Places of Interest
Hadrian’s Wall passes less than a mile north of Abbey Bridge and has influenced the area for nearly 1900 years. The Wall is one of the most important monuments built by the Roman’s in Britain and stands today as a reminder of the past glories of one of the world’s greatest empires.
In 122AD the Emperor Hadrian came to Britain and ordered the construction of the Wall that now bears his name. Hadrian’s Wall runs from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway a total of 73 miles and it is believed to have been for border control rather than an impenetrable barrier.
There is little evidence of the Wall to the west of Lanercost other than the earthworks, but two miles east of Abbey Bridge, at Banks, the first remains of the western section of the Wall are visible and at Birdoswald Fort a few miles further on there is a museum and exhibition centre.
Nowadays the Wall has a long distance footpath running alongside and has become one of the most popular holiday walks in Britain with outstanding scenery mixed with an intriguing historical past.
Abbey Bridge is well placed as a convenient overnight stop for walkers. Alternatively stay a few nights based at Lanercost to walk the western end of the Wall using the Hadrian’s Wall bus at the beginning and end of the day.
Two hundred and fifty meters from Abbey Bridge, in this stunning, largely undiscovered valley, stands the beautiful Church and ancient ruins of Lanercost Priory founded in 1166 by Henry II.
For six months just before his death in 1307, Edward 1 ‘The Hammer of the Scotts’ ruled England from this Augustinian monastery. Henry VIII disolved the monastries in 1536. The building was given to Thomas Dacre who converted some of the building into private residence (now called Dacre Hall). The remaining buildings fell into disrepair. With its centuries of history, this is a fascinating place to spend an hour or two.
The Priory Church restored about 1740 is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene and is well worth a visit and next door there is an English Heritage visitor centre through which access can be gained to the ruins. Weddings are held in the church throughout the year and Abbey Bridge is perfectly located if you need to stay overnight.
The Dacre Hall is now Lanercost’s village hall and believed to the oldest in the country. Donated to the village by the Howard family recently discoved wall paintings can be viewed by arrangement.
The small attractive market town of Brampton is two miles from Abbey Bridge. There is a selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants and there is a post office, Tourist Information Centre and two banks in the town.
The town was founded in the 7th century AD as an Anglian settlement. During the 1745 Jacobite Rising, the Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed in the town for one night, marked by a plaque on the wall of the building (a shoe shop) currently occupying the location; here he received the Mayor of Carlisle who had ridden to Brampton to surrender the city to the Young Pretender.
The Capon Tree Monument outside the town centre was the scene of the 1746 hanging of six of Bonnie Prince Charlie's supporters.
In 1817 the Earl of Carlisle, built the octagonal Moot Hall, which is in the centre of Brampton and houses the Tourist Information Centre. It replaced a 1648 building which was once used by Oliver Cromwell to house prisoners.
Much of Brampton consists of historic buildings built of the local red sandstone.
Talkin Tarn Country Park, 5 minutes from Abbey Bridge, nestles in a 165 acre site, containing a glacial tarn surrounded by mature woodland and gentle meadows with the stunning Pennine Hills as a backdrop.
The Tarn has traditionally been used for recreation since at least the middle of the 1800s. It was a popular destination for Victorians from Brampton and Carlisle and accessed by train from the North East. The wrestling ring, bathing house and boathouses, which existed then, were all well used.
The boathouse has been recently renovated to incoporate the Tearoom and Giftshop. The whole building has full disabled access including a lift.
The Tarn has a 1.3 mile circular path that is ideal for a gentle stroll. This path is hard surfaced and accessible to all.
Carlisle, the Border City, is the main shopping, commercial, industrial and administrative centre of Cumbria. The Roman’s built a settlement here to service the forts on Hadrian’s Wall. The Castle dates back to 1122 and for many years the Scots and English fought over the town. The castle was also a temporary “residence” for Mary Queen of Scots during her imprisonment in England.
As you would expect from a major city with a cathedral, castle, acclaimed museum, shops, cinema and nightclubs any visitor should find plenty to see and do in Carlisle. For rail enthusiasts Carlisle is the terminus for the world famous Carlisle to Settle line.
The Lake District, arguably the most beautiful area of England will need no describing. With its stunning scenery, superb walking, sailing and other out door pursuits, it is one of the top holiday areas in the British Isles. Ullswater and Keswick are an easy forty-five minute drive away.
This is one of England’s hidden gems. Overshadowed by the nearby Lake District this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is less frequently visited and consequently more peaceful and less “touristy”.
The North Pennines is a stunning landscape of open heather moors and peat lands, attractive dales and hay meadows, tumbling upland rivers and wonderful woods. With an interesting mining and industrial past, a day trip across the Pennines is a rewarding experience.
Alston the highest market town in England is only a 30 minutes drive up the South Tyne valley from Abbey Bridge.
The Scottish Border counties give amazing variety. From the rolling Cheviot Hills of the Southern Uplands to gentle farm-land and pretty coastal villages of Dumfriesshire, from the Blacksmith’s Shop at the eloper’s village of Gretna Green to the poetry of Rabbie Burns, all are well within a pleasant drive.