The Rose and Thistle, Alwinton, Northumberland, NE65 7BQ   -

The Rose & Thistle Inn is located on what was once a very important drovers road linking England to Scotland. Despite its current status as a peaceful and tranquil place, being located near the border of England and Scotland made Alwinton a pretty unstable place! As you explore the surrounding area discover the secrets of times gone by. Walk in the foot-steps of the great adventure writer Sir Walter Scott, who stayed at the Rose & Thistle Inn while he penned his masterpiece, Rob Roy (1817). There are many scenes in the book set in genuine Northumbrian locations inspired by his stay and the savage local history.

The area in the immediate vicinity of the Inn was the troubled from the 13th to17th centuries by a lot of local unrest. The land was fought over and raided, for survival, by families of outlaws known as the Border Reivers. Their loyalty was not to England or Scotland but to the family name.

Other lawless types chose remote Coquetdale as the location for illicit whisky stills. The cold, clear waters of the springs gushing from the hillside helped cool the stills and produce much sought after, duty free, spirits for cross border distribution. The remains of several of these romantic sites still exist today, one of the most famous being Kitty's Walls Still.

Further up the valley, following the spectacular windings of the River Coquet, you can find the remains of a Roman settlement at Chew Green, thought to date from between 43 - 410 AD.

Across the county there is a wealth of evidence that reflects the conflict of yesteryear. Northumberland is home to more castles and fortified houses than any other English county, a visible testament in these peaceful times that the area has a rich and varied past.

Amongst the many worthy of note include the home of the Duke & Duchess of Northumberland in Alnwick, which has been referred to as The Windsor of the North. The spectacular cliff top ruins of Dunstanburgh are well worth a visit as is Bamburgh - complete with dragon legend and King Arthur connections. A visit to the romantic Lindisfarne - located on Holy Island, the birthplace of Northern Christianity, needs careful planning as access is dictated by the tides.

The Roman occupation of England is still very much in evidence at Hadrian's Wall. Located about an hours drive south, the World heritage Site of Hadrian's Wall is one of Northumberland's greatest historical treasures and well worth a day trip - Or you may intend passing it on walk or cycle trip!

Northumberland as a county is also home to some of the best examples of the enigmatic prehistoric rock art known as Cup and Ring marks. A site within easy travelling distance is Lordenshaws on the Simonside Hills above Rothbury. Lordenshaws is also home to prehistoric burial cairns and a hill fort.

Northumberland is a region where the past is evident at almost every turn. The often turbulent history of the place has shaped the landscape and rich character of the people. For this reason it is a unique place - we look forward to sharing it with you!

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