You couldn’t wish for a better place to unwind. Heathergate Country Park nestles amid acres of beautiful parkland on the outskirts of the North Pennines and within five miles of the Northumberland Park. There are no bars, no clubs & no hassle just beautiful scenery, a natural setting and peaceful surroundings.
You could spend every visit simply relaxing on the Park. But there’s so much to see and do on you doorstep too! Picturesque Hexham is your nearest town (approximately 2 miles), voted Britain’s favourite market town by Country Life magazine, and winner of two categories in the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom competition. Its magnificent abbey was founded in 674AD and it is an interesting mix of historic buildings, enticing streets, lively independent shops and High Street retailers. The world famous Hadrian’s Wall is just 5 miles away, steeped in history and perfect for exploring and hiking.
You’ll enjoy meandering around Hexham, browsing bookshops and boutiques, and you might pick up a bargain at the antiques fair. There are also plenty of places to pick up your day to day necessities or perhaps something special.
A bit more about our beautiful town (Credit: visithexham.net)
An ancient Abbey, a Moothall and Old Gaol are just a few of the buildings which reveal Hexham’s history. Lying in the long shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and the Scottish border, the town has been witness over the centuries to a variety of extraordinary and sometimes bloody events.
Hexham Abbey (a former Priory) dominates the Market Place. Hexham’s Christian Heritage is closely linked to that of Lindisfarne, St. Cuthbert and St. Wilfrid.
A close look at some of the stones in the Saxon crypt will reveal that they have been recycled from Roman times, and there are many other historical treasures to explore both in the Abbey and its interactive exhibition, The Big Story, which brings to life the people and events that shaped the Abbey’s fascinating 1300 year history.
The Moothall , built in the 15th Century, stands tall across the Market Place. It once formed the gateway to the Archbishop of York’s buildings and provided the Court Rooms in which prisoners from the nearby Old Gaol were tried. Built in 1330 this is the first purpose built jail in England.
Nowadays, the Old Gaol provides an insight into the turbulent times of the Border skirmishes and the Border Reivers, a time when cattle rustling, guerilla fighting and clan feuds were rife.
In 1761 the Market Place was the scene of the Hexham Riot. A plaque in the pavement close to the Moothall is a reminder of this time of revolt.
By 1766 the town had settled into trading and the Shambles was constructed to provide a covered market. A verse by Wilfrid Gibson, Hexham’s 19th Century poet, decorates the old pant (water pump) and is a reminder that the Market Place has always been a place to meet.
A more modern building is the community-owned Forum Cinema, dating from 1937 and built on the site of the original Gem Palace which was built in 1910.
Many of Hexham’s street names match the industries which once flourished in this busy market town: Tanners Yard and Glovers Place were hives of activity, playing their part in the production of Hexham Tans (the softest of leather gloves). More details on Hexham’s leather heritage can be found here.
The Queen’s Hall is one of many fine Victorian buildings on Beaumont Street. It is now home to a library, theatre and art gallery, but was once the Town Hall and Corn Exchange.
Opposite the Queen’s Hall is the green heart of Hexham. The Sele has been a public space since 1753 and within the area known as the Abbey Grounds lies the Bandstand, a gift to the townspeople in 1912 from wool trader Henry Bell.
The town’s former horticultural centre is now the site of the Wentworth Leisure Centre and if you’ve travelled by train you will have travelled on one of the very first stretches of railway.
Hexham station marked its 175th birthday in 2013.
You won’t find identical towns here. Rather, each community has its own character and sense of place. Pretty well every village and town boasts some of the best scenery in the UK and offers access to top walking trails, cycling and other activities.
Haltwhistle an annual celebration of walking, Hexham a growing book event, Morpeth the Northumbrian gathering and Allendale the famous New Year’s Eve Tar Barrell parade, to name a few.
History, too, has played a significant role in shaping these northern towns and villages. Even without too much reading you can learn a lot from the local architecture, with each building or structure telling a story and often revealing a lot about a area’s history and character.
Explore the Berwick Walls, see Admiral Collingwood’s home in Morpeth, discover Lindisfarne Castle, modified by Edward Lutyens, walk around Floors Castle and Kelso Abbey and see Mary, Queen of Scot’s house in Jedburgh.
The main streets do carry some high street brand names, but have a good mix of local businesses that make shopping exciting and interesting. For example, Morpeth is home to Rutherfords, one of the few surviving family run department stores left, which has been at the heart of the town since 1846.
Hexham offers an old-world charm and has many interesting cafes and shops, including Cogito book shop. Not far from Hexham is Corbridge, one of the best shopping locations in Northumberland. Here you will discover some impressive art galleries and an array of independent shops.