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Warden - Local History and information

The community of Warden lies 2 miles up the river Tyne from Hexham in Northumberland and sits between the North and South Tyne with the Boatside Inn at its centre.

Our border county frequently troubled in centuries past, the poignant folksong, “Water of Tyne” is thought to have originated in response to the Jacobite uprising of 1745.

“Oh bring me a boat-man; I’ll give any money,

And you for your trouble rewarded shall be,

To ferry me over the Tyne to my hinny,

Or scull her across that rough river to me”

The crossing point referred to was Warden’s well used West Boat ferry, which plied the South Tyne from the coaching route on the Hexham side to the Boatside Inn. The crossing is now bridged, but despite the proximity of the A69 and the rumble of passing trains, the scattered community of Warden retains a centuries-old rural ambience; lying in the lee of Warden Hill, there has been settlement on the elbow shaped by the merging of the Tyne’s tributaries since the Iron Age.

On top of Warden Hill there have existed an Iron aged Fort, a Roman camp and a Medieval village, but although you can still see on the ground the foundations of these, Camp top, as it is known, provides the most spectacular views over mid-Tynedale’s magnificent countryside, from the Pennines and Grouse moors to the West and South to Hadrians Wall and towards Kielder and the Cheviots to the North

Stone plundered from decaying Roman buildings by Saxons living in the shadow of Warden was incorporated into the walls of St Michael and All Angels, Warden’s parish church; the lower part of the church tower is believed to be the oldest Saxon tower in Northumberland, dating back to the Eleventh century.

 More recently, Warden hit the headlines in 2005, when the South Tyne burst through the 60 year old flood defence wall, which had just been reinforced in 1999 by the Environment Agency and subjected the lower lying properties, including the Boatside Inn to flooding on the scale  of a Tsunami. In 2008, The Environment Agency totally rebuilt the flood defence wall and with the new gradient specification of 1 in 4 (formerly 1 in 1.62), there are unlikely to be any further Warden Tsunamis.


Set in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country, less than 2 miles from the Wall itself, all the major Roman forts, such as Vindloanda, Housesteads and Chesters are within easy reach. Northumberland has more castles, including Bamburgh, Alnwick Castle and Garden than any other county; close links with early Christianity are present in the ancient Abbeys including the beautiful Hexham Abbey and Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

Newcastle and Tyneside are 30 minutes away and there are many top class Golf courses, including Matfen, Close House and Slaley, as well as smaller courses at Hexham, Allendale and Bellingham, again all within 30 minutes