Brinkburn is blessed by many natural assets, the woods, the topography, the location and the views; however its most striking feature has to be the River Coquet.
The River runs 40 miles from the Border of Scotland to the sea at Amble. The entire river valley from source to sea has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSI). This means that it is in farely pristine condition, and full of relatively rare plants and animals
The river starts near the border amongst the Cheviot Hills in the National Park near my favourite Roman Site Chew Green
If you manage to make it here then you have done well because this part of Northumberland is a long way from anywhere. You need to be careful when you are up in this part of the valley because you are on the live firing ranges of Otterburn, check all the signs and a red flag is flown when the ranges are in operation.
First stop downstream from here is Alwinton and then Harbottle with its ruined Castle
. By now the river is well defined fast flowing pools and meanders across a broad valley floor. Followed by Sharperton and Holystone. If you visit Holystone you will find the Lady’s Well where St Paulinus converted and baptised 3000 Northumbrians including King Edwin on Easter Day 627.
The Valley at this point contains examples of fortified bastle houses, pele towers, neolithic and iron age sites, ring and cup stone carving, carved roman gods. You name it and if you know where to look you will be able to find it. The entire area is called Upper Coquetdale. Once you get to Rothbury and passed the Thrum mill
the river and landscape starts to change and mellow the valley is still step sided but with more woodland, and farms.
Brinkburn sits in a giant loop in the river with the Priory, Manor House, Stables, Priory Cottage and The Mill all at the top of the loop and an Iron Age promontary fort closing the neck of the loop.
From the banks of the river on occasions we are able to sea Salmon, Otters, King Fishers, Oyster Catchers, and a whole lot more. Once past Brinkburn the river flows down to Weldon Bridge and the Angler’s Arms.
From here you can follow St Oswald’s Way
, a long distance foot path from Holy Island to the Roman Wall, down to Felton. The walk follows the course of the river as it continues to meander down to the sea. Once at Felton there are two worthy places to visit The Running Fox
a coffee shop and artisan baker and The Northumberland Arms
. Between Felton and the river mouth at Amble you feel that the landscape flattens and you are on the coastal plain. But the valley has a couple of great historic surprises.
and Warkworth Castle
Both sites are run by English Heritage
. The final point where the river meets the sea is Amble. At the mouth of the river on the North Bank you have the most glorious sandy beach which runs North uninterrupted to Alnmouth
and on the south side you have the harbour, fish and chips, The Boat House
a restaurant right on the harbour taking the catch from the sea and cooking it, and also the ice cream parlour Spurrelli
So in a way the Coquet Valley goes from source to sea from Ancient Rome to modern Italian.