A meander along the Till and Breamish


Coldstream and the borderlands hold an endless fascination for Antony Chessell who moved there a decade ago and has just finished his fourth book about the area.

A Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Antony started off writing about Coldstream buildings, moved onto trees, then the Leet Water and now it’s the River Till and Breamish which has captured his imagination.

Antony says his books are “for walkers, potterers, wildlife watchers or armchair map readers - in other words almost everyone who has a love of the borderland”.

His latest offering ‘Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed’ traces the course of the rivers (the Till is called the Breamish in its upper reaches) from their source in the Cheviot Hills, down to the junction of the Till and the Tweed at Tillmouth.

The River Tweed has nine major tributaries and their catchments are all in Scotland except for the River Till in Northumberland, the second largest contributory, most of which is in England.

Antony has looked at the archaeology, flora and fauna, history, geology connected to the river as well as those things that just appealed to him as he came across them.

The foreword, written by Rt Hon Lord Joicey, reads: “The twists and turns and meanders of the Till through the great Milfield Plain surely match the twists and turns in the history of this area. There are more to come perhaps, maybe as much scientific as political.

“Antony Chessell’s easy and approachable style, yet painstaking research, provides the opportunity for days of exploration in one of the loveliest and most interesting valleys of the Borderlands.”

‘Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed’ is published by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS), ISBN 978-1-291-58938-2 and costs £10.

The net proceeds of sale are being donated to TillVAS and the book is available from Cornhill-on-Tweed Village Shop, Etal Village Shop, Ford Village Shop, with further outlets to follow, and at all meetings and exhibitions held by TillVAS.

The proceeds of his three previous books were all donated to Coldstream Community Centre. They include ‘Coldstream Building Snippets’ (a quirky look at what gives Coldstream’s built up area its individuality), ‘The Braw Trees of Coldstream’ and ‘Leet Water From Source to Tweed’ (which traces the course of the River Tweed tributary from its source near Whitsome, through Swinton to its mouth at Tweed Green in Coldstream.