Lots to explore
Alston Moor, high up in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Global Geopark (AONB) is well worth a closer look. The market town, reputedly the highest market town in England, has a wealth of independent shops, cafés, pubs and hotels to explore. Pick up your free map and follow one of the guided routes around town; there are cobbled streets, traditional shop fronts and a lovely riverside walk to take a look at.
Further afield are the villages of Garrigill and Nenthead and just over the border into Northumberland you’ll find Slaggyford, currently the end of our line. Head over to Garrigill to walk up to the source of the South Tyne or explore Ashgill Force, and at Nenthead don’t forget to book onto a Nenthead Mine tour and visit The Hive with its art gallery, café and shop full of locally produced gifts.
Head towards Slaggyford and you’ll encounter Epiacum, ‘the most significant archeological monument in the region’ Stewart Ainsworth Time Team.
Alston is a Walkers are Welcome town and there are many self guided trails to follow too – pick up a walks leaflet on sale in the ticket office. And if you want to explore by bicycle the C2C passes through and the South Tyne Trail is a lovely level access route linking up to the Hadrian cycleway.
Alston sits at the crossroads of five roads and it’s easy to reach the market towns of Penrith in the North Lakes, Hexham in Northumberland, the hsitoric city of Carlisle in Cumbria or head into the lesser know dales of Weardale and Teesdale and explore their picturesque villages and breathtaking waterfalls. The North Pennines AONB is known for its tranquility and amazing views and Explore North Pennines will give you lots of information on where to go, what to do and what to see.
The Hub Museum is housed in the former railway goods shed, which is the large grey stone building located on the opposite side of the road to Alston railway station. It contains a selection of local transport and household exhibits along with historic photographs, posters and memorabilia of the local area, illustrating life in the ‘good old days’.
The Hub Museum is well worth a visit and usually open on our train operating days – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 11.00 am and 4.00 pm, and is managed by the Alston Goods Shed Trust, which was set up by local business people. Admission is by donation and annual membership to the Alston Goods Shed Trust costs £5.00.
For further information – contact the The Alston Goods Shed Trust, Alston, CA9 3HN, by telephone on 01434 382272, 01434 381609 or 01434 672306.
From Alston Station you can walk along the South Tyne Trail, or if you are feeling more adventurous take a walk into the town and follow circular walks either along the River South Tyne down to Garrigill, a round trip approximately 8 miles, or alternatively follow the River Nent via Blagill and the waterfalls a round trip approximately 4 miles or even continue all the way to Nenthead.
Walks from Kirkhaugh – On a fine day there is nothing nicer than getting the first train to Kirkhaugh and following one of the waymarked routes from the station with a stop en-route for a picnic.
Walks from the station start from under a mile down to the river and the picturesque church at Kirkhaugh; include the possibility of following the Pennine Way to Slaggyford returning via the South Tyne Trail (approx 5 miles); or following the Pennine Way south from the station to the site of the Roman fort at Whitley Castle sitting astride the “Maiden Way”.
Visit the Walkers are Welcome Website at http://walkalstonmoor.com/
An arts and visitor centre, housed in a restored Wesleyan Chapel in the centre of the village of Nenthead, reputedly the highest village in England. The gallery hosts exhibitions and there is a cafe with locally made arts and crafts on sale too. It’s a great base from which to explore a village steeped in lead mining history.
Learn more about the lead mining past of the village of Nenthead and life as a miner with a trip down Carrs Mine and a visit to Brewery Shaft 100 metres deep!
Full details of their regular open days and how to book are here.
Epiacum – ‘The most significant archaeological monument in the region’ Stewart Ainsworth Time Team.
Situated on the working Castle Nook and Whitlow Farm, Epicaum is easily accessed from the A689 Alston to Brampton Road. There are two walks trails leaflets (summertime only) and two digital walks you can download to your phone. Find out more at Epiacum Heritage.
A further seven miles along the A689 is Killhope North of England Lead Mining Centre. Killhope is a restored nineteenth century Victorian lead mine which provides a fun and educational day out, learning about the life and work of the lead mining families of the Pennine dales.
Visitors can enjoy a visit to the lead mining museum and explore the underground mine by guided tours, visit the shop and cafe, or explore the woodland walks around the area. Various special events are held throughout the year between April and October.
For further information see the website at www.killhope.org.uk, write to Killhope North of England Lead Mining Museum, Killhope, near Cowshill, Upper Weardale, County Durham, DL13 1AR, telephone 01388 537505 or E-mail: email@example.com