1st August 2021
Horsley W.I. committee has decided not to plan any events at the present time.
NCC HIghways dept failed to keep their appointment to clean the village gutters early last week despite the efforts made by the parish council and our local district councillor Holly Waddell. Many residents had parked their vehicles elsewhere to allow the street cleaner to have a clear passage.
Horsley Book Club members are recommended to read Entry Island by Peter May. The book is a crime novel set in eighteenth century Scotland and present day Canada.
The NCC library bus will visit the village on Wednesday August 18th. The times are 3pm at Cherrytree gardens and 3.45 pm at Stonecroft. You can join the library on the bus and return any books borrowed from other Northumberland libraries. Please try to use the service otherwise it may eventually be withdrawn. A reminder too that there are free books in the bus shelter opposite the old Crown and Anchor.
Horsley Parish Council has asked for the statistical information related to the monitoring of speed through the village. The council was not happy about the siting of the census equipment. It was positioned in the same place on two occasions and on a site in the road where cars are regularly parked and where vehicles generally have to slow down to pass safely.
The play area in the village park has had a favourable inspection with only minor work required. The skate ramp however does need some attention.
Sport Tynedale and the Citizens Advice bureau have each received a £50 donation towards their community services from the parish council.
25th July 2021
Horsley Parish Council with the support of our local district councillor have arranged for all the gutters in the village to be cleaned this week. The gutters are full of gravel and weeds much of which has come from potholes. The state of the main road through the village is of great concern. Residents are encouraged to support the parish councillor by writing to NCC Highways at county hall in Morpeth to complain about the uneven surface of the road and its associated noise pollution.
The new security fence around Horsley water treatment works has been erected. The height is lower than originally planned. Tree planting is also planned for the site to screen the works from public view. This week excess soil and rubble will be removed from the site. Contractors will exit the village by Water Lane to the west. Please report any contractor who uses the village for access to and from the site.
Horsley garden Club will be inviting members to compete in some of their summer competitions. These include best planters, tallest sunflowers and best hanging baskets.
The summer art fair at the Hearth was very successful. Everyone felt Covid safe as the measures in place worked well. Artists studios are open on a regular basis.
Croft’s well at the bottom of Croft’s Lane is one of several natural springs in Horsley. It occurs where a layer of porous sandstone meets an impermeable layer of shale. These two rock strata strike gently towards the Tyne. Experts believe the spring is a holy well and sacred. It’s proximity to the medieval village of Horsley would suggest it was an important water source at that time.
The Butterfly conservation group have started their annual butterfly count and are asking local residents to take part. Details are on their website which has lots of information and colourful charts to download.
Thirty trees have been ordered from the Woodland Trust by Horsley Parish Council for community planting around the village this autumn. The initiative is part of a national drive to improve the environment.
The X85 bus service will no longer call at Horsley or Heddon. The bus is being diverted along the by pass. This leaves the village with only one hourly bus service between Carlisle and Newcastle.
The exterior of Horsley village church and parts of the Hearth are currently being painted. Further painting outside the Hearth will take place in September when the cafe will be closed for one week.
Please check NCC library service website for details and times of NCC library bus visits to the village.
The return of the fish and chip van to the village was popular with residents. Please check Frosts fish and chip face book page for times and dates of future visits. Currently it is not a weekly service. The van will park in Cherrytree gardens on all visits.
18th July 2021
It is worth a visit to southern boundary of Horsley parish at this time of year to see a number of wild flowers that are normally found in the upper Tyne and Allen valleys. The rivers have washed out old toxic mineral workings containing lead and copper and deposited them on the river bank below Horsley Wood. Heartease, Alpine pennygrass and bladder campion are commonly found on these metallic soils just to mention a few.
Work on the roof at the rear of the Hearth is now complete. Many thanks to Robert for his hard work.
The book boxes in the eastbound bus shelter have proven to be popular with residents of all ages. New books are added regularly and all are free.
Frost’s fish and chip van will visit Horsley on Tuesday July 20th between 4.30 and 6.30 pm. Several residents have asked for this former service to be resumed. Robert has agreed to a one off visit as a trial run with a view to it becoming permanent. The van will park at Cherrytree gardens.
Wright bros summer bus service to Keswick may start during the school holidays. You would need to check the times with the company and book a seat for your day of travel.
NCC library service has started visiting the village every fortnight. The times of the visit are Wednesday 3.30pm at the W.I. hall and 4.15 pm at the bus stop near Stonecroft. The next visit is Wednesday July 21st. The librarian is willing to bring borrowed books to your doorstep if ordered in advance. The service operates from an unmarked white transit van.
