ALLENHEADS, reputed to be the highest village in England, lies in a tree lined hollow at the head of the East Allen Valley in Northumberland about seven miles south of Allendale, in a wild and lonely region under Killhope Law (2208ft.).
About one mile fron Allenheads lies the border with Durham, which from a hight of 1700ft. one can see not only Northumberland and Durham, but also Cumbria. It was hereabouts that five counties nearly met. Now,alas, since the boundary changes of 1974, three of these counties, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the North Riding are no longer with us.
Throughout the area are the characteristic black and white poles on the sides of the road - the white stripes indicating the road at night and the black stripes to show the way in snow.
Allenheads was once the centre of the areas lead mining industry, yielding one seventh of the lead produced in Britain. The Allenheads lead miners have now gone and the area is more in tune to tourism and leisure pursuits. The fells that once rang to the lead miners hammers are now more famous for some of the finest grouse shooting in England, and for the winter sportsman are the ski slopes, although personally I prefer to go out onto the open fell on cross country skis.
Allenhads village has a Heritage Centre with cafe, exhibition and audio-visual show; an engine house with the only known surviving hydraulic engine, built by Lord Armstrong in 1852; the blacksmith shop with displays of local items; a cafe and play and picnic area, and also a short woodland nature trail that ascends to 1400ft.
Allenheads is a popular stopping off place for cyclists that are cycling the coast to coast route from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.
If you would like to know more about this part of the Northern Pennines I recommend my booklet THE NORTHERN PENNINES - AN ARTISTS IMPRESSION