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Autumn in Bothal

Last week we visited the village of Bothal, which is not far from Ashington, Northumberland, A friend had heard about the war memorial there at her history group, which looks particularly special at this time of year.

Built in remembrance of those who died in the First World War, the monument is flanked by a pair of trees. To the left stands a weeping ash, with long trailing branches.

To the right of the monument is a Japanese maple. Autumn has turned its leaves to a glowing blood red colour.

The trees represent the tears shed for those who died and the blood that was spilt in the conflict.

The memorial is topped by a Celtic cross and stands in front of St Andrews Church. The church bell tower can be seen in the picture below. Known as a bell cote, this open tower houses three bells, one of which is dated 1615.

The church is ancient, dating back to around 900AD though it is thought that a smaller church existed on the site some 200 years earlier. The Anglo-Saxon building was replaced by a larger one when Richard Bartram, a Norman lord, came to live at nearby Bothal Castle in 1161. Other addictions have been made over the centuries.

The drive to the castle gatehouse is next to the church.

The castle itself is privately owned and not open to the public.

Bothal is quite an unexpected little oasis, hidden in a wooded part of the Wanbeck valley, quite close to busy Ashington. It was really interesting to visit and especially to see the war memorial trees.