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Bringing the Iron Age to life

Yeavering Bell & Gefrin

Yeavering Bell & Gefrin Show full screen Yeavering Bell & Gefrin

Home to the Park's largest Iron Age hillfort

Goat gate to Gefrin in Northumberland National Park.

The Goat Gate to Gefrin.

In the 7th Century, the palace of King Edwin of Northumbria and his successors was at Gefrin, near Kirknewton.

Bede mentions it as the spot where Bishop Paulinus baptised Christian converts in the River Glen in 627 AD.

No one knew its exact location until 1949, when an archaeology professor taking aerial photos spotted crop marks.

Excavations in the 1950s and 1960s revealed a huge complex of great timber halls of more than 26 metres in length.

There were kitchens, a timber grandstand, a weaving shed and a ‘Great Enclosure’ to pen in cattle or horses. Look out for the monument on the northern side of the Wooler to Kirknewton road.

Did you know?

It is recorded that King Arthur’s first battle happened at the mouth of the River Glen. But is it the River Glen in Lincolnshire or the River Glen in Northumberland?

Description

Yeavering Bell in Northumberland National Park by Brian Rogers.

Yeavering Bell in Northumberland National Park. Photo by Brian Rogers.

Yeavering Bell is a hill on the very edge of the Cheviot Hills.

On it lie the remains of the largest Iron Age hillfort in the region.

The tumbled stone rampart would originally have been two-and-a-half metres high and more than three metres thick.

Within it, you can see the platforms of more than one hundred timber-built roundhouses and an inner fort excavated out of the rock.

Although historians have traditionally thought hillforts were built for defence, there are clues to more symbolic uses.

For example, is it a coincidence that the main entrance lines up with Hedgehope Hill?

Every day, a fraction before noon, the residents of the fort could look through the entrance and see the sun at just about its highest point of the day directly over Hedgehope.

Please note:

The permissive route from Old Yeavering to Yeavering Bell Hillfort – shown by the orange dashes on the below map will be closed on the following dates:

1/2 September

18/19 September

Yeavering Map

Did you know?

Yeavering Bell means ‘goat hill’ in Middle English.

If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the elusive herd of wild goats that still graze the area.

Getting There

Car: Follow the A1 and A697 to B6351 in Northumberland, then head along that road to Yeavering Bell.

  • Feral Goats are not native to Britain. They were brought here in Neolithic times as domestic stock, derived from the Bezoar Capra aegagrus, a native of the Middle East.
  • Most British herds are thought to be the descendants of domesticated stock that was allowed to go feral when sheep replaced goats as the favoured stock of upland farmers during the Middle Ages.
  • The 'feral' goats of the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland are thought to be some of the best examples of this primitive type of goat.
  • You can spot Cheviot wild goats while at Yeavering Bell, like the one pictured here.
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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