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South Tynedale

The River South Tyne begins its journey eastwards to the North Sea high on Cross Fell, the highest hill in the Pennine chain. It works its way through South Tynedale, growing in stature to Hexham where it joins the North Tyne to form the River Tyne. The area covered in this section is from west of Hexham to Alston (which is just inside Cumbria). It goes as far north as Hadrian’s Wall and southwest form Hexham to Alston.

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The River South Tyne is a wide, shallow, beautiful river and as you progress upstream South Tynedale begins to close in around its river. From the confluence the first village is Haydon Bridge. Here the river is very wide and shallow and in the autumn salmon and sea trout can be seen leaping out of the water. Heading west the River Allen flows into the River South Tyne and Allen Banks can be easily accessed. Continuing further west the river runs through farmland which rises increasingly more steeply until Haltwhistle where the river turns south. Haltwhistle is a pleasant small town with an attractive centre. Progressing south the countryside because hillier and the river shallower. The first feature is the impressive Featherstone Castle set into the hillside on a rare stretch of flat ground. A sort distance further upstream is the Lambley Viaduct – a magnificent high, multi-arched structure carrying the now defunct railway high above the River South Tyne.

The South Tyne Trail crosses the viaduct - from the high elevation there are splendid views of the River South Tyne wandering through its dale. From here on to Alston you pass through glorious North Pennine scenery. Alston is a charming market town with a very steep market street and square and the claim to be England’s highest market town. At the bottom of the town is the narrow gauge railway. Whether you are an enthusiast of preservation railways or not you cannot deny the stunning beauty of the ride.

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