Although the Burn is filled with lush woodland and has become a haven for wildlife,
it was not always so. The power of the stream was harnessed from Roman times to drive
the machinery of corn and woollen mills. The rich rocks of the burn gorge were exploited
for building stone, lime, coal and clay. The enigmatic remains of three woollen
mills and three pits can be located whilst the large brickworks, which occupied both
banks in the 1860s, has vanished with scarcely a trace.
Find out about Haltwhistle Burn
Rising in the high moorland beside Hadrian’s Wall, Haltwhistle Burm is one of the
hidden treasures of Northumberland National Park. I t can vary from babbling brook
to rushing torrent depending on the season but it has its own special charm no matter
what the weather.
The upland part of the valley runs through wild moorland but south of General Wade’s
Military Road (the B6318 - the longest B road in the country!) its character changes,
first to meander through herb rich meadow and then to tumble its way through a dramatic
gorge and luxuriant woodland until it joins the River South Tyne below the town of
The rocks exposed in the cliffs of the Burn Gorge date from the Carboniferous Period,
some 300 million years ago - a period when the land that was to become Northumberland
lay close to the equator and was subject to many changes of condition, from tropical
seas to great river deltas and lush forests. The rocks that were laid down at that
time have been cut through by the waters of the burn to leave dramatic exposures
which have been exploited by the people of Haltwhistle for hundreds of years.