Dog thieves may be operating in our parish according to observations made by one resident. Please be vigilant if you are a dog owner.
27th June 2021
A reminder that Oatens Bank, the lane between Horsley Barns and Harlow Hill, will be closed to traffic between July 5th and 9th with a possible extension to the 14th if the scheduled work is not completed.
The refurbished Hearth hall is available to hire for community activities. Please check the Hearth website for details. Competitive rental rates apply and every effort has been made to ensure the hall is Covid safe and follows government guidelines.
The summer art fair at the Hearth will take place on the 17th and 18th July between 11am and 4pm each day. Anyone who would like to come to the fair is kindly asked to obtain a free timed ticket online using the Hearth website. In this way social distancing can be observed. The hall and some studios will be open for the event.
Horsley village church members are planning three events in July. On July 4th there will be a short service at 9.15 am in the Hearth car park followed by breakfast in the cafe. On July 11th at 11am there will be a live streamed service in the village church from the URC National Assembly. Face masks and social distancing are a requirement.
On July 18th there will be an 11am service in a private garden in the village.
If you examine our local OS map Explorer 316 it still marks in red letters disused workings to the north of the A69. These were opencast coal extraction sites which are still remembered by local people. Standing on Horsley Hill and taking in the stunning scenery today it is difficult to visualise this former scar on our landscape which went as far west as Spital.
Many varieties of birds returned to Horsley in order to breed this year. These include oyster catchers that have been using the temporary waste tip inside Horsley Water treatment works and lapwings in the fields beside Oatens Bank.
Horsley Book Club members meet in the Hearth cafe on Friday July 2nd. Members who wish to attend should have already booked a seat in the cafe.
Horsley Parish Council meets in the WI hall at 7pm on Monday July 19th. Members of the general public are invited to attend.
20 June 2021
The Hearth cafe which is open 7 days each week continues to provide hospitality with indoor and outdoor seating. Certain restrictions still apply now that the government has extended its road map for a further 4 weeks. The cafe staff have a strict cleaning routine which includes sanitising every chair and table after the departure of every customer. They thank you for being patient during this regulated procedure.
Horsley craft club are meeting again in the Hearth cafe at 2pm on June 24th.
The gardening club continue to meet every Saturday at 10.30am in the raised bed area behind the Lion and Lamb.
Hearth artists are planning their summer art fair on the 17th and 18th July. Some of the larger studios will be open as well as the hall. Every effort will be made to establish social distancing. The artists are also planning a fair prior to Christmas on the 20th and 21st of November.
The public right of way between Horsley Hill and Northside is blocked by overgrown vegetation and overhanging branches in the field closest to the hill. Unfortunately this is creating problems for walkers and the farmer as people are walking into the crop. The matter has been reported to NCC who have this path designated for a summer cut each year.
13 June 2021
It is almost 60 years since the closure of Horsley village school. All that remains today is the head teachers house on the corner of Main road and Highcrofts. The site on which the school stood is now occupied by play facilities and housing. Cherrytree gardens has been built on the site of the school allotment. Several residents who attended the school still live locally and many old photographs are available.
Horsley village church members are looking at ways in which to celebrate the National Day of Thanks on July 4th if the government plans are not put on hold.
The public right of way between Horsley Marsh and the A69 roundabout has been reinstated by the farmer to prevent people walking through the crop. Other rights of way have or are about to be reinstated in other parts of the parish. Many thanks to all the farmers concerned. The hard work is appreciated and will keep paths open for all to enjoy as well as minimising damage to crops.
Yet more potholes have been filled in on the main road through the village. Whilst this has been appreciated many residents question the value of filling in so many potholes when a blanket of tarmac would have been a better long term solution and at the same time reduced noise pollution. The same parts of the road particularly at the west end of the village are regularly repaired.
The eastbound bus shelter opposite Castle View is now home to a free book collection point. Residents can collect a books from here at any time. It is hoped to fit out a storage unit for the books which will enable the idea to continue at all times in the year.
6 June 2021
Over the past year volunteers have been locating and charting our local footpaths. This is part of the Slow Ways project which went live on the internet on April 23rd. The project will map all of our rights of way and enable people to walk safely between every settlement. Many of the paths in our area date back as far as the Roman occupation. It is important to maintain our rights of way and reclaim any lost paths. Thousands of miles of paths have been lost to developers and landowners according to research done by the Ramblers Association.
The lane between Horsley Barns and Harlow Hill known as Oatens Bank will be closed to all traffic between July 5th and 9th to allow BT to put ducting under the carriageway. The closure could be extended to July 14th if the work requires more time to complete. The lane has been in a poor state of repair for several years with inadequate ditching and numerous potholes.
