Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Picturesque Shelter in Time of War and Peace; Environment Editor Tony Henderson Visits a Cave Which Has Drawn People for Centuries. My Country

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Picturesque Shelter in Time of War and Peace; Environment Editor Tony Henderson Visits a Cave Which Has Drawn People for Centuries. My Country

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

FROM prehistoric times, caves have held an attraction for people as places to shelter, hide or live.

Today, the lure of one particular cave in an especially beautiful part of Northumberland is just as strong, and for several good reasons.

St Cuthbert's Cave, north of Belford, is striking in itself.

It is an overhanging outcrop of sandstone on the Kyloe-Chillingham ridge and is supported by a single pillar of rock.

The cave is 65ft long, 18ft deep and ranges in height between 6ft and 10ft.

Sit in St Cuthbert's Cave and you are sitting where many, many people have previously rested.

There are inscriptions carved in the rock dating from 1752.

The views from the mouth of the cave and the ridge above are equally stunning.

Walk up the gradient from the cave and on to Greensheen Hill and it is easy to pick out Lindisfarne and its castle 10 miles away, Budle Bay, the Farne Islands and Bamburgh Castle.

The cave itself looks out on to a panorama of Glendale and the Cheviot Hills, eight miles distant.

There are also, of course, the historical and holy associations with St Cuthbert.

It is said that the monks who fled Lindisfarne with the body of St Cuthbert in 875 after the Viking raids made their first-night stop in the cave.

There is also the belief that St Cuthbert in life used the cave as a retreat.

The cave and surrounding land were part of the estate of Lindisfarne Priory along with nearby Holburn Moss.

For the monks, the area was an important source of peat for fuel.

An earth bank encloses an acre of land in front of the cave and this could have been an enclosure for livestock.

On a rock in front of the cave is what appears to be a naturally-formed cross. The upright portion has been channelled by rain, and the cross arms have been created by a crack in the rock.

To the side is a man-made niche which may have been used to hold a lamp, possibly for worship. …

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