Ovingham – Corbridge

Never mind that Hadrian’s Wall is a few miles to the north at this point. Roman troops would not have had anything like as good a view of the Tyne. Cross over Ovingham Bridge and hang a left into River View, going past the local school. You are now on the country lane that takes you north of Bywell, just past mile marker 148, going under the A68 near Riding Mill. There is a mile long climb here taking you from Styford Bridge past High Barns. The lane then takes you to a T-junction, where you head left and descend into Corbridge.

Potted History

Corbridge is not just a pretty face, it is a real place. One of the most attractive towns in the north of England, it bustles with activity. Its name probably derives from the Roman ‘coria’, which means ‘tribal centre’. Lying at the junction of Stanegate and Dere Street, it was a major Roman stronghold. The fort here was established in AD 85 and by the middle of the 2nd century a town, with lifehack two walled military compounds, had grown around it. Some spectacular finds have been unearthed, including the Corbridge Lion and the Corbridge Hoard of Armour. The parish church of St Andrew was consecrated in 676 and the first bridge across this broad and fast flowing stretch of the Tyne was built in the 13th century, though the current sevenarched structure dates from 1674. Corbridge, like many towns in the area, suffered during the border warfare in the area from the 14th century. Marauders, known as Reivers, behaved much like a completely unrestrained version of the Sicilian mafia (see Reivers section for gory details). Border warfare, at its height between 1300 and 1550, continued in one form or another for an unconscionable total of 400 years. Having mentioned writers connected with Wylam I feel duty bound to do credit to Corbridge: the town boasts (in addition to South Shields) Catherine Cookson and Ruth Ainsworth, author of the Rufty Tufty Golliwog series.

Tourist Information Centre, Hill St (Easter until end of October).
01434 632815

For background: 01434 322002

Corbridge Roman Town (0.5 miles north west of Corbridge). Substantial remains. Granaries, a stone lion and the Stanegate Road. All comes to life with an audio tour. Open all year round. Admission: £4.50, concessions £3.60, children £2.10. 01434 632349

Cycle shops

Activcycles, 17 Watling St, Corbridge