Helen Morris is one of the founders of The Stencil Library, a mail order stencil business based in Stocksfield in the Tyne Valley.
Writing, painting and photography are three interests that have now become part of her job.
Her second book about stencils has just been published and she writes a lifestyle blog called designinspiration. Outside work she sings, acts and enjoys her garden. Here, she shares her love of her adopted home county, Northumberland, along with some of its best kept secrets.
How long have you lived and worked in Northumberland?: Initially, I came here to train as a fashion buyer in 1978 and lived in the YWCA in Jesmond, Newcastle. I moved to ‘the country’ in 1996.
What is it about the county that appeals to you?: Northumberland is diverse, dramatic, beautiful and underpopulated.
What’s your favourite Northumberland beauty spot?: Newton Beach in winter, my garden in summer, the Cambo and Kirkharle area in spring and the Tarset to Kielder area in autumn.
Tell us about your favourite view/walk/cycle route/town/nightspot?: There are stunning views all over the county; the A68 from the Durham border to Carter Bar is full of them. I enjoy the walk from Howick Hall gardens along the cliffs to Craster. My fave nightspot is the Northumberland lights events or the Enchanted Park at Saltwell. Both are beautiful and take place at night in winter.
The list of places to visit is endless. But some are more special than others. A trip to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without….: Herterton House Gardens near Cambo; the beach – currently I’m enjoying North Sunderland along to Bamburgh; big chunks of Hexhamshire to Alston and Corbridge and Simonburn. My guests love Bywell on Tyne with its two tiny churches five minutes walk from my home. It’s special.
Is locally produced Northumbrian food the best?: We have some wonderful local cheeses and ice cream. The apples and berries in my garden definitely are the best. The Bywell salmon is fab and there is even a chilli farm in Northumberland.
Do you have a preferred place to eat out in the county and why?: I enjoy taking the train from Stocksfield to The Valley Indian restaurant in Corbridge. It’s almost a door to door service. The area surrounding Stocksfield has a few renowned pub restaurants. I had a lovely meal at the Duke of Wellington at Newton recently and would return. Otherwise I like picnics
Northumbrians are renowned for the warm welcome they offer holidaymakers and day trippers alike. What do you think is the secret ingredient for this friendliness?: Knowing we still have it when they’ve gone home. Actually I have no idea ….is it the beer?
Coast or country?Country
Your favourite historical site? Bywell on Tyne; those twin churches again
And the best road to take a leisurely and scenic drive along? The Roman road between Corbridge and Greenhead stopping at Vindolanda or Housesteads,
What would be your perfect day out in Northumberland? One that involves fair-weather, photogenic scenery, good food and company that appreciates the beauty of our county.
Category: Northumberland Best Kept Secrets