Visit Alston and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Alston, Cumberland. At Townfoot in Alston the milestone shows a height of 921 ft above sea-level, and not far up the main road it is 1,000 ft. This is the highest market town in England, and although Alston stands in the valley of the South Tyne it is almost surrounded by the highest fells of the Pennine Chain. Five roads converge: Newcastle (A686), Carlisle, Penrith, the B6277 from Scotch Corner, and the B6293 from Weardale. Alston is a holiday centre, offering numerous walks in the sweeping moorland scenery. Variations of hardness in the limestone layers produce several waterfalls, such as Ashgill Force.
This was one of the richest mineral areas in Britain until the early 19th century, with lead and silver, iron, zinc and copper ores and fluorspar. The only workings now are small anthracite drifts. Two Middle or Late Bronze Age barrows were found at Ayle; North, and near it the Roman mounds and ditches of Whitley Castle can be clearly seen. Some old buildings date from the late 17th and early 18th centuries, when there was a renewal of mining operations, such as Church Gaytes House (1681) and the Quaker Meeting House (1732—59). The parish church, St Augustine's, built in 1869, is the third on the site and has records from 1154. The 1765 Market Cross, replacing an earlier one, has been knocked down by a lorry. Also of architectural interest are Kirkhaugh Church near Alston, and the Old Manor House on the Hexham road. Just West of Alston runs the Pennine Way. It passes through Garrigill (to the South East near the B6277), which may pre-date the earliest settlement in Alston. Eastward on the B6293 is Nenthead, 1,415 ft. the highest village in England. The Penrith road climbs South West from Alston on Hartside Height to 1,903 ft. offering a panoramic view over the Eden valley: it ranges from Lakeland fells to Scottish hills, with the Solway Firth like a golden ribbon at sunset. Cross Fell, to the South South East, at 2,930 ft is the highest point of the Pennines. The road drops down Hartside with awe-inspiring zigzags to Melmerby.
The Hartside route is not one to choose in ice or snow. Winter is a time when the tourist may be unable to see Alston. He may reach only the north or east edges of the great white waste, since the famous Helm Wind from Cross Fell may have piled snow 15 ft or higher round the isolated town.
Nearby towns: Appleby-in-Westmorland, Brampton, Hexham, Penrith, Stanhope
Nearby villages: Allendale Town, Allenheads, Alston, Ayle, Blencarn, Burtree Ford, Busk, Catton, Coalcleugh, Coanwood, Croglin, Edenhall, Elrington, Featherstone, Gamblesby, Garrigill, Glassonby, Harwood, Ireshopeburn, Knarsdale, Lambley, Langwathby, Leadgate, Melmerby, Nenthead, Ousby, Renwick, Scalehouses, Skirwith, Slaggyford, Studdon, Wear Head, Whitfield
Have you decided to visit Alston or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Alston bed and breakfast (a Alston B&B or Alston b and b)
- a Alston guesthouse
- a Alston hotel (or motel)
- a Alston self-catering establishment, or
- other Alston accommodation