A new sign has been placed on a post in Mill Way near Horsley Wood cottages reminding motorists that children our playing nearby. There have been issues with speeding on this lane.
Part of the right of way along the north bank of the river Tyne alongside Horsley Wood has been temporarily diverted to allow Northumbrian Water to make essential repairs and improvements to the utility where the company extracts water from the river to feed Horsley Water treatment works. This is close to the site of the old ferry between Horsley Wood and Hagg Bank. When the colliery in the wood was closed many miners found work at Hagg Bank colliery and used the ferry to get to work. Once Wylam bridge was constructed the ferry went out of use.
30 May 2021
If I had to recommend one walk from Horsley village it would be the 4 mile Spital round. The route offers fantastic views and a wide variety of flora and fauna. You leave the village along Lead Lane crossing the A69 to Horsley Hills. Take the lane towards Harlow Hill then the byway through Spital to the ford. At the ford turn south towards Whittle and return to the village by Horsley Barns along the old A69. The parish website has a map of local walks.
The parish council are keen to support community tree planting this autumn after the success of the family tree planting event at the Hearth. The initiative is being encouraged by the Woodland Trust.
Dog owners in the parish need to be aware of the toxic hazard relating to rape seed. The Dogs Trust is keen to remind people that the plant can cause blindness and damage the nervous system as well as causing a wide range of other health problems for dogs. Fortunately this year only a couple of rights of way in the west of the parish cross fields with a rape seed crop.
The lease on the village play areas has only another 5 years left to run with no option for an extension. Horsley parish council who pay the rent for these play areas and maintain the equipment intend to contact Alnwick Estates who own the land to discuss the issue. The council have invested a great deal of money over the last few years improving the play areas for children. Horsley has no public spaces for recreation.
Members of Horsley village church held their first Sunday service after the recent lockdown. The service was held in a private garden. The church remains closed for the time being.
Horsley Book Club members are meeting in the Hearth cafe at 2pm on Friday June 4th. The group meeting will include a book swap. New members are always welcome.
23 May 2021
It is a great time of year to visit the upper part of Whittle Dene which is managed by the Woodland Trust and is partly within Horsley parish. The bluebells, wild garlic and spotted orchids are in full bloom and quite spectacular under the fresh green leaves in the tree canopy.
At the AGM of Horsley Parish Council the chairperson, Michael Senior, thanked all community volunteers for the work they do around the parish. This includes litter picking, cleaning bus shelters, upkeep of planters and the war memorial, speed gun operation and reports and maintenance of rights of way. The meeting was held in the village hall for the first time in over a year with only two members of the public present. Parish councils are no longer able to address the public using the internet. The next meeting of the council will be at the WI hall on the 19th July.
The Lion and Lamb, Horsley antiques centre and the Hearth arts centre are now fully open to the public albeit with some precautions to help prevent the transmission of Covid 19. There is no need to make an appointment to visit an artist in their studio at the Hearth however it is best to book a table at the cafe and the Lion and Lamb if you wish to dine inside.
Adrian Jackson has been awarded the grass cutting contract in Horsley village and at the cottages near the wood. Community members at Horsley Wood Cottages are asking for new signage to alert motorists to the fact that there are children playing near Mill Way.
Horsley Parish Council intend to ask NCC highways department if they would clear overgrown vegetation from kerbstones. Work of this nature has been done east of Holeyn Lane crossroads. However the area to the west of the crossroads through the village to Horsley Barns need attention. The surface of the main road through the village is once again deteriorating with several deep potholes and a huge amount of gravel in the gutters. It is hoped to seek the help of our new district councillor, Holly Waddell, to discuss the problem and invite her to attend future parish meetings.
15 May 2021
Please take care particularly if you are walking a dog along any of the four public footpaths that lead from the village. At this time of year cattle are excited to be on fresh grass and those with young are quite nervous and protective. Kindly note that the bridge at the east end of the village is not a public right of way and according to a local land agent neither are areas of set aside. NCC as yet have been unable to cut back overgrown vegetation on the path to Wylam near Horsley Banks and the two paths from Horsley Hills to Northside. Hopefully all reported faults around the parish will be rectified shortly. Farmers are obliged to reinstate public rights of way once crops come through and ensure the legal width of paths from boundaries are correct. The safest route at present to avoid cattle is the path following the old A69 road at Horsley Barns. Paths that need reinstating are those already mentioned as well as the path between Horsley Marsh and the A69 roundabout and the two paths that cross Gallow Hill between Horsley and Ovingham.
