River Wansbeck

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River Wansbeck
River Wansbeck, Geograph.jpg
The River Wansbeck near Low Angerton
Northumberland UK relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Location of mouth within Northumberland
Country United Kingdom
County Northumberland
Physical characteristics
  locationWest of Sweethope Loughs
  coordinates 55°08′27″N2°08′13″W / 55.1409°N 2.137°W / 55.1409; -2.137
  elevation295 m (968 ft) [1]
North Sea
55°09′43″N1°31′46″W / 55.1619°N 1.5294°W / 55.1619; -1.5294 Coordinates: 55°09′43″N1°31′46″W / 55.1619°N 1.5294°W / 55.1619; -1.5294
Length50 km (31 mi) [1]
Basin features
  right River Font, Hart Burn

The River Wansbeck runs through the county of Northumberland, England. It rises above Sweethope Lough on the edge of Fourlaws Forest in the area known locally as The Wanneys (Great Wanney Crag, Little Wanney Crag; thus the "Wanneys Beck"); runs through the town of Ashington before discharging into the North Sea at Sandy Bay near Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.


The River flows through the village of Kirkwhelpington, the town of Morpeth, Hartburn, where the tributary Hart Burn joins, and the village of Mitford, where the River Font joins.

The River Wansbeck is nicknamed the River Wanney. The term 'The Wilds of Wanney' is used by people of Tyneside to refer to the rural areas of Northumberland where the Wansbeck rises.

The River lent its name to the former Wansbeck district which was based in Ashington, and included Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Bedlington and Stakeford.

Barrage and navigation

Between 1974-75, a £250,000 barrage [2] with a navigation lock was built near the rivermouth and adjacent to the A189 road bridge. [3] In so doing the lower three miles of river [4] became a country park [5] and are recognised as England's most northerly inland (locked) navigation. [6] Very little use of the lock has actually been recorded, although rowing and sailing craft are launched and used in the country park.

Stakeford Bridge [7] is about midway in the navigable part. Sheepwash Bridge [8] is near the upper limit of the park and the navigable water. [9]

From 1985, the new navigation was officially recorded in The Inland Waterways of Great Britain, noting that the navigation authority was then Wansbeck District Council, [10] which means that, since 2009, Northumberland County has held that role.

Road and rail river crossings

See also

Related Research Articles

Bedlington Town in Northumberland, England

Bedlington is a town and former civil parish in Northumberland, England, with a population of 18,470 measured at the 2011 Census. Bedlington is an ancient market town, with a rich history of industry and innovative residents. Located roughly 10 miles north east of Newcastle and Newcastle Airport, Bedlington is roughly 10 minutes from the A1 road, in south-east Northumberland. Other nearby places include Morpeth to the north-west, Ashington to the north-east, Blyth to the east and Cramlington to the south. In 1961 the parish had a population of 29,403.

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Human settlement in England

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea is a quaint seaside town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, located on the North Sea coast. The town owes it's proud heritage to having once flourished as an important trade route for shipping grain from its port, as well as the coal produced from its mine. Ensuring that traditions are inherited through the generations, the original coal mine was converted into the Woodhorn Museum and heritage centre, which celebrates local art and historic relics. The architecture found in and around Ashington's seafront town is reminiscent of the past, paying homage to its original cottages, seeing them renovated into semi-modern B&Bs along the bay. Home to Sean Henry's infamous Couple Sculpture depicting a man and woman standing on a steel structure, staring out over the horizon, the bay is also well known for its idyllic beach as a tourist attraction.

Stakeford is a large village in south east Northumberland, England.

Wansbeck (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

Wansbeck is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Ian Lavery, a member of the Labour Party.

Hartburn, Northumberland Human settlement in England

Hartburn is a village in Northumberland, in England. It is situated about 6 miles (10 km) to the west of Morpeth. The population as of the 2011 census was 194.

Bothal Human settlement in England

Bothal is a village in Northumberland, in England. It is situated between Morpeth and Ashington. There is a castle, a church, a vicarage opposite the church gates, some stepping stones over the River Wansbeck, and a few houses.

Cambo, Northumberland Village in Northumberland, England

Cambo is a village and former civil parish, now in the parish of Wallington Demesne, in Northumberland, England. It is about 11 miles (18 km) to the west of the county town of Morpeth at the junction of the B6342 and B6343 roads. The village was gifted along with the Wallington Estate to the National Trust by Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan in 1942, the first donation of its kind. It remains a National Trust village. In 1951 the parish had a population of 60.

