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Chance to see the fabled Drake Stone


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Overlooked by 12th century castle ruins

Harbottle Castle in Northumberland National Park by David Taylor.

The remains of Harbottle Castle. Photo by David Taylor.

Harbottle was the site of a royal castle. It was the centre of government for the Liberty of Redesdale in Medieval and Tudor times.

The castle was abandoned in the 16th century, its stone being used in other buildings.

In the 18th century, tradesmen included a tailor, a couple of weavers, a cooper and his wheelwright, a shovel maker.

In the past, Harbottle fair, in July and September, took place to sell sheep and cattle.

The locals also used it as a spot to settle grudges between families and the men of Rede and the men of Coquet.


Harbottle, made up of just a single street, is a one of the most picturesque of Coquetdale’s villages. Many of the buildings use pale, biscuit-coloured sandstone. The village is overlooked by the ruins of a 12th century castle. From here you can walk up to the Drake Stone and the nearby lough.

What’s on offer

A pub, shop and car parking.

The Star Inn

This unique pub overlooks the ruins of the 12th century castle and the magnificent Drake Stone. Ann Dunn’s “community hub” serves as a local village shop, a craft centre in summer and, of course, a hostelry in the best old-fashioned sense of the word.

Drake Stone

A walk from Harbottle. Visit for: A huge stone boulder alleged to have special healing powers. It was originally called the Dragon stone or Draak’s stone, and was reputed to have been used by druids. The massive sandstone boulder was placed here by a glacier during the last Ice Age.

Did you know?

During the Second World War, the top of the castle’s keep was used as a look out to spot German bombers.

Harbottle Castle Milky Way IG (small)

The Milky Way overshadows a dramatically-lit Harbottle Castle. Photo by Ian Glendinning.

Getting There

Car: From the A1, follow the A697 then take the B6341.

  • The castle was built in about 1160 by the Umfraville family at the request of King Henry II (pictured) on land awarded to them following the Norman Conquest, presumably as a defence against the Scots.
Point of Interest

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Planning in the National Park

Northumberland National Park Authority is the statutory Planning Authority for the area of the Northumberland National Park. View our planning pages here.

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