Black Middens Bastle House

Black Middens Bastle House

If you’re not up to date with your medieval architecture, the term bastle may come with some slight confusion.

But just imagine a castle shrunk down and made to look more like a house - that’s essentially what a bastle house is. It’s a cross between the two.

The two lives of Black Middens

Situated in the Northumberland National Park, near the village of Bellingham, Black Midden Bastle House has been standing since the 16th century.

Its thick walls and heavy fortifications are typical for the area along the English-Scottish border, where raids were frequent.

Life in the borderlands was hard and to protect families and livestock, bastles were the only way to keep safe.

Exploring the house

The natural beauty of Northumberland will undeniably cross your mind as you approach the bastle from the car park below.

As you arrive at the house, the temptation to head straight up the outside stairs is inevitable.

And once you do, you gain a whole new perspective and appreciation of the incredible beauty of the surrounding area.

Copses of trees line the top of the hill behind the building, standing silhouettes against the sky.

And when you venture into the walls of Black Middens, a small window frames the denser woodland stretching away below the house, beyond the base of the hill.

The lost stories of Black Middens

Take a moment to really look out at the nature surrounding you and relish the peace and quiet, away from the sounds of the modern world.

It’s easy to imagine the lives of the people who once lived here when sons and daughters would’ve had to carry buckets of water from the flowing Black Burn below.

Close by Black Middens are another set of similar ruins. They haven’t fared so well but roaming around the crumbling walls, it’s impossible not to let your imagination wander.

An odd feeling of nostalgia for a simpler time may sweep over you, of a realisation that shadows of the past, invisible lives that would’ve had no comprehension of the world we live in today, once roamed the very grass you tread on now.

Tarset Bastle Trail or a blanket and picnic

If you’re up for a longer adventure why not head off down the Tarset Bastle Trail?

Bastles were often built with others nearby so if you’re up for a day of beautiful Northumberland countryside views with stop-offs exploring medieval ruins, this might be just the thing for you.

Or why not throw down a blanket and really absorb the views around Black Middens?

Pull out the sandwiches and flask and enjoy a picnic in the quiet of the countryside.

However you decide to spend your day at Black Middens, you'll be glad you decided to venture out and spend time exploring the place.

Just getting lost in the views alone could take up most of the day, and spending the rest in a medieval adventure sounds perfect to us.

Shipley Shield,
Northumberland,
GB NE48 1NE