Elsdon : Location and Topography
The village is set in a remarkable natural amphitheatre formed by ranges of hills to the north, south and east. Only to the west, towards Otterburn and upper Redsdale beyond, does this natural bowl open out. As a result, the main approaches from the south and south east provide panoramic views of the village, with the ridge-and-furrow earthworks of its ancient field systems spreading out around the settlement core. However, when viewed from the centre of the green, the village appears closed in. Only by ascending to the parapet of the stone towerhouse or climbing the ramparts of the Mote Hills can a liberating sense of wider vistas be gained and an impression of the vast sweep of open moorland to the north which forms the Otterburn Training Range.
The settlement surrounds a large central, leaf shaped green which contains the church towards its north end. A towerhouse and the impressive earthworks of a Norman castle (the Mote Hills) dominate the village to the north and northeast respectively. The two medieval fortifications are situated on spurs on either side of the Elsdon Burn, which has carved a steep-sided ravine along the eastern side of the village in its course down from the hills to the north to join the Whiskershiel Burn just to the south east of the settlement. From there the combined waters flow westward along the southern edge of the village, then south-westward to meet the Rede, draining the basin in which Elsdon sits.