The pretty Northumberland village of Blanchland is an architectural gem, with cottages laid out around a central crossroads with the Monk’s Cafe in the centre. Its a fabulous drive ‘over the tops’ from Rookhope via Townfield and Hunstanworth taking in views across Rookhope itself and then across the wild North Pennine moorland before dropping down into the Derwent valley before reaching Blanchland itself.
It is a conservation village built of stone from the remains of the 12th century Abbey, part of which remains as the parish church. After the dissolution of the monasteries the estate passed into the hands of Lord Crewe, who was Bishop of Durham at the time. On his death, the estate was administered as a trust managed by the Cathedral Chapter.
The Lord Crewe Arms is undergoing a refurbishment and according to the Twitter feed, are planning to reopen some time in April. It was always a fascinating place, built as it was into the remains of the old Abbot’s residence so effectively dates from the 12the century itself.
Some famous guests include W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin and Benjamin Britten; and Gen Tom Forster, who hid in the enormous fireplace during the Jacobite rising of 1715.
Things to see in Blanchland
The village itself is a destination on its own with almost chocolate box views. Do take time to visit the church which is open during daylight hours all year round. The White Monk tea room is a must if you love cakes as well!
For sailors the Derwent Reservoir Sailing club is nearby, and they offer Dinghy sailing taster sessions. Anglers can also fish here for roach.