Allendale is south-west of Hexham, on the river East Allen.
A beautiful country village, with a reasonably easy walk of approximately 4 miles by a small river. The village has small shops, cafes and pubs.
The route is not disabled friendly, but should be safe and suitable for all sizes of dogs.
Postcode for Satnav - NE47 9AZ - This is the post code for Allendale town centre.
The A68 runs from Carlisle to Newcastle. Turn south off the A68 at Haydon Bridge, onto the A686 signposted 'Alston' and 'Allendale'. Follow this road for about 3 miles, then take a left hand turn onto the B6295 for Allendale. Follow this road over a staggered junction and through Catton Village, until you reach Allendale Town. You should find plenty parking places in the town centre.
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Assuming you park in the middle of Allendale, take the road going down hill, behind the Allendale Forge Studio. This road, called The Peth, runs down to the river Allen. The pavement on the right runs past two garages on a corner, then at the end of a low wall, you will see a footpath that takes you down to the river. Follow this path down and along to a ruin that stands near one of the entrances to the Blackett Level. A little further along, you will find a carving of a wolf in a clearing. Follow the path along the river bank, beside a field, for maybe one mile.
Now you come to a roadway, but you cross right over it and follow the road beyond it, that runs behind Allendale Sports Centre.
The road narrows after a bit, and becomes a track,
then continues as a pathway, with views of the river.
The path eventually seems to peter out, though it is marked on a map as going further. It is possible to cross the river on a narrow footbridge here, so there may be a few options for extending the walk.
However we decided to run back and retrace our steps, except that this time we took paths than ran beside the river.
Reaching the Blackett Level entrace again we checked out the viewing platform that gives a sight of the waterfall.
We then decided to return by Deneholm Wood, which initially involved a steep uphill climb.
This route is not realy ideal for dogs, as it takes you to the edge of Allendale, and then you have a long, roadside walk back to the centre. However if you try it, the path runs along a ridge above a burn,
then exits behind a house, over another style.
Now you turn right and follow the road past the school into town.
Allendale, the valley of the East Allen, has two settlements, Allen Heads and Allendale Town. Allendale Town was once a small market town serving the area, but it grew rapidly in the 17th century when lead mining took off. Most of the pretty stone houses in the town date from the boom time for mining, in the late 1700s and early 1800s. However lead prices collapsed and most of the mines closed, and so the town remains as it is today.
The Blackett Level was constructed at the end of the lead mining era. The idea was to drain water from the mines up the valley in Allen Heads by driving a tunnel down towards Allendale. Several shafts were sunk, and miners dug tunnels in both directions from the shaft bottoms to join up into one continuous tunnel. The level was never completed as the lead price dropped, but 5 miles of tunnel were completed at a cost of about £13 million in today's money.
Allendale Town does have an unusual new year's eve celebration, called the Baal festival, which may originally have been a pagan celebration for the winter solstice. Local men dress up in costume, then parade through the town carrying blazing barrels of tar on their heads. Carefully. When the guisers, as they are called, reach the market place, they throw their barrels onto a huge bonfire, then dance around it to welcome the return of the sun.
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