Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids, and the Perseid Meteor Shower is one of the most dramatic with up to 80 meteors visible per hour. The Northumberland National Park enjoys a “Dark Skies” status and can be enjoyed at Layside where we aim to keep light pollution to a minimum. Looking to the north with Sycamore Gap as a backdrop, August 13th/14th should be the best time to view the Perseid Meteor Shower (ideally between 11.00pm and 3.00am which are the darkest times of the night). Unfortunately having recently enjoyed great weather and clear skies, it is forecast to be overcast and raining, so perhaps we won’t be so lucky this year…
The local market town of Hexham holds a Spring Festival every year – to be held this year on Saturday 28th April in the beautiful Abbey grounds. Organised by the Hexham Community Partnership, this family-friendly outdoor event will feature live music, food and craft stalls, dog agility and a falconry display.
Closer to Layside, the Sill will be holding it’s first Spring Fair on Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th May. Starting at 1000, traders from all over Northumberland will be selling delicious cheese, preserves, chutneys, beer, spirits and unique crafts. There will also be entertainments and a host of activities for all the family to enjoy!
The charity “Birdlife International” put the curlew on its global “birds at risk” list for the first time in 2008. At Layside we are lucky enough to welcome the humble bird as it returns to the National Park every year to begin nesting and courting on the rough pasture. It is in fact one of the first signs of spring, and after a long winter it is fantastic to hear its distinctive call. More birds have arrived this week, hopefully indicating the end of winter! The natural historian George Bolam quoted: “A moor without a curlew is like a night without a moon, and he who has not eyes for one and an ear for the other is a mere body without a soul”. This bird which is once heard, never forgotten, is the emblem of the Northumberland National Park, and is celebrated by the local Allendale Brewery – the “Curlew’s Return” being the first beer brewed on St Valentine’s Day 2006 – and both can be enjoyed at Layside!
Haltwhistle is a small town in Tynedale, Northumberland, approximately 10 minutes drive from Layside. Walking festivals are organised by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who wish to share their love of the local area with others. All walks are guided by trained leaders who aim to provide interesting routes and good information about the area in a friendly and sociable atmosphere. The Spring Walking Festival runs from April 28th to May 7th, and there will be 24 guided walks over the 10 day period as well as 2 evening events.
For a full list of events and for bookings, please visit:
We are currently snowed in at Layside with 3-4ft of drifting snow in places, however Northumberland National Park still looks stunning. On the menu tonight is one of our featured “stew for two” evening meals – a pigs cheek and chorizo casserole, hot from the aga, served with warm crusty bread. It’s not all doom and gloom!!
The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed near Bardon Mill opened its doors in July last year following an extensive £14.8m construction project, and has now been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
The area’s newest major visitor attraction is in the running for one of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) awards for planning excellence – an award which celebrates exceptional examples of planning.
Tony Gates, chief executive of the Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted among the outstanding projects in the heritage and culture category.”
Just a short distance from Layside, The Sill is a “must visit” attraction. Whether it be to view the permanent interactive exhibition which brings our landscape to life, or simply just to enjoy the spectacular views and wildflowers from the grassland roof, it is the perfect place to begin your Northumberland adventure!
Voted England’s Tree of the Year in December 2016, the Sycamore Gap tree is now believed to be one of the most photographed trees in the country. At Layside, we are lucky enough to be able to see this tree from the door and watch how the scenery around it changes with the seasons. Hobby photographer Paul Stainthorpe has recorded this incredible landscape and the Sycamore Gap tree as the seasons have changed in a year long project, and has managed to capture all the changing moods of this stunning landmark.
Northumberland has been voted the best UK destination to land a top travel award. The county beat the likes of Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands, Yorkshire and the Lake District to take the gong in the Reader Travel Awards 2018, organised by Wanderlust travel magazine.
The magazine says that its awards scheme is ‘always highly anticipated, as we have the best-travelled readers around and as the results are based on a satisfaction rating rather than on sheer numbers’.
In the top UK destination category, Northumberland won with a score of 95 per cent, followed by the Scottish Highlands (94.67%) and Dartmoor (94.4%). The rest of the top 10 was: Pembrokeshire 94.29%; Lake District 93.98%; Edinburgh 93.77%; Yorkshire 92.78%; Cornwall 91.02%; New Forest 90.32%; Peak District 90%.
The awards citation reads: ‘With one national park, two areas of outstanding national beauty and one triangular chunk of impressive landscapes, it’s hardly a surprise you think Northumberland is the best bit of Britain. ‘Combining dune-fringed beaches, high moorland, sweeping valleys and spectacular history, it’s no wonder this Scotland-nudging land is touted as one of the UK’s last great wildernesses – and your favourite.
‘It has everything – 2,000-year-old history along Hadrian’s Wall, walking routes webbing its rugged interior, and dark sky status – meaning you’ll enjoy looking at another otherworldly canvas after dark.’ The results of the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards are based on travel experiences between December 2016 and November 2017. For each main category, readers – more than 2,000 of them responded – were asked to list up to four entries and score each one based on their own merits, of which an average was calculated and converted into a percentage.
Coco Charity team up with North East Guides for a Walk the Wall challenge taking place on Sunday 29th April. To take part in any of the three challenges, visit http://www.coco.org.uk or contact email@example.com.
There are three challenges available, differing in length so you can pick a distance to suit you, and all start and finish points are easily accessible from Layside should you wish to relax with us before or after the event!
Challenge 1: Walltown Quarry to Chollerford – the full 17.5 miles.
Challenge 2: Walltown Quarry to Housesteads roman Fort – approx 8.5-9 miles.
Challenge 3: steel Rigg to Housesteads Roman Fort – 4 miles.
Hadrian’s Wall is set to receive a cash boost of £10,000 to reflect its economic, cultural and social importance. Northumberland County Council co-ordinates the management of the UNESCO World Heritage Site on behalf of six other local authorities along the length of the Wall, and is keen to increase its annual contribution to help maximise the potential of Hadrian’s Wall.