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Jonh's Doddington Trail

Updated: Feb 18

By John Daniels


View of the Cheviots - Through time the hills remains as a constant, central to the mood and feeling of Doddington.



Doddington is a small village on the road from Berwick to Wooler. Hidden away from view, somewhere you hardly noticed as you negotiate the double bends on the road south. A small village with a distinctive character and a surprising number of buildings which have a story to tell, linked to a particular period from the past.





Take the road opposite the signposts above and follow it round for this Doddington trail.



BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES


I like this dry stone wall and the old barn shown below.





It is worth stopping to look in more detail at these old stones and window.

Then there are letter boxes, one from Victorian times with a second modern version. The Victorian box is out of service and perhaps came from somewhere else.


Followed by a house with new garden pond and red iron gate.


FARMING DEVELOPMENTS


Modern vans indicating a new farm business.


The farm here has diversified, creating ice cream and what has become a famous cheese, served in some of the top UK restaurants.


Sign of a changing world where previous farming practices can become less profitable and there is a need for new and innovative ways of doing business.

VICARAGE


An elegant Georgian former vicarage surrounded by oak trees a quiet peaceful corner of Doddington with a style and mood from the early 19th Century, ‘a good plain classical house of 1835-6’, (Pevsner).


Easy to imagine a Sunday morning: servants and horses going about their business. the rector coming out of his gate walking down the lane then turning left to go to the church, thinking about his sermon.



CHURCH - St Mark and St Michael





Doddington Church, 13th Century, `fine medieval building’, (Pevsner) with something very unusual, the altar is not at the east end, but faces west.




The stained glass windows from the 1930s by Joseph Nuttgens (1892-1982) to members of the Lambton family (Earl of Durham) are particularly fine. The long, thin medieval windows mean the design has to conform to this space with a concentration of vivid colour and forms.




Pevsner describes the right hand window as: ‘a cascade of coloured angels,’(Pevsner, Buildings of England series, Northumberland)

I love the quiet moment between mother and child - the Madonna and Jesus.




The Watch House (c 1826) guarding the churchyard, the need to protect those buried from the body snatchers coming down from Edinburgh to provide corpses for medical students.

Mourners from outlying villages would bring their dead to be buried here where they would be protected.



And a damaged angel, small monument to some unknown child, almost hidden in the long grass with no visible name to mark the grave



BORDER RAIDS, THE REIVERS 16TH CENTURY



The moss troopers (reivers)came through the hills from Scotland to raid the village in the 16th and 17th Centuries, leading to the building of a bastle to protect the local community in this frontier zone.



Built 1584 for Lord Grey, only this section of the ‘strong house’ remains. It can be viewed through the gates of Doddington Manor.



EDUCATION



Doddington school closed in the 1950s, with children sent to schools in Wooler. The building survives as a dwelling house. This is a feature of many small villages, where the population has shrunk as work on the farms becomes mechanised and people move away to cities and towns. Numbers become too small to be viable, one of the central features of a village community disappears as the school is forced to close. There is no longer the sound of children playing at break times.



FARMING


Looking out over the fields around Doddington, sheep are still very evident, a key part of local farming.



A street sign is evidence for a forgotten practice. Drovers would bring their sheep across country to take them to the important mart at Wooler



Here is the track leading from the village to the former Cuthbert’s Bridge over the River Glen, now unfortunately collapsed.



Cows crossing the river Glen (avoiding a new modern bridge), like a scene from a Victorian painting. These are the cows which provide the milk for the cheese and ice cream for Doddington Dairy.


The River Glen is often subject to flooding after prolonged periods of downpour.


DAILY LIFE



Somebody’s dog wanders across the road, scenes from a daily life. This is a quiet peaceful place with often little sign of those who live there as you visit on a winter’s afternoon. Only the occasional dog is encountered.



THE NATURAL WORLD


Pinkfoot geese above the Glendale Valley, large numbers of geese over-winter here, their calls a feature of winter days.


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