Located in the Pennine Hills, the village of Bowes was built on the site of a Roman fort and was a strategic location in Roman England.
In the 11th Century, Bowes Castle was built and the village developed around it. The ruins of the Castle are still preserved today and is well worth the short stroll from Hilltop Cottage to see it. Try having a look at night as the Castle is lit up.
Famous Visitors: Charles Dickens stayed for some time in the 17th Century Coaching Inn in the village (now the Ancient Unicorn) and found inspiration for his novel Nicholas Nickleby in Dotheboys Hall. The graves of two of the characters portrayed in the book can be seen in Bowes Churchyard! Dotheboys Hall is still there at the top end of the village on the left. (Now converted to private residences)
Barnard Castle is a lovely market town with a unique character. Delightful old cobbled streets and twisting lanes, with architecture from the Georgian and Victorian period. Many of the buildings are now interesting independent shops, cafes and restaurants.
Weekly markets are held in the Markets Place every Wednesday with a Farmers Market held on Saturday.
The magnificent Bowes Museum, which is within walking distance from the town centre, was purpose built in the 19th Century in the style of a French château and is recognised as one of the finest museums outside London – a must for visitors to the area.
The Castle, from which the town gets its name, was built in 1125 by Bernard de Balliol, and is preserved in good order by English Heritage (www.english-heritage.org.uk)
Another English Heritage site within a mile or so of ‘Barney’ is Eggleston Abbey, and is not only free but also a lovely walk along the banks of the River Tees.
Four miles north east of Barney is one of England’s finest medieval castles. Raby Castle is the home of Lord Barnard and its interior provide a glimpse of life throughout the ages. Set within the grounds of a 200 acre deer park this a ‘living castle’ and is a wonderful day out.
(Enjoy more photos of North East England by Graeme Peacock)