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A guide to Isaac's Tea Trail : hidden heritage in England's north country


Publication Type
Roger Morris
Date Published
Number of Pages
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Cheques payable to Allenheads Trust Ltd
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The trust manages a heritage centre, museum and cafe in the village for the benefit of residents and tourists. Other exhibits include a rebuilt blacksmiths shop and a water powered Armstrong engine from the 19th century.



Roger Morris 2016

On foot Isaac Holden carried tea in his backpack to remote homes across the mountainous North Country. Villages and hamlets were strung out between Allendale in Northumberland and Alston in Cumbria employed in the mining of lead. Isaac had been a miner but after a slump in the lead trade in the 1830s he turned to selling tea. Remarkably on his travels he also found the time to raise funds for charities. The trail leads to some of the places where he delivered in the Allen Valleys and over towards Alston to his ancestral roots at Nenthead. Isaac's Well in the Allendale Market Place marks the start and finish of the 36 mile circular route.

Since its launch in 2002 Isaac's Tea Trail has developed from existing footpaths and bridleways into a well regarded long distance footpath.

The writer Anne Leuchars has produced a blog 'The short-distance approach to walking a long-distance footpath' Anne shows that when speed and distance don't dictate the pace there are other compensations to be had by taking a slower pace. Also on You Tube there are documentaries of what can be expected, though every experience is different.

The work to maintain and improve the trail is a led by volunteers and administered by Allenheads Trust Ltd. The Rights of Way Officers and Countryside Officers from Northumberland C.C. and Cumbria C.C. have been responsible for significant improvements. Hexham Ramblers have undertaken a stewardship role of the section from Leadgate Bank and as far as The Black Way in the East Allen.

The trail guide recommends walking in a clockwise direction south from Allendale. Otherwise, there is the freedom to join the trail at any point or direction.

Paths Covered by this Publication:

60 km / 37 miles

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