local fishing clubs (Northumberland fishing).


Further afield

Further afield, numerous attractions are within comfortable driving distance of Old High Shield Cottage. In Northumberland popular attractions include Alnwick Gardens, Bamburgh Castle, Belsay Hall and Gardens, Chester's Roman fort, Craggside, Lindisfarne Abbey and Wallington Hall. In Cumbria the Lake District and Carlisle Castle are well worth visiting. Similarly, Jedburgh Abbey and Hermitage Cottage in the Scottish Borders are impressive monuments to the medieval history of the borderlands. While Newcastle and Gateshead host popular cultural sites like the Sage Gateshead, the Baltic Gallery and the Empire Theatre.

For further information and attractions and things to do in the area visit the websites of Northumberland National Park and English Heritage.


Newcastle gateshead

Old High Shield Cottage - Self catered holiday cottage accommodation | ancora imparo

Bardon Mill, Northumberland, NE47 7AJ, UK | 0044 (0) 7714 257048 | enquiries@highshield.co.uk

Old High Shield, Northumberlsnd UK
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