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Yeavering Bell


<b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by fitzcoraldoImage © fitzcoraldo
Nearest Town:Coldstream (14km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   NT927292 / Sheets: 74, 75
Latitude:55° 33' 22.69" N
Longitude:   2° 6' 56.65" W

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Yeavering Bell Conference / Northumberland Hillforts Project

Yeavering Bell Conference
A national conference will be held next month to examine Yeavering Bell, the biggest and most spectacular hill fort in Northumberland... continues...
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th February 2003ce

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<b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by postman <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by juamei <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by pebblesfromheaven <b>Yeavering Bell</b>Posted by pebblesfromheaven


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It's hard to say how long I've been wanting to get my tired bones up this hill, Stewart Ainsworth from time team was the first to alert me to it's existence, during a dig at Bamburgh castle. He suggested the two sites were in contest for the area, the one with the castle came out on top, apparently. Looking on google earth reveals a wide wall round the whole hill top, and I do like a good walled hill fort, so on the list it went. I've been past it a couple of times, even been over to the Battle stone at the hills foot, but from there the hill looks high and difficult to find an easy way up. Looks aint deceivin'.

Winter solstice 2018, after an almost successful sunrise at Duddo, I decide it's time to make that climb, the climb of the Bell, the Bell that Yeavers.
I park the car on the B6351 at the Grefrin (site of) monument, it's a fairly obvious place. Then walk down the road to the Battle stone, arriving at the stone I take a quick look round and make a dash for the hill, dashing because i'm pretty sure this isn't the proper way up. But i'm a massive fan of the direct route, if I can see where I want to go, i'll always go in a straight line, a bit Roman innit.
There are fences that have to be crossed before you can disappear from view into the trees, but once through them the hill side is open and it's just a whole lot of upness.

It gets harder and harder with each passing year negotiating these steep climbs, and this was one of the steepest, but after fighting only two heart attacks I reach the eastern entrance to the fort. After picking myself up from the inevitable collapse.
I sit round for a bit getting my breath back and taking in the vista, appreciating the strong cold winds, it's been a while since I could actually and literally look down on the world. But there's no time for nonsense, my daughter is waiting in the car, and I've a special stone circle to find after this, so I head south following the forts wall clockwise round the hill top.

The totally collapsed wall is a very wide stony spread, how high would the wall have stood? could you climb over it, or was there a fence with it, on it? Was it mainly for show?
Who knows, right now, i'm just following it.

I take a walk up to the topest most top of the hill, there's supposed to be a cairn, but it's just another grassy bump so I retreat from the biting wind back down to the southern rampart and keep following all the way to the western end of the fort. From here I think I can see where the Hethpool stone circles are. From there I take a turn round onto the northern rampart and back into the wind, It's not so bad back down on the valley floor but up here it's literally pushing me about. From here I look back down to the road, my car is a little silver dot, in the field beyond my car is a henge, apparently now only visible as a crop mark, if grass is a crop. But I feel I can actually see a circular something on the edge of the field. It doesn't take long til i'm back at the eastern entrance. I bid a fond farewell to Yeavering Bell, and take an even more straight line back to the road, passing the Battle stone one more time. If I do pass this way again I wont be stopping, there are still lots of other sites that will be taking my obsession into the future.

God bless the obsessed.
postman Posted by postman
7th April 2019ce
Edited 7th April 2019ce