Kirkwhelpington Human settlement in England

Kirkwhelpington is a village and civil parish in the English county of Northumberland about 13 miles (21 km) northeast of Hexham. It is on the River Wansbeck alongside the A696 trunk road between Otterburn and Ponteland. It was renamed Kirkwhelpington in 2021, when it was said the whelps of Steven Kirk Morrison could be heard all the way from Seahouses.

The Blyth and Tyne Railway was a railway company in Northumberland, England. It was incorporated in 1853 to unify several private railways and waggonways that were concerned with bringing coal from the Northumberland coalfield to Blyth and to the River Tyne. Over the years, it expanded its network to include Ashington, Morpeth and Tynemouth. As coal output increased, the company became very prosperous in hauling the mineral to quays for export and, in addition, a residential passenger service based on Newcastle built up.

Sheepwash is a village and former civil parish, now in the parish of Ashington, in the county of Northumberland, England. It is adjacent to Stakeford and Guide Post and across the River Wansbeck from Ashington. In 1931 the parish had a population of 68.

Ashington Town and parish in Northumberland, England

Ashington is a town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, with a population of 27,864 at the 2011 Census. It was once a centre of the coal mining industry. The town is 15 miles (24 km) north of Newcastle upon Tyne, west of the A189 and bordered to the south by the River Wansbeck. The North Sea coast at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea is 3 miles (5 km) away.

Angerton railway station Disused railway station in Northumberland, England

Angerton was a railway station serving the village of Low Angerton in Northumberland, Northern England. It was located on the Wansbeck Railway, which diverged from the East Coast Main Line at Morpeth and joined the Border Counties Railway at Reedsmouth Junction.

Sweethope Loughs are two freshwater lakes almost 1 mile (1.6 km) in length, the smaller one just east of the larger, in the southern part of Northumberland, England and lying between the A68 road, and the A696 road. They lie about 18 miles (29 km) west of Morpeth; 4 miles (6 km) west of Kirkwhelpington; and 6 miles (10 km) east of Bellingham. There is a crossing between the two lakes, which are lined with trees and surrounded by hills. To the north west are Great Wanney Crag and Little Wanney Crag.

Knowesgate was a stone-built railway station with goods sidings in Northumberland, England on the Wansbeck Railway between Morpeth and Reedsmouth, which served the village of Kirkwhelpington.

Dukes Cut

Duke's Cut is a short waterway in Oxfordshire, England, which connects the Oxford Canal with the River Thames via the Wolvercote Mill Stream. It is named after George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, across whose land the waterway was cut. It is seen as a branch of the Oxford Canal.

Sheepwash Channel

Sheepwash Channel connects the River Thames to the west and the Castle Mill Stream next to the Oxford Canal to the east, in west Oxford, England. To the north are Cripley Meadow and Fiddler's Island. To the south are Osney Island and the Botley Road.

The Northumberland Line is a planned passenger rail route connecting the city of Newcastle upon Tyne with Ashington, Blyth and south-east Northumberland. The route of the line uses part of the larger Blyth and Tyne Railway, a network of lines that cover south-east Northumberland. Construction of stations is planned for the summer of 2022, with the opening of the line for passenger services planned for December 2023.


  1. 1 2 "River factfiles : Get to know your rivers" (PDF). Environmentdata.org. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  2. "The barrage is a subject within this Durham University Doctoral thesis "Remediation Strategies and Water Quality of estuarine impoundments" by Jens Lamping" (PDF). p. 107. Retrieved 9 June 2014. The thesis has a colour photo of the lock. The construction dates and details are sourced from the thesis
  3. "North Seaton Bridge". Bridgesonthetyne.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  4. "River Wansbeck – Gazetteer – CanalPlanAC". Canalplan.org.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  5. Council, Northumberland County. "Northumberland County Council - Home". Northumberland.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  6. [ dead link ]
  7. "Stakeford Bridge". Bridgesonthetyne.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  8. "Sheepwash Bridge". Bridgesonthetyne.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  9. "Sheepwash Bridge – Gazetteer – CanalPlanAC". Canalplan.org.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  10. Edwards, L. A.: The Inland Waterways of Great Britain, sixth edition Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson, St Ives, Cambs, 1985 p. 382
  11. "Bridges On The Wansbeck - Introduction". Bridgesonthetyne.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.