Brampton, Cumbria: best places to visit and local history

There's more to Cumbria than the Lake District. Nick Peers travels east of Carlisle to discover what lies south of Hadrian's Wall

Why go there
Brampton lies just 2 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall, which makes it the perfect spot for exploring the Cumbrian countryside to the east of Carlisle. The town itself dates back to the 7th century AD, although its history is caught up with the Roman occupation, border raids and even the Jacobite uprising in 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night in the town (the town’s Capon Monument records the brutal execution of six of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s supporters by the Duke of Cumberland).
The town is perfectly situated to explore the area’s countryside and history. Sadly English Heritage-run sites at Birdoswald Fort and Lanercost Priory won’t be open again until April, but you can still visit some of the surviving parts of the wall at Banks East Turret and Pike Hill Signal tower. Cyclists might also consider following the cycle route that runs the length of Hadrian’s Wall.
One green space worth losing yourself in for a few hours is the Talkin Tarn Country Park. This 145-acre site is set just outside Brampton, and consists of a lake formed by the glacial retreat at the end of the last Ice Age surrounded by woodland. Entry and parking are free, with a path running around the edge of the lake.
The town is also perfectly situated for two stunning areas: the Northumberland National Park to the north-east, and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south-east. The latter area houses the RSPB reserve at Geltsdale, which offers a number of walking routes and the opportunity to see black grouse as well as various species of birds of prey and waders.
Where to stay
Abbey Mill is situated just 1½ miles outside Brampton on the road to Lanercost Priory. It’s housed in a converted 16th-century corn mill, and offers B&B from just £70 per night for a couple.
Where to eat
Fancy a local ale to wash down your locally sourced meal? Huntingtons Informal Dining in the heart of Brampton offers dishes to suit most tastes without busting your budget.
Tell us a local secret
One of the town’s major landmarks, the Moot Hall, was built in 1817 to replace a previous building that had been constructed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell to house prisoners in.