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Sunday, 16 October 2016

Gese  Muth..............October 14th
Holidays and "manflu" have hit hard this week; there are only two of us out, Harry and me, the originals, the A team, and we are both recovering from colds. We decided to have a gentle stroll through Jesmond Dene in Newcastle and follow the Ouseburn to the point where it joins the Tyne.
A good gadgie walk, using bus passes.
The Ouseburn runs from Gosforth Park through Jesmond Dene and through an old industrial area before it emerges into Newcastle's river.
We started our walk at South Gosforth, near the Victory pub. South Gosforth has a wonderful double roundabout that is best driven round with eyes closed and hope in your heart.
               The Victory at South Gosforth.  Do you know a pub that advertises bad food?
Crossing, carefully, the roads at South Gosforth we headed up Freeman Road, ignoring the finger post saying Tyne Quay, turned right down Castle Farm Road and entered Jesmond Dene.
Tradition says that in the 12th century the Virgin Mary, carrying the baby Jesus appeared in the area, thus the name comes from "Jesus Mound", and there are ruins of an ancient chapel. Alternatively the name comes from  "Gese Muth", meaning the mouth of the Ouse. Please yourself.
  Once the home of various industries like iron making and corn milling, Jesmond Dene was created in a narrow, steep sided valley by Lord Armstrong, who made his fortune through armaments. At one point he had a house in the area, now somewhere under a series of semis. He created waterfalls and bridges and gave the park to the people in the nineteenth century. Today it is popular with city dwellers who enjoy walking its many paths, cycling them and looking for wildlife that is there, kingfishers, wagtails, otters and ducks.




Ruins of Mabel's Mill in the dene.
It is undoubtedly a pleasant place for a stroll at any time of year. Near the end of the park is Pets Corner, a collection of small animals and notices asking people to refrain from feeding them. There is also a café. In summer a touring company puts on open air productions on the grassed area nearby. Usually Shakespeare and usually much fun.
Crossing the Dene at this point is Armstrong Bridge, built by Lord Armstrong (not personally). Today it is a pedestrian bridge and on Sunday a craft fair is held on  it.
                           Armstrong Bridge, originally cast iron, much of it replaced by steel
Leaving the park we walked under Armstrong Bridge and under the modern road bridge. We walked through Armstrong Park and Heaton Park. In Heaton Park is the ruin of "King John's Palace". Nothing to do with the man who signed Magna Carta it was built by Adam pf Jesmond who promptly went off on a crusade and vanished.

                                       King John's Palace
Leaving the parks we walked along Warwick Road for a while before heading along the footpath that took us down the Ouseburn Valley. The valley is crossed by three bridges, main East Coast Railway, Tyneside Metro and a road bridge usually referred to as Byker Bridge.
 Ian Allan, publisher of those locospotters hand books of childhood.
                             Bridges across the Ouseburn.
There is a small "farm" in the valley, fun for children. We walked past the Cluny music pub and took the footpath on the north side of the stream, opposite "Seven Stories" a great place for children to dress up and look at books and listen to stories. The valley was once a thriving industrial area making white lead and sweets!

In the Ouseburn by the Seven Stories.
After diverting round some building work we rejoined the bank at the Tyne pub.


A modern lock system to allow boats to enter or leave the Ouse. It was open today.
We crossed the stream by the road bridge and approached Newcastle Quay side. When I first came to Tyneside in 1964 the quay was run down, many of the buildings in a bad state. Today it has been revitalised and is a tourist area with bars, restaurants a small theatre and the law courts.
 Millenium, Tyne, Swing, High level, metro, Redeugh and railway bridges at Newcastle
                               And a fascinating piece of sculpture on the quayside.
 A couple of fishing boats that had come from Seahouses
 The Sage. Two concert halls in one building on the Gateshead side of the river.
Leaving the quayside we walked up Dean Street, stopped for tea on Grey Street and finished the day with a look in the Laing Gallery which has some pre-Raphaelite paintings, some John Martin paintings and works by local artists such as the famous Ashington Pitman Painters. Plus photographs recording the shipbuilding side of the Tyne, and a fine collection of tea pots.
                        The Bard, by John Martin
The Esso Northumbria by Swan Hunter at Wallsend about 1970.
A good walk with a difference and about 6.5 miles

In the dene: