Allendale, Northumberland

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Shield Street - - 1230205.jpg
Shield Street, Allendale Town
Allendale is located in Northumberland
Location within Northumberland
Population2,021 (2011)
OS grid referenceNY8355
Civil parish
  • Allendale
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townHEXHAM
Postcode districtNE47
Dialling code01434
AmbulanceNorth East
UK Parliament
List of places
54°53′46″N 2°15′25″W / 54.896°N 2.257°W / 54.896; -2.257Coordinates: 54°53′46″N 2°15′25″W / 54.896°N 2.257°W / 54.896; -2.257

Allendale, often marked on maps as Allendale Town, is a village and civil parish in south west Northumberland, England. It is located within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[1]

At the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 2,120,[2] decreasing to 2,021 at the 2011 Census.[3] Allendale is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty[4] (AONB); the second largest of the 40 AONB's 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 located around 11 miles (18 km) by road from the town of Hexham, and around 34 miles (55 km) from both Carlisle and Newcastle upon Tyne.


Guisers carry lighted tar barrels during the New Year fire festival, a tradition dating back to 1858.

Allendale refers to the "dale" or valley of the River Allen. 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 a concentration of bastles, around 40 can still be seen, many as scenic ruins.

Local mining for lead has occurred since Roman times, with the first smelting 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 19th 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 Allendale Brewery[5] and the Allenmills Regeneration Project.[6] In 1874 Allendale Co-operative Society was established.

In 1869, the Hexham and 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.[7]

Popularly held to be the town or dale that is referenced in Charles Jefferys' and Sidney Nelson's 1835 ballad The Rose of Allandale Rose of Allendale, published in the New York Mirror, and later sung by Paddy Reilly, The Dubliners and many others, it seems more likely that this song is either metaphorical or refers literally to the community on Allan Water in the Scottish Highlands at the beginning of the Firth of Forth. The explicit reference to Allendale, moreover, in 'Lucy Gray of Allendale', a musical setting of the earliest known work by Cumbrian poet Robert Anderson, manages to get the spelling of the town correctly.

New Year fire festival[edit]

The town's New Year celebrations involve lighted tar barrels that are carried on the heads of revellers called guisers. This tradition dates back so far that it is untraceable. It 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 easier 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.[8]


Allendale is in the parliamentary constituency of Hexham, Guy Opperman of the Conservative Party is the Member of Parliament.

Prior to Brexit, for the European Parliament its residents voted to elect MEP's for the North East England constituency.

For Local Government purposes it belongs to Northumberland County Council a unitary authority, with Allendale lying in the Tynedale Division.[9] Prior to the 2009 structural changes to local government in England it was part of Tynedale Council.

Allendale has its own Parish Council; Allendale Parish Council.[10]


The village hosts a health centre, village shop, Post Office, a store operated by Allendale Co-operative Society,[11] brewery, butchers, chemist, gift shop, tea-room, art-cafe, beauty and holistic healing centre, and several pubs.

Owing to its location, Allendale is a popular country holiday destination. There are a number of holiday cottages[12] in and around the village as well as a caravan park.[7]

The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi is housed in a cellar in the village.[13]

Public services[edit]

Anglican church of St. Cuthbert's in winter

Allendale hosts a scout group[14] and there is an active village hall[15] that hosts regular events. Allendale Library[16] is located at Dawson Place in the village square.

There is also a fire station within the town housing one fire appliance that is staffed by part-time firefighters

The local community is served both by the Anglican Church of St. Cuthbert's[17] and a Methodist chapel.



The nearest airports are Carlisle Lake District Airport and Newcastle International Airport, which are located around 29 and 32 miles (47 and 51 km) from the village by road respectively.


The village is served by Go North East's 688 bus service, which links Allenheads, Sinderhope and Allendale with Catton, Langley and Hexham.[18]


The nearest railway stations are located at Hexham and Haydon Bridge, both of which are on the Tyne Valley Line, which runs between Newcastle and Carlisle. From Hexham, three trains per hour run to Newcastle, with two trains per hour to Carlisle. A less regular service is provided at Haydon Bridge, with 19 trains per day to Newcastle and 17 trains per day to Carlisle.[19]


Allendale is located around 11 miles (18 km) by road from the town of Hexham, and 34 miles (55 km) from both Carlisle and Newcastle upon Tyne.


Allendale had a Primary School. Allendale Middle School was closed in July 2013 when two-tier education came into force in September that year. Allendale First School left their site on Shilburn Road and moved over to the previous middle school site on 6 November 2013 after a refurbishment.


Allen Valley Angling and Conservation[20] provides permits to fish the River East Allen and supports conservation efforts to improve fish stock and riverside access. The river is home to wild brown trout and visiting spawning sea trout and salmon.

Allendale Sports Club[21] operates senior and junior football clubs and other associated sports groups, including a local league netball team. It also has 4 full size tennis courts. The Allen Valley Striders[22] running club welcomes runners of all abilities, including novices, and is also based at the Allendale Sports Club.

Allendale Golf Club[23] was founded in 1906, and the scenic course and clubhouse are located south of the village with green fees offering both annual and easy per-round playing opportunities.

Allendale Cricket Club[24] fields two weekly teams and is affiliated with both the Northumberland Cricket Board and the West Tyne Senior Cricket League. The cricket ground is located just below the village on the riverside.

Each Spring, the Allendale Challenge[25] is a popular fell challenge walk. Organised by the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team the 25 miles (40 km) route covers some of the finest peat bogs in the North Pennines on an anti-clockwise loop from Allendale town.

There is a Bowling Green adjacent to the Village Hall which welcomes new members.


The village was the all-England winner of the Calor Village of The Year competition (2007).[26] The Calor Village of the Year competition is organised annually by Community Action Northumberland with sponsorship provided by LPG supplier Calor.[27]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ 10 of Britain’s most eccentric villages
  2. ^ "Area selected: Tynedale (Non-Metropolitan District) Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Home". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Allendale Brewery – Home". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012.
  6. ^ "The Mill – Allen Mill".
  7. ^ a b "Home".
  8. ^ Newell, The Allendale Fire Festival
  9. ^ "Northumberland County Council – Northumberland – UK".
  10. ^ "Allendale Parish Council".
  11. ^ "Home – Allendale Co‑operative Society Ltd".
  12. ^ "Accommodation". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  13. ^ Brown, Mark (6 January 2022). "The Doctor Who treasure trove in a Northumberland village cellar". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  14. ^ "scouthome". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  15. ^ "Allendale Village Hall". Allendale Village Hall. Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Northumberland County Council – Northumberland – UK".
  17. ^ "Home".
  18. ^ "688 - Allenheads - Allendale - Low Gate - Priestpopple - Hexham". Go North East. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Train times: Sunderland and Newcastle to Hexham and Carlisle" (PDF). Northern Trains. 14 September 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Allen Valley Angling & Conservation – Information and news about fly fishing and conservation efforts on the River East Allen, Northumberland, North East England".
  21. ^ "Allendale Sports Club". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  22. ^ "Welcome to our website".
  23. ^ "Allendale Golf Club".
  24. ^ "Allendale CC - Play-Cricket - About Us". Archived from the original on 11 June 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  25. ^ "North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team". Archived from the original on 13 March 2012.
  26. ^ "Overall Winner Revealed!". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  27. ^ "Stocksfield fights for national title". Hexham Courant. No. 13 March 2009. p. 7.

External links[edit]