The attractive Village of West Thirston is separated from the Village of Felton by the River Coquet that runs through the centre of the two Villages. Spanning the River Coquet are two bridges: Felton old bridge and Felton new bridge. The old bridge has now been pedestrianised and is scheduled as an ancient monument and as a building of architectural and historic interest. It is used by the local community for many events, bring and buy sales and the annual Duck Race. The new replacement bridge was built in 1926 and although not considered to be as attractive as the old bridge, it is itself a grade II listed construction. The main road between London and Edinburgh for centuries passed through West Thirston and Felton, known as „the Great North Road‟, there were many shops, inns, and craftsmen in the area along its route. With the building of a long-awaited bypass decades ago, the village now enjoys a much more peaceful aspect.
Felton and West Thirston are just a mile from the A1, roughly at the midpoint between Morpeth (10 miles South) and Alnwick (9 miles North). As such access to the Village is easy and it serves as an excellent base in central Northumberland to explore the County. The Village is also on one of the County's main bus routes, with frequent buses North to Alnwick and Berwick-Upon-Tweed and South to Morpeth and Newcastle. Arriva operate this bus route, see links at the bottom of the page for more information. The nearest train station is in Morpeth.
The Village HistoryThe Villages of West Thirston and Felton have existed for many centuries. The English barons met here all the way back in 1215 to plan the transfer of their allegiance from King John to King Alexander of Scotland. This turned out to be a rash decision, for which King John had a large part of the villages burned down as punishment. The Anglican church of St. Michaels and All Angels was consecrated in 1199. William Bertram II, who died in 1199, was responsible for this church. Its structure is mainly from two time periods. The first is this earlier twelfth century, and some aspects of it can still be seen. The other is the later fourteenth century, when such features as the aisles were added. There have been other denominations present in the area too; a Presbyterian chapel described as 'handsome' was built on the south side of the river in
1820, and a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, with 110 sittings, was raised in 1891.
Felton and West Thirston are small Villages and as such do not offer specific attractions. There are however many things to do, with the most popular being walking in the surrounding beautiful countryside along the River Coquet and also Fishing. Parts of the Coquet are considered a fishery of National importance, with runs of Salmon and Sea Trout it is a very popular, and relaxing, place to fish. The season for Salmon is the 1st February to the 31st October each year but a 'catch and release' bylaw means that you must release any Salmon caught before the 16th June. The fishing rights for the River downstream from the old bridge are owned by the Northumberland Angler's Federation who you should contact for a permit should you wish to fish the River. The River upstream of the Old Bridge is owned by a private club and should not be fished. Felton Fence Fishery is also just a couple of miles away.
There are many beautiful walks from a base in Felton or West Thirston, most of which feature the River. From the West Thirston side of the bridge it is possible to walk East towards the coast for miles. You will eventually reach Acklington, where there is a lovely pub called the Railway Inn where you can stop for a break or you can continue your walk all the way to Warkworth. Heading in the other direction from the centre of the Village towards Felton's Church there is also a good circular walk along Felton Fence. A booklet with five circular walks is available to buy from The Running Fox, next to the Bridge in the centre of the two Villages.
There is a nearby Golf Course at Burgham Park Golf and Leisure Club which is a championship course just a few miles South of the Villages. Northumberland has a huge amount to offer when it comes to golf and other local clubs include Percywood Golf Course in Swarland, Alnwick Golf Club, Morpeth Golf Club, Macdonald Linden Hall Golf Club, Longhirst Hall Golf Club and Rothbury Golf Club. For a full listing of all Northumberland's Golf Courses and Clubs visit our Golf Page.
Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes - Eating Out In Felton & West Thirston
There is now only one Pub in Felton and West Thirston, but what a pub! The Northumberland Arms to the South of the River has been completely renovated and relaunched in 2013. They have a bar area, where dogs are also welcome, and a beautiful restaurant serving some of the finest food to be found in Northumberland.
The Running Fox is what I consider to be the central hub of the two Villages. Kris Blackburn has really created something special and it shows both in it's popularity and how the locals enthuse about it. It is a chic country-style Cafe with a unique and excellent quality menu available at unbelievably reasonable prices. There is also an on-site bakery which makes a wide range of delicious artisan breads, pies, cakes and scones as well as selling locally sourced produce and gifts. The Running Fox always seems to be busy with locals buying their newspapers, picking up some bread, chatting to friends and neighbours, enjoying a coffee or meal inside or on the picnic tables outside. It makes a nice change to go somewhere other than a pub for a meal and you won't find a better spread anywhere in the County. We highly recommend you book your table on 01670 787 090 in advance to avoid disappointment. For sheer quality and value the Running Fox is officially one of Your Northumberland Guide's Food and Drink Highlights.
Food Shopping and Supermarkets
There is a Village shop sells an extensive range of household and food items, as well as pet food, alcohol, frozen goods and local produce. There is also a Post Office hidden away in a small room at the back of the shop, almost behind the counter. As mentioned above the Running Fox sells artisan breads, pies, cakes and scones as well as selling newspapers, locally sourced produce and gifts. For larger supermarkets you will need to head into either Alnwick or Morpeth. Alnwick has a Sainsbury's, Lidl, Morissons, Iceland, and Co-op while Morpeth has Marks and Spencer, Morissons and Lidl. Both Towns also have a fine range of independent retailers to choose from.
There is only one self catering Holiday Cottage in the Village, to the South of the River Coquet. Riverside Cottage is a character property located right next to the Old Bridge. It sleeps four people, the master bedroom being a double and offering lovely views over the River and the Village, the second bedroom is a twin. The Cottage has a stylish Lounge with an open fire, LCD TV and Sky HD, a separate Dining Room and modern Kitchen with Washer/Dryer and family sized Dishwasher. The Cottage also offers free Wi-Fi internet access and a welcome basket of local produce.
The Northumberland Arms also has a number of very high quality, luxury rooms available on a Bed and Breakfast basis.
There are two Churches, the first in Felton is St Michael and All Angels, which was given 'to Almighty God, St. Peter, and the Canons of Brinkburn' shortly before Wiliam Bertram II‟s death in 1199AD. Secondly is the Felton United Reformed Church, which is actually located in West Thirston. Felton Village Hall is well used by the local community with many groups meeting every week. The Village has a hair salon called Hair Naturelle & Beauty above 20 main street, Felton. They offer a wide variety of hairdressing & beauty therapy services as well as having a great selection of fashion accessories, give Shelleythe Salon manager a call on 01670787586 or pop in.
Places and Attractions Nearby
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