A town trail, a history lesson & some cheesecake


A guest post this week from Rachel Williamson who works in our Morpeth Tourist Informaton Centre (TIC). Rachel is one of our most enthusiastic employees, she’s passionate about Northumberand, is only 21 (just) and loves cheesecake. You’ve seen her in a previous post on the front of our magazine. She tweets here: @r3w

Northumberland is a County filled with sensational scenery, captivating castles and beautiful beaches, all of which us residents occasionally forget about or even take for granted. Aside from the obvious big attractions we have so many hidden gems, so many towns and villages that are steeped with history just waiting to be uncovered.

I’m certainly not a fan of a deconstructed cheesecake. Nor am I fan of chefs who insist on tearing delicious desserts apart in an attempt to make them look like works of art. It’s a bit of soft cheese smeared on top of a badly treated biscuit if we’re being frank about things, but it’s the concept behind it that interests me. It’s amazing that how when we look at things from another perspective that we notice things we may have never spotted before.

You’re probably wondering what on earth a deconstructed cheesecake has to do with Northumberland – it has everything to do with Northumberland. It isn’t until we really look at what we have on our doorstep and tear it apart layer by layer that we see what there is on offer. Morpeth is my cheesecake, and here is what “Death Path” has to offer:

Mystery, history and questions

The history of Morpeth speaks for itself, with the yards and alleyways adding a hint of mystery, excitement and discovery for those of us who dare to venture down them (usually to find a coffee shop, but let’s face it, there’s nothing more exciting than a cappuccino and a wedge of cake.)

Hiding through the alleyways and lurking behind the yards is where the true depths of Morpeth’s history awaits us. In Bridget Gubbins’ book “The Curious Yards and Alleyways of Morpeth” we get a true idea of what happened down each and every winding path. Sometimes it’s not about reading a book, it is about going out and discovering. Take the opportunity and find out where those alleyways will lead you to. The very name of the town itself is much cause for debate. Does it mean ‘Death Path’ from the Latin word mort linking to the numerous invasions over the years and links to the Court House. Or does is simply mean ‘path across the moor’. Now there’s a contrast.

Fame, power and passion

I’m all about women’s rights. If I do the cooking, you do the washing up. That’s the general idea of it, yes? No absolutely not, and to prove that St Mary’s Church is the perfect place to visit in the hope of brushing up on your knowledge of feminism. “Deeds not words” is the powerful message you will find on the gravestone of Emily Wilding Davison, the famous suffragette who threw herself under King George V’s horse at Epsom Derby in 1913.

Her dedication to the cause saw her committing acts of arson, going on numerous hunger strikes and impressively hiding in a cupboard overnight in the Palace of Westminster. This year marks the centenary of her death so get ready for some exciting events heading your way.

Peace, tranquillity and beauty

I love nothing more than a good town trail. Coming from a soon to be 21-year-old that probably seems pretty sad. I should be binge drinking, fake tanning and listening to music so loud it makes your ears fall off. But honestly, give me a town trail any day and I’m a happy girl. I guess working in tourism and being around town trails each day has made me a huge a fan.

The free guide available from our TIC takes you on a great tour of Morpeth and is really is worth a peek at. Get ready to explore places you never even knew existed, or simply take the time to appreciate the simple things. No need to plan an expedition to the countryside, just park your car in a town centre, cross a bridge and you’re there basking in the beauty that is, Carlisle Park.

Hopefully after reading this you’ll feel inspired to have a wander down into Morpeth and find out what itreally has to offer. Strip away the mascarpone cheese, the crumbling biscuits and find the true beauty that lies beneath a small market town that is bursting with surprises. I’ll leave you with this, as Admiral Collingwood (the hero of the battle of Trafalgar) once said: “whenever I think how I am to be happy again, my thoughts carry me back to Morpeth.”

5 thoughts on “A town trail, a history lesson & some cheesecake

  1. How lovely to read Rachel’s enthusiasm for Morpeth’s heritage! It reminds me that I used to enjoy visiting the town and haven’t been for ages (the disc parking put me off some years ago).


  2. Thanks Janet, I’ll pass that onto Rach. You should come an visit – the disc parking stopped when I was about 13! It’s just pay and display these days.


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