Bedlingtonshire (or Bedlington
for short) is one of the very few village shires.
small market town situated on the River Blyth. In
the eighteenth and nineteenth century, Bedlington
grew around the production of iron, with the
Bedlington Iron and Engine works being founded in
1736 by William Tomlinson. The company was
originally involved in the slitting of iron for
the production of nails. |
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, under the management of close friend of George and Robert Stevenson, Michael Longridge, the works grew to play an influential role in the growth of the railways, developing the first malleable rail track patented in 1820. It later went on to produce 215 locomotive engines and a number of groundbreaking locomotives designed by engineering expert Sir Daniel Gooch. The works closed in 1867 due to fierce competition in the industry, by which time, the Bedlington Coal Company was becoming the main employer in the town. Founded in 1838, by 1909 there were ten collieries in the local area, the last of which closing in 1974.
The site of one of the collieries south of the town centre has now been transformed into the fine 18 hole Bedlington Golf Course. Also just outside the town is Bedlington Country Park with over five miles of pathways and nature trails.
Situated on the banks of the River Blyth, the park is a popular spot for horse riding through the spring dawn riding school. The park also offers public barbecues and a paddling pond located at a sheltered clearing at Humford Mill.
Bedlington is also a stones throw from Plessey Woods Country Park, created around a section of mature woodland beside the River Blyth. This is a favourite among bird watchers, where Sparrowhawks can be seen hunting and Tawny Owls can be spotted roosting in the trees. The predominantly oak and birch woods play host to wintering Thrushes and Finches from northern climes.
Bedlington used to belong to the Prince Bishop of Durham and is also the resting place of St. Cuthbert!