The Hearth hall has been refurbished and a new kitchen fitted. The hall will be open for bookings from May 17th. Cosmetic work around the new church steps is also finished although work on the church and Hearth roof is still awaiting completion.
The new tenants at the Lion and Lamb are working hard to have the public house in good shape for reopening on May 24th. Drinks will be served on the first night and meals will be served from May 25th.
9 May 2021
The AGM of Horsley Parish Council will take place in the WI hall at 7pm on Monday May 17th. The bi monthly meeting will follow on after the AGM. Please contact the parish clerk if you have any items to place on the agenda of either meeting. It is unclear at present if there will be restrictions on the number of people able to attend. Best to check parish website or notice boards nearer the time for up to date information.
Horsley gardening club members continue to meet every Saturday at 10am in the field behind the Lion and Lamb with the kind permission of new tenants.
The Hearth cafe has expanded its undercover outdoor seating area by using spaces in the rear garden. From Tuesday May 18th visitors may be able to use the inside of the cafe with opening times being extended to 4pm. However much still depends on the success of the government road map. From May 24th the cafe will be open seven days per week. During lockdown the cafe was closed on a Monday.
Landowners, local councils and individuals in Horsley are being encouraged by the Woodland Trust to plant native trees this autumn. Felling in Horsley Wood and in other parts of the parish has greatly reduced the number of trees at a time when the country as a whole needs more trees to support wildlife and improve the quality of air. As a local community we could play our part and highlight suitable areas around the parish to support this initiative. Nearby parishes have already planted numerous trees through a variety of other programmes.
Ornithologists would have been surprised last week by the presence of a white feathered heron sheltering in the field adjoining Hopside farm.
Horsley Book Club members have agreed to meet at the Hearth cafe on a monthly basis. Meetings will take place during the afternoon on the first Friday of each month. The June meeting will feature a book swop.
3 May 2021
Well done Horsley village church. The new entrance to the church is not only aesthetically pleasing but also in keeping with the Gothic revival style of architecture of the building. All of the railings have been made safer by capping the sharp spikes. The lane at the side of the church has been given a top dressing of gravel.
The May lockdown village raffle has been drawn and the winner notified. Many thanks to those who donate prizes.
Horsley Book Club members may like to read “A gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. The story which is set in the years following the Russian Revolution has all the ingredients of a good novel.
NCC mobile library service resumed last month. For details of the time of visits to the village please ring 01670 620204. Unfortunately the service is still using a van as no replacement bus has been provided after flooding in Hexham.
Horsley garden club members have been taking part in the National Trust Blossom Watch by taking sending the Trust local photographs by e mail. The blackthorn in particularly has been spectacular at the east end of the village this year.
It is good to see the swallows back in Horsley despite the cold weather.
25 April 2021
Many congratulations to Alice and Sarah Bramwell who ran 100 miles last month to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s. They were sponsored for a total of £500.
The Hearth is advertising for a new administrator. The post is permanent part time covering three days each week and based at the Hearth arts centre. Details are provided on www.thehearth.co.uk/job-description with the closing date for applications on May 6th. Best wishes and many thanks to Jo Bourne who is retiring from the post. Also many thanks to Becky Senior who is leaving the post of caretaker at the Hearth.
The by way near the ford at Spital has finally dried out and is now accessible on foot. Many thanks to Verity and David for allowing walkers to use the adjoining field whilst the by way was under water. Overhanging branches have been removed to allow easier access and let in more light.
Police and crime commissioner and district council elections take place on May 6th. Horsley Village Hall will be used as a polling station. There are four candidates to choose from in each election.
Horsley gardening club members will be meeting informally every Saturday at 10.30 am behind the Lion and Lamb where members have established raised beds for growing vegetables. For the time being the new landlord from the Lion and Lamb has given members permission to use this space. Sadly there is no allotment provision in the village.
At present visitors to the Hearth cafe are asked to enter the building by the rear door as a one way system is in operation. Everyone is kindly asked to wear a face mask and sanitise hands as they pass through the building to the outdoor areas. A trace and track system is also in operation.
Many families in the village are using the Horsley connections link on WhatsApp. This has proven to be a lifeline for many people during the pandemic. It provides local information, exchange of ideas, a friendly chat and much more. There is also a Horsley mum,s group using What’s app supporting families with children.
18 April 2021
Horsley was once a village that was almost self sufficient. It had two public houses, a joiners shop, blacksmiths, doctors, garage, several shops and a school. The school had its own allotment garden where Highcrofts and Cherrytree gardens are sited. With the advent of telecommunications, the internet and increased car ownership almost all of the original village services have disappeared with many of the buildings put to other use or demolished. However the Lion and Lamb is set to reopen under a new tenancy. No date for reopening has been announced as yet.
