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December 2017: A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December

Thomas Hardy’s celebration of Christmas in Dorset in his early novel Under the Greenwood Tree is perhaps second only to A Christmas Carol (a version ...More
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Cheviot Hills, Borders | Northumberland

Cheviot Hills
The Cheviot Hills, or the Cheviots as they are sometimes referred to, are a range of rolling hills on the border of England and Scotland. They derive their name from the highest peak in the range, The Cheviot, which stands at 2,674 ft (815 m). Cairn Hill is next highest followed by the peaks at Hedgehope Hill, Comb Fell, Windy Gyle, Cushat Law, Bloodybush Edge and The Schill. All of this group exceed 600 metres in height.

The Cheviots are mainly a Devonian granite outcrop with andesite lava flows either side. Carboniferous limestone makes up the surrounding lower ground. The English portion of the Cheviot Hills lies within the Northumberland National Park.

The range marks the northernmost point of the Pennine Way and the final leg, from Byrness to Kirk Yetholm , is the longest and most exposed of the entire route. Here the Pennine Way follows the border between England and Scotland for almost 30 miles as it skirts along the high level Border Ridge. Two mountain huts are sited on this route, testimony to just how hard the going is here.

The range offers the visitor a wealth of sightseeing and activities. 'Happy Valley' is a popular beauty spot situated in Harthope Valley . Here the stream, or 'burn', trickles along the valley floor and the higher ground offers picturesque vistas. At Beamish Valley there is ample car parking and picnic sites, making the valley a popular destination. There is an information centre there that provides information on the history and wildlife of the valley.

The jewel of the area, apart from its natural beauty, must be the wonderful North of England Open Air Museum . This is near the town of Stanley and aims to illustrate life in urbanised North East England at the climax of industrialisation in the early 20th century. The museum really is a treat and is laid out as a town with a railway station, a mine, a farm and a village. It is replete with original and replica buildings, a huge collection of artefacts, working vehicles and equipment, costumed interpreters and livestock. The effect is such that you can't help but feel transported back in time. A typical North Eastern Railway station of the era has been reconstructed on the edge of the town. The station building itself came from Rowley just a few miles from Beamish , along with a signal box from Carr House East, near Consett , a goods shed from Alnwick and coal drops from West Boldon.

More British Natural features?

Other Borders Naturals

River Tyne
River Tweed
St Abbs Head
Pentland Hills
The Southern Uplands

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Deadly Storm Changes UK Coastline - 1287, Glasgow Subway Opens - 1896, Women Can Vote in General Election - 1918, The Clash Release London Calling - 1979
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