Waymarker Lower Ouseburn Valley

Waymarkers – Lewis Robinson 2002

Before descending into the lower Ouseburn Valley, there is a ‘Waymarker’, one of a series of signposts, artworks which recur throughout the Lower Ouseburn, all have a distinct appearance and color.

Made from Steel and Glass, commissioned by – The Ouseburn Partnership. The project comprises a series of Waymarkers designed to highlight the main routes through the valley, to encourage more walkers and cyclists to use the area.

The Waymarkers draw on local history and culture for their inspiration and are interconnected by a trail of bottles marking the route through the valley. Lewis Robinson worked closely with the partnership and community to develop the project.

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Teesside University - School of Arts & Media - School staff

Teesside University – School of Arts & Media – School staffhttp://www.tees.ac.uk/schools/sam/staff_profile_details.cfm?staffprofileid=U0023662Lewis Robinson Senior Lecturer, School of Arts & Media T: 01642 738061E: lewis.robinson@tees.ac.uk Research institute: Institute of Design, Culture and the Arts
Photographs Of Newcastle: Ouseburn

Photographs Of Newcastle: Ouseburnhttp://www.newcastlephotos.blogspot.com/2005/12/ouseburn.htmlThe lower Ouseburn Valley through which Ouseburn river flows is home to a number of pubs (Free Trade – right at the confluence with the Tyne with good view of the bridges looking…

Armstrong Park, Shoe Tree

In 1627, Sheriff Babington of Heaton threw his shoes up into the Sycamore to celebrate the birth of his Grandson. Since then residents of Heaton have continued this tradition by throwing their shoes up into the tree, whenever they celebrate a special occasion. The tree, as you can see is full of shoes, though not everyone believes the Sheriff Babington Story.

Passing under the Cradlewell Bypass Armstrong Park is on the left of and slightly higher than the Ouseburn River, Jesmond Vale on the right of the Ouseburn River. Walking through Armstrong Park, once over Jesmond Vale Lane, then you are in Heaton Park.

Armstrong Park entrances are on Jesmond Vale Lane, Armstrong Bridge and Ouseburn Road. Armstrong Park, like Heaton Park is open all the time. In Armstrong Park there is a bowling green and tennis and basketball courts.

Jesmond Vale

The old village of Jesmond Vale used to sit amongst fields in the bottom of the Ouseburn Valley, a tranquil haven away from the bustle of the city. The village had three pubs, a farm and a mill beside the river. The remains of the mill can still be seen, and the leat which fed it can be traced back to the mill dam at Greenwater Pool.

Originally a corn mill, it was later adapted to grind flint for use as glaze in the pottery industry. Flint was brought into the Tyne as ballast on cargo ships and was then carted up to the mills on the Ouseburn, hence Ballast Hills. The bulk of the old village was demolished in the 1960’s when the Vale was earmarked for redevelopment. Of the three pubs only the Bluebell Inn survived.

A smaller version of the Hoppings was held at Jesmond Vale for the four years 1915 to 1918. This was, of course, because of WW1, and it was held during the June ‘Race Week’ in each of those years. Many of the showmen were away fighting, and (it was said) at least 50 of their traction engines were also in use over in France. The Town moor was used during this period as a military airfield.
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Jesmond Dene Waterfall

Lord Armstrong created many water features throughout Jesmond Dene as part of his landscaping. He added new ponds and built rapids, weirs and waterfalls to bring movement to the river.

His biggest project was the creation of this waterfall and the deep gorge you can see downstream. Explosives were used to blast out rock and the stone was used to build up the sides of the waterfall.

There is a sluice gate behind it which could open and close to change the flow of water.

Armstrong aimed to sculpt the river, creating dramatic features that looked natural. However if you look closely at the stone below the mill you might spot the joins where the rocks were cemented together.

After heavy rains torrents of water rush down the falls filling the valley with sound.

Tucked away near the waterfall Armstrong made a grotto from an old quarry. The grotto was designed to give the visitor an experience of underground mystery.

Jesmond Dene Old Mill

Location: Old Mill, Jesmond Dene

There were at least four water mills in Jesmond Dene in use until the mid- 19th century.

1) Haddrick’s Mill, a corn mill that became disused by 1844. The Charlton family ran this mill. they were also linked to the Old Mill

2) Heaton Cottage Mill, another corn mill, which became a flint mill in the 1830s. The ground flint was used in the potteries downstream to add hardness to the clay. This mill was located by the ‘Fisherman’s Lodge’ Restaurant

3) Busy Cottage Mill, a corn mill with a forge for Busy Cottage Ironworks, located on the site now occupied with Millfield House and Pets Corner. The works produced goods for local collieries and railways.

4) The Old Mill. A mill has existed on this site for hundreds of years, it has had a number of uses. It was used to grind corn into flour, spoiled grain for pig feed and flint for potteries. Falling into disuse in the mid 1800s, the mill was lived in until the 1920s. The Old Mill is now classed as a Grade 11 listed ruin.

Mills have existed on this site from the 13th century, the current building dates from around 1800. Vibrations from heavy machinery and fire risks associated with the dusty atmosphere, meant mill buildings rarely lasted more than 200 years before a new mill would be rebuilt on the same site.

The Mill was known as Mabel’s Mill in 1739. The Freemans moved from Windmill Hills in Gateshead in 1795 and three generations, all called Patrick (Paddy) Freeman, ran the Mill as tenants of Sir Matthew Ridley and Dr Headlam. Until 1871, the family also farmed at High Heaton farm, now Paddy Freeman Park.

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William Armstrong | Jesmond Dene

William Armstrong | Jesmond Denehttp://www.williamarmstrong.info/jesmond-dene-visitor-centreAt Jesmond Dene – and later, more dramatically, at Cragside – William Armstrong sought to replicate the experience of being in the mountains.

