REVIEW: THE ROSE AND THISTLE, ALWINTON
THE National Park has always had a great appeal for me and despite the weather I was keen to pay a visit before the dark nights of autumn set in.
We chose to visit Alwinton (previously named Allenton) and also Holystone en route. The weather forecast rain in the afternoon, so we set off early in the morning when it was sunny. Alwinton nestles in the south-east foothills of the Cheviot Hills within the beautiful Northumberland National Park where the rivers Alwin and Coquet meet. It is roughly ten miles from the border and 18 miles to the west of Alnwick. A road continues past Alwinton into the Cheviot Hills where it terminates at the ancient Roman encampment of Chew Green.
The quaint little hamlet has no shops so Alwinton’s social life centres on The Rose and Thistle Pub. It is a historic former coaching inn providing lunches, dinners and packed meals if required, as well as first-class bed and breakfast accommodation. It is a perfect loc-ation for walkers and cyclists and a perfect hideaway from the hustle bustle of city life.
Parking is available for guests and for total peace of mind a secure locked garage is available for cyclists, as well as a drying room for boots and outdoor clothing. Extra emergency clothing is always available if needed.
From outside it looked a very small and historic pub, but once inside we were surprised to see such a spacious, well equipped and busy inn.
We were hungry, and the menu showed a variety of delicious meals with specials if we wanted them. The food was either grown or bought locally and cooked fresh each day. We started with home- made vegetable soup and a roll which was warm and enjoyable.
I chose roast chicken served with salad, coleslaw and garlic bread. Edward had a home-made shepherd’s pie served with a large portion of five different vegetables. The meal was delicious, well presented and served by a friendly and helpful waitress. We rounded off with a pot of tea and a small biscuit and sat back to enjoy the flowers in the garden which were still in blossom.
On our return journey, we passed the Star Inn at Harbottle where refreshments are served if required and then drove to Lady’s Well at Holystone which is dedicated to The Virgin Mary. I had heard a lot about this beautiful, tranquil place which is situated in a wooded area a few yards from the car park.
After walking over a muddy field, across a stream, through a gate and into a wood, I was overwhelmed with the beauty. The Lady’s Well was still and silent, surrounded by plants, grasses and tall trees. A stone cross sat in a small rectangular pool and at the side of the well a statue stands which is dedicated to St Paulinus who is believed to have baptised 3,000 Northumbrians. I was so impressed by the beauty of it all and sat in silence at the side of the well reflecting on its long history.
We had to move on, as the odd raindrops turned into torrents. As we headed home I was happy to have seen so much beautiful scenery in the Northumberland National Park. It has so much to offer and is a place you experience the warmest of welcomes, meet the most friendly folk and a place the whole family will enjoy.