The Derwent Valley, one of the Durham Dales, is sometimes an overlooked corner of the North Pennines – but if you venture into its hidden depths you won’t be disappointed!
The small village of Blanchland with its honey-coloured cottages, is perhaps the most attractive settlement in the whole of the North Pennines. Blanchland means the ‘white lands’ – almost certainly a reference to the white habits of the Premonstratensian canons of the old Blanchland Abbey. Today the village, abbey and surrounding countryside are well worth a visit.
Downstream from Blanchland the flow of the River Derwent is interrupted by the three mile long Derwent Reservoir. It was built in 1967 and is the second largest reservoir in Northumberland. There is a choice of three excellent picnic sites on the bank of the reservoir – with trails (including new easy access paths), bird hides, nature reserves and fishing opportunities to entice you to stay a while longer.
Places to visit, things to do
Visit the Explore Blanchland & the Upper Derwent portal to discover the amazing range of activities available across the AONB. At the heart of this site is an interactive map which will allow you to search by activity, interest and location.
Blanchland – former Abbey and attractive village. Don’t miss the new easy access path, created by the AONB Partnership, in Blanchland. Visit the recently restored Shildon Engine House.
Derwent Reservoir – second largest man-made lake in Northumberland. There is an easy access path, created by the AONB Partnership and Northumbrian Water, from Pow Hill Country Park to the dam and then along the North shore as far as Millshields.
Pow Hill Country Park – on the south shore of Derwent Reservoir between Blanchland and Edmundbyers.
Visit Northumberland – Discover things to do throughout Northumberland, all types of accommodation, where to eat, special offers and itineraries.
This is Durham – Durham Tourist Information – Find things to do in Durham City and County, hotels and accommodation, what’s on, restaurants, special offers and itineraries.
Tanfield Railway – 07508 092365 – Working steam railway – see the world’s oldest surviving railway bridge, Causey Arch.
Beamish – the Living Museum of the North – 0191 3704000 – world famous open air museum, telling the story of life in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s.
Hexham Abbey – 01434 602031 – abbey, the Priory and Parish Church of St. Andrew. Also gift shop, café and exhibitions.
Hexham Old Gaol – 0670 624523 – Step into the oldest purpose-built prison in England. Descend into the dungeon, peer into the gloom and imagine confinement in the dark awaiting trial in the nearby Moothall.