The Pinwell Project - Landlines


The Land Lines project was initiated by artist Olivia Gill, made possible by a grant from the Local Heritage Initiative and administered and supported by Northumberland National Park Authority. The project also benefited from participation with Lilburn Estates and Forest Enterprise. For further information please visit the website: www.tweededucation.org.uk/activities/landlines.htm

Just outside Wooler is a small valley, with no proper name. Called Horsdenside or The Kettles, this valley contains many of the elements for which Northumberland is rightly famed, perhaps most notably, the Pinwell - a small wishing well filled by a spring. The hills and the hillfort in the valley are called ‘The Kettles’ – derived possibly from the word ‘Ceitel’ meaning cauldron, after the many pot-like cavities in the hills left from prehistoric activity or dwellings. The valley is also home to a part of St Cuthberts Way – the route said to have been followed by the famous saints disciples with his relics after the invasion of the Vikings at Lindisfarne.

Near the Pinwell is an outcrop of rock called ‘The Kings Chair’. Legend has it that the Earl of Surrey passed through the valley on the way to fight at the Battle of Flodden, and it was here that he sat to survey his army as they stopped to water. The Pinwell itself is a small spring where for generations people have come to throw in bent pins for luck - particularly young ladies who wished to be married. Surrounded by a small circle of stones, the well is filled by a spring deep within the hill, and has been carefully preserved through various excavations of the surrounding area.