Potted history

Most of the 400 inhabitants live on the Northumberland side of the Poltross Burn and the River Irthing. Gilsland Spa has been a popular tourist attraction and there is a Spa Hotel, owned by the Cooperative Society. Sir Walter Scott visited in 1797 and later popularised it. After a whirlwind courtship with French émigré, Margaret Charlotte Charpentier, Scott is said to have proposed at the Popping stone. They married in December 1797. Gilsland, originally an Iron Age settlement, has Milecastle 48 on its doorstep. Farming and mining were its staple businesses but now tourism (courtesy of the Wall) has taken over. Some 100 of the local inhabitants earn part or all their living from tourism and there are plenty of B&Bs.

Places of interest

Tourist Information Centre: 01697 747211

St Mary Magdalene’s Church is set in beautiful rural surroundings. Early English Gothic style. Built and partially endowed by George Gill Mounsey who also erected what is now the Gilsland Spa Hotel.

Gilsland Spa, known in the past for its sulphurous spa waters, is close by.