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Coordinates: 54°53′46″N 2°15′23″W / 54.8961°N 2.2565°W / 54.8961; -2.2565

Allendale is located in Northumberland

 Allendale shown within Northumberland
Population 2,120 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid reference NY835557
Unitary authority Northumberland
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HEXHAM
Postcode district NE47
Dialling code 01434
Police Northumbria
Fire Northumberland
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament Hexham
List of places: UK • England • Northumberland

Allendale (or Allendale Town as it is often marked on maps) is a large village in south west Northumberland, England. Allendale is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - the second largest of the 40 AONBs in England and Wales. The local economy is predominantly based on agriculture (notably sheep farming) and tourism, although of late it has become a popular commuter town for Newcastle upon Tyne.



Allendale is said to derive from the Saxon word for 'white (or shining) water' and refers to the River Allen that gives its name to the valley. Evidence of prehistoric settlement has been found on the surrounding moorland. In the 16th century this area, close to the Scottish border, was a lawless and troubled place. Fortified farmhouses known as 'bastles' were constructed to protect residents and livestock against reiver raids. Allendale has one of the greatest concentrations of bastles in the country and around 40 can still be seen, many as scenic ruins.

Local mining for lead has occurred since Roman times, with the first smelt mill being constructed in the 1600s. The significant growth of Allendale Town and the surrounding villages was fuelled by that of the local lead-mining and smelting industries in the nineteenth century. The remains of two flues from the former smelting mill (between Allendale and Catton) run to chimneys up on the fells high above the village. The smelting mill is now home to the Brewery and the Allenmills Regeneration Project.

In 1869, the Hexham to Allendale railway was opened to provide improved transport, but its opening coincided with a rapid decline in the industry due to cheap imports of lead. The last mines in the area closed in 1894 (although an attempt was made to re-open the mine at Allenheads in the 1970s).

With the closure of the lead mines, the population rapidly declined and Allendale became a popular tourist destination for Edwardian Tynesiders seeking a country escape. The railway was finally closed to passengers in 1930 and to goods in 1950 (when the local terminus was bought by the stationmaster and opened as a caravan park.

The town is famous for a New Year celebration where lighted tar barrels are carried on the heads of revellers called "guisers". This tradition dates back to 1858. Its appears to have originated from the lighting of a silver band that were carolling at New Year. They were unable to use candles to light their music due to the strong winds, so someone suggested a tar barrel be used. Having to move from place to place, it would have been easiest to carry the barrels upon the guisers heads, rather than rolling them. There have been claims that it is a pagan festival, however, these claims are unfounded.[2]


Allendale, Northumberland is in the parliamentary constituency of Hexham.


The village hosts a health centre, village shop, Post Office, Co-Op store, brewery, butchers, church, chapel, chemist, gift shop, tea-room, art-cafe, library, caravan park and several pubs (including The Kings Headand The Hare and Hounds Inn.

Owing to its location, Allendale is a popular country-holiday destination. There are a number of holiday cottages in and around the village, including Ingleby, as well as an award-winning Caravan Park (holiday static caravans).

Public services

Allendale hosts a scout group. There is an active village hall which hosts regular events.


Allendale is located 10 miles from the A69 at Hexham. The village is served by regular bus services to Allenheads, Hexham and Haydon Bridge as well as by a local taxi & bus operator. The nearest railway stations are at Hexham and Haydon Bridge, on the Carlisle-Newcastle line.


Allendale has a thriving and friendly First School and a Middle School.


Allendale Golf Club was founded in 1906, and the scenic golf course is located south of the village.


The village was the all-England winner of the Calor Village of The Year competition (2007). The Calor Village of the Year competition is organised annually by Community Action Northumberland (CAN) with sponsorship provided by LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) supplier Calor.[3]

The Co-Op was named "North-East Rural Retailer of the Year".

Allendale Caravan Park holds a Gold David Bellamy Award and was awarded a Special Award for Conservation, one of only 14 in England.

Notable people

The poet Philip Larkin and Monica Jones used to attend the 'Tar barrel' celebrations in Allendale, when they were staying at Monica's cottage in Haydon Bridge; they were certainly there in 1966 and again in 1970 and 1976. Larkin was, rather uncharacteristically, thrilled by it all.

Allendale was the home town of sculptor Charles Sansbury until his death in 1989.[4]

See also

The parish around Allendale has two particularly useful websites: the Allen Valleys Community website and the Allen Valleys touristic website.


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics: Neighbourhood Statistics
  2. ^ Newell, The Allendale Fire Festival
  3. ^ "Stocksfield fights for national title". Hexham Courant (13th March 2009): page 7.  
  4. ^ Charles Sansbury: SculptorRetrieved 14th November 2008

External links



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