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Ford and Etal

Wooler

Wooler Northumberland Travel and Tourism Information

Panoramic view of Wooler © visitnorthumberland.com

Wooler © visitnorthumberland.com

Huddled in the foothills of the Cheviots is Wooler. Perched high above Wooler Water, this stone built town is known as the Gateway to the Cheviots. Indeed, it’s the ideal place from which to explore both Glendale and the wider Northumberland National Park.

Only six miles from Cheviot (the highest hill in the range at 2,674ft/815m), Wooler is the only market town in Glendale and stands in one of Northumberland’s most picturesque locations with its rolling hills, tranquil valleys and tumbling streams and rivers.

But the area hasn’t always been as peaceful as it looks today. Just six miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Wooler has over the centuries been at the centre of English-Scottish rivalries.

In 1402 nearby Humbleton Hill was the scene of a bloody battle. Known as Homildon Hill, the Scots under the command of Archibald, Earl of Douglas, had invaded England on a pillaging expedition. On their way back north to the border, however, they were intercepted by Sir Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, and roundly beaten.

This battle was later to be immortalised in Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

“Here is a dear, a true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse.
Stain’d with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited:
Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights,
Balk’d in their own blood did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon’s plains. Of prisoners, Hotspur took

Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas; and the Earl of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith:
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?”

Flodden Field © shutterstock.com

It is thanks to Shakespeare that the legend of Harry Hostpur was born. Just over a century later the infamous Battle of Flodden, or Flodden Field, was fought at nearby Branxton between a Scottish army led by King James IV and the English under the command of the Earl of Surrey.

It was to end in an English victory and go down in history as the largest battle – in terms of numbers – fought between the two nations. King James was to lose his life along with around 10,000 fellow Scots from an army of 25,000. By comparison the smaller English army at 20,000 lost 1,700 men.

Today, a large granite cross marks the site of the battle. It is simply inscribed: “To the brave of both nations”. Nowadays, Wooler is a magnet not for invading armies but walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts who use the town with its wide range of accommodation, shops and cafes, as a base for exploring the Cheviots and further afield.

There is plenty to do for people of all ages and abilities in the area from fishing on the rivers Till and Tweed to walking, mountain biking, exploring the many hill forts, rock carvings and Iron and Bronze Age settlements, gliding, golfing and horse riding.The model villages of Ford and Etal are just a few minutes’ drive away with their working mill, light railway, castle, pub and nature reserve.

The long distance Pennine Cycleway and the St Cuthbert’s Way walk runs through the wider area while the Northumberland coast – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Alnwick with its magnificent castle and garden and Berwick are all close by.

Every summer Wooler also plays host to both the Glendale Festival and the Glendale Show, the latter bringing town and country together with a rich mix of agricultural classes, trade stands, a speciality food tent, horticultural and industrial classes and daredevil main ring attractions.

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Where is Wooler?:

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Mountain biking around Wooler © visitnorthumberland.com