Hareshaw Lin & coins in trees

Poetry & Writing

At the weekend, we went up to Hareshaw Lin in Bellingham for a walk. It was lovely exploring this northwestern corner of Northumberland, following the short walk (less than two miles), along the ruins of a former iron foundry on the North River Tyne, to a waterfall (the Lin, in Old English). On our route, we noticed something unusual…

A tree stump (and fallen trunk, behind) with hundreds of coins inserted into the bark

Hundreds of coins inserted into the small slits of the bark of fallen trees. I noticed it in a few sidelong tree stumps, but it was most obvious on this large fallen tree and nearby stump (see above). I have no idea why this tradition started, but some of the coins look very well weathered, and I expect have been there for several years.

The waterfall itself was beautiful, a small oasis of it’s own within the woods (see below). Several younger people were diving into the pool at it’s base. Judging by how long it took them to resurface after diving, it must be quite deep in it’s centre, although there appears to be a lip of rocks around the pool’s circumference.

Hareshaw Lin – the word ‘Lin’ means ‘Waterfall’ in Old English

The foundry appears to have been washed away by a flood in the early years of the 20th century, and several more rocks swept downstream in a further flood in the 1960’s. The large stones which remain (many were taken to be used for local buildings) jut out the water to create numerous miniature weirs alongside our walking route. It’s a lovely spot, but was rather busy when we went, possibly because people see it as a good outdoor location in these socially distant times. Still, there are many worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon…

A walk in the woods

Poetry & Writing

It is said that a walk in the woods is a great way to recharge your mind and revive a weary soul. I think we’ve all needed a little more of that during the last few months.

These two pictures were taken at the weekend, just outside of the market town Hexham, in the county of Northumberland, England. And when I say just outside, I mean less than a ten minute walk from the historic Abbey in the town’s market square – there really isn’t much by way of suburbs here.

Sunlight peeking through the tops of this wonderful pine forest in Northumberland

The forest is managed; parts of it are felled for paper at the right time, while other sections regrow. This means that the trees are planted roughly in rows, with paths of varying difficulty throughout it’s floor. However, on the day we wandered around, our only companions were the birds flying overhead in the July sun, and the ants busying themselves in and out of the enormous ant hills in the forest.

Access to experiences such as this on my own doorstep are a reminder of how lucky we are in this part of the world, especially during the last four months of lockdown here in the UK. It has certainly helped ease my anxiety and frustration at not being able to move forward with the music projects I had planned for this summer – but more on those soon…