This walk from Lambley Viaduct to Featherstone Castle is one of the most scenic and interesting sections of the Daft As A Brush trail.
You can do it either as a one-way trip along the east bank of the River South Tyne or, as I did, as a circular 4.5 mile route by coming back to the start point via the trackbed of the former Haltwhistle to Alston Branch Railway.
I parked at the small Coanwood Car Park.
Featherstone Castle (unless you walk back to Coanwood Car Park).
The trackbed of the Haltwhistle to Alston Branch Railway from Coanwood Car Park towards Lambley Viaduct now forms part of the South Tyne Trail.
Lambley Viaduct is a massive and spectacular piece of engineering for a relatively minor railway. It was built by the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway Company and opened in 1852 to complete the Haltwhistle to Alston branch line. Its main purpose was to transport lead, coal and limestone which were mined in the area but it also provided a passenger service until it closed down in 1976.
The viaduct’s architect was railway engineer Sir George Barclay-Bruce. It was built of sandstone and its 9 main arches and 7 smaller spans supported trains 105 feet above the River South Tyne. After some years of neglect, the viaduct was restored during 1995 and 1996.
You can walk across the viaduct and admire the far reaching views before descending a steep slope to cross back over the Tyne using this pedestrian bridge pictured here from the top of the viaduct looking down.
If you are lucky with the weather you can enjoy a lovely walk close to the river bank.
You will pass the site of Camp 18 where thousands of German Officer Prisoners of War were held from 1945-1948. The foundations of nissen hut blocks and a few brick buildings are all that remain. The POWs underwent a programme of denazification before being released and returned to Germany. The POWs produced their own newspaper, Die Zeit am Tyne.
The origins of Featherstone Castle go back a thousand years with many extensions and alterations over the centuries. It is not open to the public but parts of the property can apparently be rented out for weddings and functions. Given the castle’s great age it is not surprising to hear stories of it being haunted, especially on 17th January each year when a ghostly wedding party is said to make an appearance.
Please note I am not providing detailed maps or instructions of the route. You will find all that in Daft As A Brush’s book. You can buy a copy here with proceeds going to support the charity’s good works.
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