Steam makes way for pedal power

The loss of the Scotswood, Newburn and Wylam Railway was the cyclist’s gain: the HCW follow its course before taking you through this picturesque Tyneside community, with its own splendid little brewery. Wylam was the home of George Stephenson, ‘father of the railway’, and his cottage is now a bijou museum. The old line, needless to say, ran past its doorway. On the opposite side of the river the Tyne Valley Railway still operates between Newcastle and Carlisle. Wylam has also been home to the novelists Margaret Drabble, Lady Antonia (A.S.) Byatt, not to mention the former BBC boss Greg Dyke. Charles Algernon Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine, lived here, as did rail pioneers William Hedley and Timothy Hackworth. It has benefited – as has the entire Tyne Valley – from the recent prosperity of Newcastle.

Places of interest

Wylam Railway Museum, Falcon Centre, Falcon Tce, Wylam, NE41 8EE. Tues & Thurs 1400-1930; Sat 0900-1200. 01661 852174

George Stephenson’s Birthplace, Wylam NE41 8BP. 19/3/09 – 1/11/09 1200-1700 Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun plus Bank Holiday Mondays. £2 adults £1 children. 01661 853457