Geographically, Alston Moor lies just below latitude 55 degrees north and 2.5 degrees west. In area it covers between 70 and 80 square miles for a population of just over 2,000 inhabitants. Its height above sea level ranges from 800ft (250m) to 2,930ft (893m). Geologically 'the Moor' gives its name to the 'Alston Block' a roughly rectangular area from the River Tyne to the River Tees and from the height of the Pennine scarp of Cross Fell sloping down to the North Sea. Politically, once upon a time Alston Moor was more of a part of Scotland than of England.
Throughout its history Alston Moor has been exploited for its mineral wealth, mainly lead and silver, but also iron ore, zinc and copper. Limestone, sandstone, whinstone, fluorspar, umber and coal have all been worked commercially.
There is visible evidence of human occupation from prehistoric times with a 'henge' circle, through the Iron Age hut circles and field systems, the Romans with their fort and their road, the site of a Norman motte and bailey castle, a 14th century tower house, bastles that were defence against the rievers, to the industrial history of more recent years. All of this can be seen today, if you know where to look.
To find out more, visit the Alston Moor Historical Society website: