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Northern England
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Northumberland and Cheviot Hills

Northumberland is the northernmost county in England. It is a region of strongly contrasting landscapes from the eastern coastal plain to the sparsely populated, rugged hills and moors of the west and the densely populated urban and industrial areas, of the coalfield and the River Tyne's valley to the south. The Cheviot Hills stand 1,000-2,500 feet (300-760 m) high and , form the English-Scottish border between southern Scotland and Cumbria. The county is famed for its wild exposed scenery. Half the area is mountain and moorland with large areas, notably Kielder, Wark, and Redesdale forests, taken over by the British Forestry Commission. There is evidence of prehistoric settlement in the area before the period of Roman domination began in AD 122, when Hadrian's Wall from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth was constructed.

Cheviot Hills
The Cheviot Hills tract of highland follows for more than 30 miles by the boundary between England and Scotland. In the east a great pile of ancient volcanic rocks rises to 2,676 ft (816 m) in Cheviot Hill. The hills are steep but smoothly rounded; they are dissected by deep glens almost deserted except for a few shepherds' cottages. Evidence of prehistoric occupation is widespread. Farther west lower hills of shale and sandstone, heavily coated with glacial drift, form peaty moorlands that have been extensively forested since World War II. The land controlled by the Forestry Commission became a National Forest Park in 1955, and an even larger area was designated as the Northumberland National Park.


The green hills of Northumberland



A small farm in northern England



This rock near the summit of Cheviot Hills marks the border between England and Scotland.
I was particularly interested in this area because I live in the Cheviot Hills section of
Los Angeles, California



Sheep grazing the windy and wild Cheviot Hills


York Minster (cathedral)
The York Minster has become one of the most visited Cathedrals in England. It was built on the site of a Roman fortress, in stages, dating back to 1472. The Minster became a marvellous example of Gothic architecture, and is now the Jewel in the Crown of the City of York. The York Minster is rich in medieval design, and incorporates historic artifacts dating back over the centuries. The stained glass windows and its atmosphere are not to be missed. Indeed, you really can't miss the Minster, as it dominates the city's skyline. I was amazed at the size of this massive structure; it's echoes of the past, it's atmosphere and it's harmonics.


York Minster in northern England



Inside York Minster




This most delightful of cities lies southwest of Liverpool near the north Wales border.  It was originally built by the Romans to control the native tribes in North Wales and northern Britain.  Chester abounds in medieval architecture and beautiful half-timbered buildings. The most famous of these is the complex known as "The Rows", a series of covered galleries above street-level shops lining Watergate, Eastgate, and Bridge Street. The layout of The Rows dates back to the 13th century.  Another much admired landmark is the Eastgate Clock, built in 1897 to mark the Silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Its intricate iron framework, designed by architect John Douglas, is a marvel of ornate Victorian style.  Another Chester gate, Wolf Gate (next to the present Newgate), has a romantic ghost story associated with it: It seems that Ellen Aldersley, daughter of a city alderman, eloped through the gate in 1573. In the years since then the ghostly clatter of her horse's hooves has occasionally been heard around the area of the gate.

Turning from wood to stone, one medieval building worth visiting is Chester Cathedral, originally built as an abbey church for a Benedictine monastery.

Chester Visitor City


The Rows


Chester Park