This week I have helped support Isaacs Tea Trail, after accepting the invitation from local volunteer, Roger Morris. Roger has done so much to promote and care for Isaac’s Tea Trail, a 36 mile circular walk through the North Pennines Area of Outsanding Natural Beauty, on the southern border of Northumberland, where it meets the Counties of Durham and Cumbria.
The trail follows the route of Isaac Holden, a 19th century tea seller and philanthropist, who crossed the fells bringing tea leaves to lead miners and their families living in remote corners of the Pennines.
In January 2011 Isaac’s Tea Trail gained international recognition by featuring in the book ‘501 Must-Visit Wild Places’.
Isaac’s Tea Trail was described in The Independent newspaper as, "one of the last great undiscovered wilderness treks in England". Roger has now written the defintive guide, helped by the brilliant Allenheads Trust, many volunteers, and a great graphic designer in Marcus. This week it was a pleasure to meet many of the local enthusiasts, to walk 6 miles of the trail with supporters not just from the Allen Valley but also enthusiasts from the Haltwhistle Walking Festival team, and to hold a well attended public meeting in Allenheads. There is clearly a revival going on in the Allen Valley, with new businesses popping up, many trying to look after the cyclists who are doing the Coast 2 Coast cycleway. I met several Bed and Breakfast providers and the lovely lady who runs Allenheads pub. Everyone backs the revived Tea Tree Trail as a destination venue for walkers in the area. Having walked parts of it I can see why.