Discover the Picturesque Towns and Villages of Alston Moor

by | Activities, Alston Moor, Discover Alston, History of Alston Moor, Visit Alston, Visit Alston Cumbria

Nestled in the picturesque North Pennines National Landscape, Alston Moor is an area rich in history, stunning landscapes, and charming communities. From the bustling town of Alston to the quaint villages of Garrigill and Nenthead, along with several serene hamlets, Alston Moor offers a unique glimpse into rural English life. This guide explores the main attractions and historical significance of each locale, making it easy for visitors to plan their perfect getaway.

Towns and Villages of Alston Moor


 Alston Marketplace in the villages of Alston Moor

Alston Marketplace – The bustling heart of the highest market town in England.

Alston, the highest market town in England, is known for its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and vibrant community.

  • History: Alston’s roots date back to Roman times, with its significance growing during the lead mining boom of the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Reasons to Visit: The town’s charming streets are lined with independent shops, cafes, and galleries. Alston’s location within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty makes it a perfect base for exploring the surrounding countryside.
  • Things to Do: Take a ride on the South Tynedale Railway, a heritage steam railway that offers stunning views of the Tyne Valley. Visit the Hub Museum to learn about the town’s rich industrial past.


Garrigill Village Green in the villages of Alston Moor

Garrigill Village Green – A peaceful retreat in the picturesque village of Garrigill.

It may be ones of the lesser known villages of Alston Moor, but Garrigill is a picturesque settlement on the South Tyne River, known for its beautiful scenery and historical landmarks centred on the quaint village green.

  • History: Originally named Garrigill Gate, the village has a long history associated with lead mining.
  • Reasons to Visit: Garrigill is a popular stop for walkers and cyclists exploring the Pennine Way and C2C. The village green and surrounding landscapes offer a peaceful retreat.
  • Things to Do: Visit the 17th-century St. John’s Church, a charming building with a rich history. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Pennine Way, taking in the stunning natural beauty of the area.


Nenthead Centre and Historic Chapel in the villages of Alston Moor

Nenthead Centre and Historic Chapel – A glimpse into the rich mining heritage of Nenthead.

The largest of the two villages of Alston Moor, Nenthead is one of the highest villages in England, known for its mining heritage and scenic beauty.

  • History: Nenthead was developed in the 18th century by the London Lead Company, making it one of the most important lead mining centers in the country.
  • Reasons to Visit: The village’s rich industrial heritage is evident in its historic buildings and mining sites. Nenthead is surrounded by beautiful moorland, ideal for outdoor activities.
  • Things to Do: Explore the Nenthead Mines, where guided tours provide insight into the village’s mining past. Visit the Nenthead Chapel, a Grade II listed building that highlights the village’s cultural history.

Hamlets of Alston Moor


 Former Nenthall Hotel in the villages of Alston Moor

The former Nenthall Hotel – A historic landmark in the tranquil hamlet of Nenthall.

Known for its beautiful countryside and proximity to Alston, Nenthall is perfect for nature lovers and walkers.

  • History: Nenthall has a quiet charm, with historical ties to the surrounding mining activities of Alston Moor.
  • Reasons to Visit: Its close proximity to Alston makes it an ideal spot for those looking to explore the town’s amenities while staying in a more secluded environment.
  • Things to Do: Enjoy hiking and nature walks, taking in the panoramic views of the North Pennines.


 Isaac's Tea Trail between Nentsberry and Wellgill in the villages of Alston Moor

Isaac’s Tea Trail between Nentsberry and Wellgill – A scenic route showcasing the natural beauty of the villages of Alston Moor.

A small, peaceful hamlet with scenic views and easy access to hiking trails.

  • History: Nentsberry has a rich mining heritage, with many remnants of the past still visible in the landscape.
  • Reasons to Visit: It’s an ideal spot for those seeking tranquility and a deeper connection with nature.
  • Things to Do: Explore local trails, and perhaps visit nearby historical mining sites.


