Brampton lies in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and is the centre of an historically rich and diverse landscape. The town was granted a market charter in 1252 and contains architectural treasures. Many of its sandstone buildings have a story.
The Parish of Brampton is bordered to the north by The Roman Wall and to the south by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For walkers, footpaths radiate in all directions allowing access to high Pennine moorland, RSPB reserves, deep river-cut gorges and glacial tarns.
As a Walkers are Welcome Town, Brampton’s Inn’s, Cafe’s, shops and guest houses are geared towards giving walkers a warm Cumbrian welcome.
Our Top Ten must see places in and around Brampton:
The Moot Hall was built in 1817 to replace the original 1648 building, once used by Oliver Cromwell to house prisoners. The octagonal Moot Hall is now home to the Tourist Information Centre. During the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie rested in Brampton while his troops lay seige to the city of Carlisle.
St. Martins is the only church designed by the Pre-Raphaelite architect Philip Webb. It contains one of the most exquisite sets of stained glass windows in the UK, designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and executed in the William Morris studio.
Webb intended the structure to reflect the history of this ancient border town with its fortress-like appearance and parapets.
The Motte and Bailey survives as an ancient earthwork overlooking Brampton. Dated to the 12th Century it’s extensive views to north, west and east of the summit made it an ideal location from 1468 for a beacon. Extensive footpaths connect the motte to Brampton and a high ridge walk with stunning views.
Talkin Tarn Country Park’s jewel is a 65 acre lake set amid 120 acres of farmland and woodland.The tarn is glacial in origin, being formed about 10000 years ago. Visitors can sail, windsurf, canoe or hire one rowing boats. There is a 1.3 mile path round the tarn which is suitable for wheelchairs.The Boathouse Tea Room and gift shop has superb views of the tarn.
Gelt Woods’ footpaths follow the course of the River Gelt through an RSPB nature reserve. Hugging the banks of the Gelt is a remarkable sandstone quarry chiselled out by Roman engineers 1800 years ago. More famous is the Roman Inscription left behind which reads: ‘”VEX. LEG II AVG SV AGRICOLA APRO ET MAXIMO CONSVLIBVS OFFICINA MERCATI” and translates as: “A vexillation of the second legion (Augusta) under Agricola, Aper and Maximus being consuls. The workplace of Mercatius.”
Birdoswald Roman Fort stands in the middle of longest continuous remaining section of this magnificent World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the extensive remains of the Roman Fort while the visitor centre has interesting interactive displays and artefacts, as well as a model representation of the Wall at its full height.
Lanercost Priory was founded in 1166 by Henry II. When completed, Canons moved from Norfolk and remained for 370 years until it’s Dissolution in 1536. The Lanercost Tearoom is a tranquil location to sample local produce in the area.
The Bewcastle Cross along with its nearby cousin at Ruthwell on the Solway coast, are probably the finest to survive from Anglo-Saxon Britain dating from after 675. The inscriptions on the Cross have been both worn and damaged over the years, and their meaning is not now certain. Possibly they commemorate King Alchfrith of Deira, who made an unsuccessful bid for control of all Northumbria c.664.
Comb Crag lies to the NE of Brampton and offers both drama and beauty, with a big dose of history thrown in. The peat-laden waters of the River Irthing have carved out a fascinating gorge, the highlight of which is Comb Crag, where Romans quarried for stone for The Wall and left their mark with mason’s inscriptions.
Brampton Old Church lies in the site of a Roman fort west of Brampton. The 12th century church, built from robbed our Wall stones occupies a promontory overlooking the River Irthing.