More tales from Northumberland: Natural wonders

Published: Wednesday 1st Apr 2015

Written by: The Grace Darling Holidays Team

Northumberland is a place of breathtaking unspoiled beauty, and in the latest episode of More Tales From Northumberland with Robson Green, it was time to throw the spotlight on some of the fascinating natural wonders that exist here.  

First stop this week took Robson all the way to a hidden valley just outside of Chillingham, where he met up with warden Richard Marsh to find out more about Chillingham Wild Cattle, which have existed here for at least 800 years.

One of the world’s oldest breeds of cattle, they are also one of the rarest, with just 110 cattle in Chillingham and another 24-25 in a reserve in Scotland, making up the total number left in the world.

The cattle – or ‘beasts’ – are completely wild and watched over by a small team of dedicated wardens, including Richard. Weighing in at 400kg – double what an average family car does – they are fascinating animals, but also potentially deadly, meaning any contact with them has to be from a distance, and extremely well controlled. 

“I’ve never seen or heard anything quite like these creatures. The Chillingham Cattle tell us a much about our past as Bamburgh Castle or Hadrian’s Wall, and we need to treat them with the same care and respect,” Robson said after finding out more about the fascinating species.

“They’ve been around such a long time. They’ve come through all sorts of adversity; man-made adversity, natural disasters, weather system and disease, and they’re still here. They’re strong, and breed perfectly well,” Richard added.

Find out more about Chillingham Wild Cattle from this website:

Robson’s next stop put him in the path of a young couple tempted away from the hustle and bustle of city life, where they enjoy a more natural, holistic way of life in the heart of Northumberland.

Linus Morton and Louise Hepworth they truly live off the land, foraging through nature’s larder for supplies to make dishes that would impress the fussiest foodies.

Calling themselves the ‘wild gourmets’, the couple combine their science and food backgrounds to run the company Northern Wilds, which offers foraging and cooking courses, as well as a food service, serving up tasty treats in their ‘Wild Food Wagon’, a converted former military truck that has been turned into a travelling kitchen.

After taking Robson on a foraging tour around Kielder Forest, Linus and Louise cooked up a fabulous feast the actor described as “off the scale”, made up of nettle soup, sweet rabbit pie, wild mushroom risotto and bilberry tart.

“It just makes complete sense and everything not only tastes better but it gives you a sense of peace and identity,” Robson said, after being shown how much delicious and free food exists in the heart of the Northumbrian countryside. 

Get more information on Northern Wilds now.

Also find out more about Kielder Forrest.

Robson’s final stop this week saw him head to Cullernose Point – described as “geological heaven” – where he met geologist Dr Ian Kille to learn about Northumberland’s unique rock formations, giving it a distinctive, unique landscape. 

“Geology is absolutely fundamental to the look and feel of Northumberland. It habits its character even down o the flavour of Earl Grey tea that is there because they had to blend a tea to deal with the limestone which is where the water came from,” Dr Kille explained.

After learning more about how Northumberland’s unique craggy landscape was formed and developed over the years, and the iconic buildings such as Bamburgh Castle that sit on tops of bits of the Whin Sill – a unique layer of rock created nearly 300 million years ago – it was time for Robson to get even more up close and personal with Northumberland rugged beauty.

And how did he do that? By abseiling down a cliff face from 100ft above! Better him than us... 

Next time on More Tales From Northumberland, Robson is heading to the south-east corner of Northumberland to join a team of building conservationists who are aiming to rescue one of Britain’s great architectural gems, and tries his hand at sword dancing. 

* Did you miss More Tales From Northumberland? Catch up on the ITV Player:

If More Tales From Northumberland inspired you to explore this wonderful part of the world, find your perfect base with Grace Darling Holidays now:

The Grace Darling Holidays Team
The Grace Darling Holidays Team


Your team of holiday experts in Northumberland.


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