Artist studios at the Hearth are once again open by appointment . Please check the Hearth website for information about each artist. If an artist is in residence when you visit the cafe you may be able to visit a studio on speck. The cafe is operating a one way system at present with access by the rear door.
The X85 bus service between Newbrough and Newcastle started last week after being suspended during the lockdown. Hopefully the summer bus service to Keswick will be able to run from July.
The recent spell of cold weather seems to have put spring on hold. Photographs from last year would suggest that Horsley is two weeks behind 2020. However the house martins have returned and we should expect the swallows to arrive next week.
Many of the rights of way in the parish have now dried out after the wet winter. Please take care particularly when walking a dog on the right of way between Water Lane and Ovingham. Somebody has been breaking glass bottles on the path close to the Water Lane entrance.
A new kitchen has been fitted in the Hearth hall and refurbishment in the Hearth cafe is now complete. Work is still ongoing around the church and on the roof at the rear of the Hearth. The church railings will be fitted in the next two weeks.
Horsley craft club members met using the internet last week. The group is planning to meet outdoors in a variety of locations to extend their craft activities.
11 April 2021
The Poppy appeal on behalf of the British Legion raised £4400 in our local area . £22 was raised through the Hearth cafe. The appeal took place at a difficult time and the pandemic imposed restrictions on the ceremony at the village war memorial. However local groups were able to make donations for poppy wreaths.
There are a number of scams going around the village by e mail or telephone at present. Please be on your guard as they look or sound official and convincing. All these scams want is your bank details. They are preying upon people at a time when they may be feeling vulnerable.
Twenty seven families are now using the Horsley Connections What’sapp telecommunication. This group link has been of real benefit to people since the onset of the pandemic. It provides news, an exchange of goods and ideas, a friendly chat, advice from others and much more. There is also a Horsley mum’s group providing a helpful link for people with young children. These are two of the positive things to come out of the current crisis to give people hope, support and a feeling of not being alone.
It is interesting to note how our shopping habits have changed in this rural village of Horsley. Courier post and supermarket deliveries are the norm at present particularly during lockdown periods. Long gone are the days when Horsley had a garage with a shop, a post office and a Walter Wilson store. Many will remember the horse and cart belonging to William Mordew who delivered market garden produce. However it is good to know that you can still get a newspaper and milk delivered to your door or walk up to the Hearth cafe for a takeout or a selection of groceries.
Many thanks to all those who responded to my request for information on the tragic death of Nigel Crunchbucket at the old Crown and Anchor. One reply came in an envelope from the House of Commons. An old archive revealed in verse that Nigel’s death was an accident after a failed love affair. What is certain however was that he was born and died coincidently on the morning of an April 1st. The exact years are still unknown.
4 April 2021
Another village lockdown raffle draw took place this month. All the winners have received their prizes. Many thanks to the families who donated the wine, chocolates and cake. Although the monthly raffle has helped cheer people up during difficult times as well as showing the generosity of local people let us hope we don’t have to endure another lockdown.
Some potholes have been filled in on Oatens Bank and on the main road through Horsley village. However the roads around the village remain a patchwork of filled and unfilled potholes adding to noise pollution in the village. The main road in the village which is a main thoroughfare and bus route needs resurfacing. NCC have swept some of the pavements however much of the gravel from broken road surfaces remain on paths and in gutters providing an added hazard for walkers. If you are concerned about the state of footpaths and roads in the village it would be helpful to email or write to Highways section at County Hall in Morpeth. This is more likely to get attention than anything else as well as supporting the efforts made by the parish clerk.
The. s Easter egg hunt around the village and Horsley Wood Cottages was very popular. Once again many thanks to Mathew Roe who organised the event and to the many families who donated Easter eggs.
The Hearth cafe reopens on Tuesday 13th April at 9.30am. Apart from takeaways you can now book a table in the garden by ringing 01661 853563.
Craft supplies from Hearth artists, trustees and the village church are being donated to the Miners Lamp cafe in Prudhoe and the West Northumberland food bank. Many thanks to Mel Hopwood for coordinating this effort.
Horsley village church members are continually looking for ways to support the parish. The church noticeboard changes regularly with cheerful messages. Craft supplies for local children are free and can be found in the plastic tub in the Hearth cafe garden.
If you have missed any of the Hearth virtual festival you are able to catch up on your computer using UTube and Google. There is an amazing choice of activities to suit all ages. Check out the Hearth website for details.