Paddy Freeman Park

Paddy Freeman’s is situated in Dene Ward, along Freeman Road. There is a steep path linking the Park with Jesmond Dene.

Facilities in Paddy Freeman’s Park include an inclusive play area, model boat club, tennis courts, and a bowling green. There is a small private café with outdoor seating. There are no public toilets at the park. The nearest public toilets are situated in the picnic field pavilion within Jesmond Dene. Other toilets are available in the park café during café opening hours.

Patrick (Paddy) Freeman and his family arrived from Windmill Hills, Gateshead in 1795 to mill flour at the Old Mill in Jesmond Dene. They farmed the land which became this park. The farm was bought by Sir William Armstrong to become part of the woodland garden he was creating with his wife. The organ in their Banqueting Hall was powered by water from the pond.

The Armstrongs gave the park to the people of Newcastle at the same time as Jesmond Dene, in 1883. The pond was expanded in 1890 to create a boating lake.

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Ouseburn Parks


Officially there are five parks that make up the Ouseburn Parks; Paddy Freeman Park, Jesmond Dene, Jesmond Vale, Heaton Park and Armstrong Park. To access the Lower Ouseburn Valley, it is necessary to walk up out of Heaton Park, by the Ouseburn Culvert, cross the City Stadium Park, a sixth park, and walk down into the Lower Ouseburn Valley with its dazzling array of Bridges.

The Ouseburn’s source is Callerton Pond, near Ponteland, from there it meanders through Gosforth, passing through golf courses, farm fields and modern residential developments, gaining size all the time. By the time it reaches Jesmond Dene the stream has become a minor river. After exiting Jesmond Dene, the Ouseburn goes underground briefly before emerging from a culvert just beneath the Ouseburn Viaduct. It is from this point that the Ouseburn Valley properly commences, a valley of just under one kilometre in length.
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Heaton Park Pavillion

Sambuca Café and Restaurant is based in Heaton pavilion and offers Italian food and snacks. Visit the Sambuca website. Toilets – there are public toilets at the Pavilion in Heaton Park within Sambuca Restaurant.

Passing under the Cradlewell Bypass Armstrong Park is on the left of the Ouseburn River, Jesmond Vale on the right of the Ouseburn River.
Walking through Armstrong Park, once over Jesmond Vale Lane, then you are in Heaton Park. Heaton Park can be accessed on foot from various entrances, including through Armstrong Park, from Ouseburn Road, Heaton Road and Heaton Park View. There is a large playground within Heaton Park.
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City Stadium Park Ouseburn Monument

Thirty five metres below this Monument, the Ouseburn River imageflows, in a culvert. Some of the places through which the Ouseburn flows are engraved at the base of the Monument. Woolsington, Callerton, Brunton, Gosforth, Jesmond Dene, Ouseburn Valley.

The City Stadium is little more than a pleasant green space, with the remnants of a cinder track going around it. For nearly fifty years this place was known as the Ouseburn Tip. A protracted attempt to create a landfill over the culverted Ouseburn River. Before 1907, this area was a steep-sided valley that divided the east end districts of Newcastle from the town centre.

The Ouseburn Tip could not support the housing originally planned by Newcastle Corporation, and in 1961, Councillor T. Dan Smith proposed that the area be used as a sports stadium, to be completed in time for the Empire Games of 1966. These plans never materialised.

The City Stadium is not of course to be confused with St James’ Park

Armstrong Park Windmill

This old windmill was sited on the edge of the valley where its sails harnessed the power of the wind. The sails turned the grinding stones, which ground wheat into flour. There was plenty of wheat to be milled, provided by the farmers of Heaton.

For centuries wind and water were used to power a variety of mills and they played an important role in the economy. Windmills built from stone or brick and topped with a wooden cap for the sails, were once common on Tyneside

Gradually windmills declined as bigger mills powered by steam engines appeared.

By 1844 this mill was a ruin and the surrounding countryside was beginning to change. the farms disappeared to make way for more housing for shipyard and factory workers

In 1827 there were 49 windmills, 12 watermills and 18 steam mills in and around Newcastle.
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Heaton Park King John’s Palace

These are the ruins of the manor house that Adam of Jesmond, Sherif of Newcastle built around 1260. Despite its name King John never visited the house – he died 50 years before it was finished. Adam was friend and protector to Edward, King John’s grandson.

The House was built during a time of civil war between the Barons and the King. Adam wanted his house and land to be protected, so he gave it thick walls and built it like a small castle. Fortified houses like this could not be built without the King’s permission. Adam was given this as he was a supporter of the King.

Records exist showing Adam became unpopular for embezzlement and extortion and applied to Henry for a licence to enclose, fortify and crenellate his house.

Adam left his house when he joined Prince Edward, as one of his bodyguards, on crusade to the Holy Land. The Prince returned and became King Edward 1, but Adam never came back.

The palace is also known as the Camera of Adam. The main chamber of the house, on the first floor, was called the camera. This is where Adam would have held feasts and entertained his guests.

Very little remains of Adam’s dwelling, just two sides of a square tower with two window openings, but it was probably as large as most fortified houses of the period. The main structure would have angled turrets and battlements surrounded by accommodation for the dependents, stalling for horses and cattle, and stores for harvest produce.

Passing under the Cradlewell Bypass Armstrong Park is on the left of the Ouseburn River, Jesmond Vale on the right of the Ouseburn River.
Walking through Armstrong Park, once over Jesmond Vale Lane, then you are in Heaton Park

Heaton Park can be accessed on foot from various entrances, including through Armstrong Park, from Ouseburn Road, Heaton Road and Heaton Park View. There is a large playground within Heaton Park.

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