The Guide

Here’s my guide to where & when to visit. Wylam is a small village in Northumberland, UK, 15km W of Newcastle. Birthplace of George Stephenson, the Railway man, and with an earlier version of Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge/Sydney Harbour Bridge. Support a good cause. Mark Allison is running around the world to raise money for charity, He is running a a stage of the journey every couple of years.  See details of his journey at the Run Geordie Run website.

Travel to and from Wylam

By Car From Newcastle take the A69 west and turn left when you reach the Wylam turn. By Bus The X84 Go North East bus from Newcastle to Hexham passes through Wylam but bus services to and from Wylam have ceased on Sundays. By Train: Wylam station is on the Tyne Valley Line between Newcastle and Carlisle  with trains operated by Northern Rail(Generally referred to as Northern Fail). Not every train stops at Wylam and even the ones that are supposed to sometimes don’t turn up and note that if you’re travelling from Wylam, if you want to go to Newcastle coming up to Christmas or anytime there’s some major event you’ll be able to watch the trains go past with no room for any passengers by the time they reach Wylam. Taxi: Newcastle to Wylam c £30 Taxi firms Gilmores(Prudhoe) Blue Line(all over) LA Taxis Tyne Valley Cabs – Tel: 07946 401722

Local Guide

Pubs

Wylam used to have four decent pubs all with their own individual character and their own quirky local customers. However as is the case with so many other villages the double scourge of ownership by ‘pub companies’ and high business rates means that few of them now have anything to merit going out of your way to visit. The Fox offers good food(not all day or every day) including Sunday Lunches,)and some excellent beer, The Ship is also a tenancy owned by an evil corporate empire and is now primarily a restaurant. As Wylam only has a population of a couple of thousand, of whom many cannot or choose not to drink in pubs, it would seem likely that some pub(s) would cease trading as they are aiming for a very limited market. Not sure if it is their objective but often(especially during the summer when parties of people go on  ‘Pub-Crawls’ on the Tyne Valley Line) they seem to attract people whose idea of a good night out involves shouting at each other – sometimes obscenely. The Black Bull and the Boathouse are both free houses. They often have cheaper beer(Some would say you get what you pay for). The Boathouse is the only pub that has a bar that is not marred by piped music or the presence of a TV in the bar. All of the pubs occasionally have live music, and the Boathouse is sometimes cursed with Karaoke 🙁
  • The Ship Inn, Wylam – Now predominantly a restaurant(reputedly good)
  • The Boathouse, Wylam – Drink, Thai food, limited car parking, beer garden
  • The Black Bull, Wylam – Drink, food, accommodation. Car parking on the public road(though that mostly means on the footpaths)  and smoking area is the public footpath outside the pub.
  • The Fox and Hounds – Good drink, food, nice management, small car park and some seating outside

Dining

Accommodation

Camping

  • There is an excellent camping and caravan site in Wylam at Stephenson’s Arms
  • The next nearest Camping and Caravan site is at the Hermitage, between Wylam and Ovingham.

Attractions and things to do in the Wylam Area and further afield

Fishing

River Tyne.

  • Salmon.
    • The Tyne, used to be marvelous, and could still provide good sport early in the season, but the Government in their wisdom have decreed that there will be no rod and line caught Salmon retained until July(Anglers have such an impact on fish stocks), so that you can still catch these Spring fish but have to return them(presumably this does them no harm). One would guess that the respite these Spring fish gain, will make them more difficult to catch later in the year and more likely to survive(your guess is as good as mine).Once the weather warms up and water levels drop there have been occasions where there are numbers of distressed fish, thronging the tideway -a problem which also occurs in other rivers. Some people  blame the length of the tideway and the legacy of discharges from heavy industry, coupled with disturbance of the riverbed and surroundings by land reclamation and construction.  Considerable efforts are made by the Environment Agency to alleviate the problem. Personal experience would seem to indicate that when there is sufficient water -the problem is solved.  Fish stocks generally seem to be in decline, and given the fact that other rivers are experiencing similar declines it could be simply that the climate is changing.
  • Sea trout. still arrive from April/May on-wards in the Tyne., The larger fish run earlier. Once they were said to be difficult to catch in the lower reaches of the river, though that seems to have changed of recent years.
  • Trout. Fairly abundant, although since Kielder dam opened(which seems to have coincided with a reduction in the numbers of insects on the surface due to the fact they can only release water from the bottom of the dam which is too cold in Summer) fish are not so often caught on dry fly.

Where to fish.

It should be noted that possession of a rod licence does not entitle you to fish anywhere – you also require the requisite permit from the owner of the fishing and may be prosecuted for theft of fishing should you fail to comply. Wylam used to be good earlier in the season for Salmon, but day tickets are no longer available for trout and coarse fishing due to visiting anglers stealing fish… Further up the Tyne, Bywell, Hexham, Chollerford, Haltwhistle are all good areas, further upriver still  on the North Tyne the Bellingham area provides good sport. For Stillwater trout fishing of excellent quality Hallington offers a variety of ticket alternatives.

Beyond Wylam

Best Park Locally.
  • Saltwell Park, Gateshead(Lake,Maze, Pets corner, best in the area to take your children)
 
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