Offers a quiet escape with its rolling hills and serene environment.

  • History: Like many hamlets in the area, Galligill’s history is intertwined with the mining industry.
  • Reasons to Visit: Its serene setting is perfect for relaxation and quiet reflection.
  • Things to Do: Engage in outdoor activities like walking and bird watching, enjoying the peaceful countryside.


Hilltop in Blagill in the villages of Alston Moor

Hilltop, Blagill – Experience the serene environment of Galligill from the scenic hilltops.

Rich in history and natural beauty, Blagill is ideal for those seeking tranquility.

  • History: Blagill’s historical significance is tied to its agricultural roots and nearby mining activities.
  • Reasons to Visit: The hamlet offers a peaceful retreat with beautiful views and a sense of stepping back in time.
  • Things to Do: Stroll through the scenic landscapes, and appreciate the rural charm.


Ashgill Force in the villages of Alston Moor

Ashgill Force – The breathtaking waterfall near the hamlet of Ashgill, a highlight of the villages of Alston Moor.

Famous for the stunning Ashgill Force waterfall, a must-visit for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

  • History: Ashgill has a history deeply connected to the natural beauty of its waterfall and surrounding areas.
  • Reasons to Visit: The waterfall is a major draw, offering spectacular views and a peaceful environment.
  • Things to Do: Visit Ashgill Force for breathtaking photo opportunities and enjoy nearby hiking trails.


Fells above Leadgate in the villages of Alston Moor

Fells above Leadgate – Explore the scenic fells and mining heritage of the villages of Alston Moor.

Steeped in mining history, this hamlet provides a glimpse into the area’s industrial past.

  • History: Leadgate’s name itself reflects its historical connection to the lead mining industry.
  • Reasons to Visit: It offers a historical perspective on the area’s mining past, combined with scenic beauty.
  • Things to Do: Explore remnants of the mining era and take walks in the surrounding countryside.


 Farmhouse at Bayles in the villages of Alston Moor

Farmhouse at Bayles – A charming rural residence in the peaceful hamlet of Bayles within the villages of Alston Moor.

A quaint hamlet offering peaceful walks and beautiful landscapes.

  • History: Bayles is known for its agricultural background and quiet, rural lifestyle.
  • Reasons to Visit: The hamlet provides a tranquil setting for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • Things to Do: Enjoy leisurely walks and the serene beauty of the North Pennines.


Known for its picturesque scenery and rural charm, perfect for a relaxing visit.

  • History: Raise has a long-standing history of farming and rural community life.
  • Reasons to Visit: Its scenic landscapes make it a perfect spot for relaxation and photography.
  • Things to Do: Engage in outdoor activities like hiking and nature photography, taking in the serene surroundings.

Explore the Villages of Alston Moor

Exploring the towns and villages of Alston Moor is like stepping back in time. From the historical significance of Alston and Nenthead to the serene beauty of Garrigill and the charming hamlets, this area offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying the stunning landscapes, the villages of Alston Moor provide a unique and memorable experience.

By immersing yourself in the rich culture and history of the villages of Alston Moor, you can enjoy a truly authentic and enriching visit. Plan your trip today and discover the hidden gems of this beautiful region.

Salvin House Alston

Salvin House living room in the villages of Alston Moor

Relax in the cosy and comfortable living room at Salvin House after exploring the villages of Alston Moor.

For a comfortable and memorable stay while exploring the villages of Alston Moor, consider lodging at Salvin House. This charming guesthouse offers cozy accommodations with modern amenities, providing a perfect retreat after a day of sightseeing. Situated conveniently within Alston, Salvin House combines historical charm with contemporary comfort, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable stay as you discover the wonders of Alston Moor.



Rob Lawson is a property investor and communications consultant who grew up in the South Tyne Valley. With a deep passion for historical preservation, he fell in love with Salvin House and committed to restoring it to its former glory. With a vision that blends respect for its heritage and modern comforts, Rob has revived this historic gem for future generations to appreciate.


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