Isaac's Tea Trail is a 36-mile walk in the North Pennines. Starting in Allendale, it passes through some of the most remote countryside in England. These are the moors and rivers where the counties of Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria meet - a landscape steeped in history and rich in industrial heritage.
Hexham Ramblers has had a long involvement with the path and retains, to this day, responsibility for maintaining a 12-mile section centred on Allendale that stretches from Ninebanks to Knock Shield. We also occasionally include parts of it in our Sunday walks. Keep an eye on our programme!
In May 2020, you can walk the entire length of the trail in a walk organised by the Haltwhistle Walking Festival. The festival will be dividing the route into three and walking on the following dates:
Friday, 8th May - Allendale to Nenthead
Satruday, 9th May - Nenthead to Clargill
Sunday, 10th May - Clargill to Allendale
Coach transport is provided from and to Haltwhistle at the beginning and end of each walk.
Pre-booking is essential as the festival's long walks sell out quickly. For more details of the walk stages and information on how to book, visit https://haltwhistlewalkingfestival.org/
Hexham Ramblers out on Isaac's Tea Trail
The trail follows in the footsteps of Isaac Holden, a travelling tea seller in the early 19th century when lead-mining activity was at its peak and travel on foot was often the only way tradesmen could conduct their business. Working out of a grocer's shop he owned in Allendale with his wife, Isaac followed his route in all weathers, selling tea to farms and outlying hamlets.
Isaac became known as a philanthropist, raising money for community projects such as the fresh-water supply to Isaac's Well in Allendale Town. This well marks the 'official' start of the trail.
On leaving Allendale, it heads first to Nenthead, a important lead-mining centre for over 100 years until 1882. It then follows the valley of the river Nent to Alston, one of the highest market towns in England. From there, the trail leads to the village of Ninebanks and back to Allendale.
The trail website has full details of the route and the places it passes through. It also includes news on footpath diversions affecting the trail, including the diversion to avoid Kirkhaugh Bridge near Slaggyford which was closed following storm damage in September 2018. Visit http://isaacs-tea-trail.co.uk
The website also now (January 2020) features details of accommodation providers on or near the trail.
Look out for the printed guide by Roger Morris, the man behind the creation of the trail, in local shops.
The local journalist, Anne Leuchars, publishes a fascinating blog about the trail - about a hundred entries in the last three years. It has readers in 53 countries and is well worth a look. https://walkingisaacsteatrail.wordpress.com/
And yes, there really is a Dalek in this picture.
Clare Balding walked part of the trail for her Ramblings series on BBC Radio 4. The podcast is still available on the BBC website
Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, mentions the trail in his book, Walking Home - Travels with a Troubador on the Pennine Way.
Bernard Cornwell refers to it in the historical notes for War of the Wolf, a volume in his series, The Last Kingdom.
Rowantree Stob bastle near Sinderhope, south of Allendale
Another stunning view....
Sunday 31 May 2020Starting at 10:15A strenuous 11 mile / 17.7 km walk
Sunday 7 June 2020Starting at 10:05An easy 5 mile / 8.1 km walk
Sunday 7 June 2020Starting at 10:15A strenuous 10 mile / 16.1 km walk
Sunday 14 June 2020Starting at 09:15A moderate 7 mile / 11.3 km walk
Sunday 21 June 2020Starting at 10:15A moderate 9.5 mile / 15.3 km walk
Sunday 28 June 2020Starting at 10:15A moderate 7 mile / 11.3 km walk