When you go down Sewage Lane, instead of turning off right and heading under the A1 you can follow the road round to the left, past the sewage works, and head across two or three fields of usually empty pasture towards a the housing estate that forms one edge of the town. (There’s one herd of lovely, placid Lincoln Red cattle, including calves and bull, which rotates round the fields; even when they’re in the one you want to go through, they’re no trouble, even for a cowophobe like me.) Sometimes for a shorter walk we head up through the estate and then walk back out along Alnmouth Road. But today we struck out right through more fields, roughly parallel to the river, till we reached the road which heads up to Denwick. On the other side of the road is the wall which marks the edge of Alnwick Castle & Garden:
Then over the bridge, with posh balustrade only on the side facing the Castle:
On the other side of the bridge we head back along the other riverbank, through a little stand of woods and then some big, flat fields which are used as sheep pasture but presumably began their lives as floodplains. After a while we go under the A1 and swing back to arrive at the springy footbridge over the Aln, and from there we head home.
This glimpse of medieval Alnwick is not irrelevant: the Duke of Northumberland remains an amazingly noticable presence in the local landscape. The Estate owns much of the farmland I walk through, and it’s still a big employer in the area. Many people speak of ‘the Duke’ with a special kind of awe/fear/respect. I wouldn’t want to paint the Estate as either a good or a bad thing, but it’s certainly a major force in shaping the land and the way we live in it.