Things to Do
Bowes is the nearest village which is about 1 mile east of Mellwaters Barn along the Bowes Loop of the Pennine Way for those who wish to walk or just over a mile by car. We are pleased to say that after several years our local pub, the Ancient Unicorn, has re-opened for drinks and pub meals. In addition it now has a tearoom, where coffee or tea and lovely homemade cakes are served, and is open all day every day. Places of interest in Bowes are Bowes Castle which is a Roman Fort, William Shaw’s academy (now known as Dotheboys Hall) which is in Charles Dickens book Nicholas Nickleby, Bowes School which was founded in 1674 and has been in constant use as a school ever since and St. Giles Church.
The historic market town of Barnard Castle is some 5 miles from Mellwaters Barn and is the nearest town to us. There is market in the Market Place every Wednesday, also on the first Saturday of the month there is a Farmers Market again in the Market Place. Place of interest in Barnard Castle include various houses in Galgate, marked with Blue Plaques, Horsemarket with Blue Plaque buildings. The Buttermart and the Bank.
Warning re car parks:
Please be aware that more and more car parks in the area are adopting the ANPR system which means you must park and make payment within 10 minutes, Please familiarise yourself with these systems to avoid potential fines.
Places to Visit and Interesting Drives Out:
We are situated in the North Pennine Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with magnificent views, a lot of bird life and wildflowers. In particular we would recommend Moorhouse National Nature reserve near Cow Green Reservoir to see such rarities as the Blue Gentian and the Teesdale Violet. In Teesdale there are also marked walks along the Tees for those interested in birds and wildflowers.
About half an hour from us going north you come to High Force (the highest waterfall in England) where you can park the car and walk down to see the waterfall at close quarters. Going on from here the drive over the moor to Alston is magnificent especially in good weather. Another drive again with lovely views is over the Stang (from the A66 at the foot of Lamb Hill signposted to Reeth) to Arkengarthdale. You then have a choice of turning left to Reeth and into Swaledale or right to Tan Hill again with a further choice of turning left to Keld or straight on to Kirby Stephen. All these routes are virtually traffic free, but are not recommended in winter time.
Many of our visitors have visited the Lakes and a trip on one of the pleasure boats on Ullswater and Windermere makes a very enjoyable day.
Hadrian’s Wall is also a popular destination with all its points of interest.
For the angler there is fishing on the River Tees or in the Reservoirs near Romaldkirk and the Northumbrian publication ‘Go Fishing’ gives a good idea of places to visit.
There is a wide variety of bird life on the farm including curlew, oystercatcher and lapwing. The rare Black Grouse can be seen on the moor around Tan Hill and towards Cotherstone (www.explorenorthpennines.org.uk).
Castles and Cathedrals:
We have the ruined Roman fort at Bowes and the castle ruins, which you can go round at Barnard Castle. You also have Raby Castle – the home of Lord Barnard – at Staindrop with all its attractions (www.rabycastle.com).
Auckland Castle at Bishop Auckland is steeped in almost 900 years of history, is one of the most important Episcopal palaces in Europe, and the magnificent home of England’s only Prince Bishop. The Zubaran paintings are well worth viewing. (www.aucklandcastle.org)
Durham Cathedral in its stunning position above the River Wear is very popular with our visitors particularly the Open Treasure exhibition. (www.durhamcathedral.co.uk)
There is information on various cycle routes in County Durham and the North Pennines on the County Durham website at (www.durham.gov.uk/durhamcc/usp.nsf)
Close to hand Charles Dickens, who was born over 200 years ago in 1812, spent time in this area. Other famous people include Hannah Hauxwell who made the magnificent scenery of Baldersdale famous, as is the Baldersdale Hay Time Walk.
Oliver Cromwell stayed at Blagrave House in Barnard Castle and Sir Walter Scott stayed at Rokeby Hall just outside Barnard Castle. He enjoyed his stay so much that he wrote a poem called ‘Rokeby’.
A little further away Beatrix Potter lived at Hill Top near Sowerby (Cumbria) and William Wordsworth lived at Cockermouth.
George Stephenson (the inventor of the steam engine) was borne near Gibside, near Newcastle, and his house is open for visitors who enjoy a pleasant walk to get to it along a path which was the old railway that Stephenson used for his engines.
If you enjoy a round of golf there are several golf course in this area including Barnard Castle, Richmond and Catterick.
You have the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle (www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk), the lead mine museum at Killhope near Cowshill is of particular interest to children, and the railway museums at Shildon and Darlington (www.nrm.org.uk)
Going further afield there is the Baltic Centre and the Hancock Museum at Newcastle. Then of course there are plenty of museums in York including the National Railway Museum, the Castle Museum along with the Jorvic Centre.
For a great day out for all the family many visitors have been to Beamish, a working museum of life from 1835 to 1913, which is about an hour from Mellwaters. (www.beamish.org.uk)
Within reach of Mellwaters Barn is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from Grosmont to Pickering. Some trains go to Whitby (www.nymr.co.uk). The Seattle to Carlisle Railway (www.settle-carlisle.co.uk), Weardale and Wensleydale Railways are also within reach of Mellwaters Barn.
A very popular day trip, is to take a trip on the Ullswater ‘Steamers’ in the Lake District (www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk)
There are numerous walks in Teesdale with circular walks round Bowes, walks along the River Tees, along the old railway line to Cotherstone and on to Middleton in Teesdale, and of course the Pennine Way. (www.exploreteesdale.uk).