I was up here on Sunday as part of the Yeavering conference.
The day started with a visit to Maelmin which set the context of Yeavering bell being a sacred hill to the people of the neolithic. The Coupland henge being orientated towards the twin peaks of the Bell. Clive Waddington and Paul Frodsham explained how the Bell was the most nothern most hill of the Cheviot Massif and how it stood apart from the rest of the hills.
From Maelmin we were bussed to Ad Gefrin at the foot of the Bell. This is the site of King Edwins palace and the place where Paulinus converted and baptised the Northumbrians in the River Glen.
Following a look around the site we proceeded up the Bell via the tumble down barn known as the Old Palace which was probably a bastle.
The woodland on the north face of the Bell is last piece of ancient woodland in the national park.
Yeavering means place of the goats and you can still see wild goats and their kids chilling out in the valley below the footpath. As you follow the path around the back of the Bell you can see evidence of field systems with low walls still intact.
The Hillfort itself is huge, the stone walls, although collapsed, are still huge and completely encircle the twin summits for 950m enclosing an area of 13.5 acres. The walls in some places were 8m thick.
Once inside the fort there is evidence everywhere of hut circles, there are at least 125.
The eastern peak has a modern walkers cairn on top of it but there was originally a neolithic burial cairn on this site.
The views from this place are fantastic. The Millfield basin, the sandstone fells, the coastal plain and the Cheviots can all be seen in a wonderful panorama. We could see the crop marks of at least two of the Millfield Henges and aparently when the crop in the field at the foot the Bell is growing you can see the henge there too.
All in all a crackin' day and an excellent site.
Get yersel' there.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
1st April 2003ce
Edited 30th November 2003ce

23-3-03. Walked up using the recommended route in the Tourist Info leaflet :-) Passed some wild mountain goats & kids (aw!!) and plenty of grouse, none of them famous. Got to the top and met 20 ramblers from Newcastle, which was nice.

After they'd gone, had the place to myself, tried to imagine a community up here. Felt a bit freaked out so instead tried to make out the outlines of the huts which had been here. The ground is so uneven with heather and tuffets of grass they are hard to see now. But it's easy to see why they chose this place to live.
The local geology is evident: pink granite against black peat soil. No point trying to carve Rock Art here; better going to Doddington / Weetwood / Old Bewick / Routin Linn...all within walking distance of here and made of much softer sandstone...

pebblesfromheaven Posted by pebblesfromheaven
25th March 2003ce


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Not about Yeavering Bell, but a cairn / crag on its southern side*. It's a story that seems to be found all over Britain.
South of the Bell half a mile is a cairn called Tam Tallon's Grave. A packman was hanged here, by his pack falling on one side of the stone, over his neck, while his body remained on the other.
p247 in 'Annals and Antiquities of Dryburgh and Other Places on the Tweed', by Sir David Erskine (2nd ed. 1836). Online at Google Books.

*see Hob's comment.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th May 2007ce
Edited 29th August 2007ce


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This from ARCHI
Hethpool: possible stone circle, Yeavering Bell, NT 918 270
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
7th February 2003ce

Yeavering Bell is the most prominent hill of the northern Cheviots
overlooking the Milfield basin and is topped by the biggest hillfort in Northumbria. It overlooks the crossroads of north-southand east-west routes. Gefrin was obviously positioned with this in mind -in view of and on trading routes, and closeby to the fertile land of the floodplain(but high enough not to be flooded). Although, as you'll see if you read the fieldnotes about Gefrin, the area is rich in Saxon Christian history, the area has been used and reused for millennia by Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age peoples.

Also I'd like to point out that feral goats clamber about on the hill.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th February 2003ce

Old news from October 2002 -

National Park Archaeologists found 34 holes at the site made by metal detectorists (hiss).

Dr. Rob Young, the National Park Archaeologist, said: ‘This represents a serious and worrying development in the National Park. Such damage has never occurred on this scale before. The Police and English Heritage have been informed. The activity is highly illegal as the site is an ancient monument protected by law. The culprits could be liable for up to two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine when they are caught and they would also probably be charged with the theft of the objects that they took away.’

‘Ancient monuments may look pretty substantial, but each one is unique and they represent a fragile resource which action like this damages irreparably. Objects removed from any archaeological site in this kind of uncontrolled way lose all of their historic value as we have no understanding of precisely where on the site they have come from.'
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th February 2003ce


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Google Books

George Tate's dig report - Vol 4, History of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club, 1857.
mascot Posted by mascot
24th February 2011ce
Edited 25th February 2011ce

Northumberland National Park.

Information board showing access routes and giving an overview of this site.
Also a leaflet at
mascot Posted by mascot
22nd February 2011ce
Edited 23rd February 2011ce