A set of photos from a brief stop in the historic border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed on the way up to visits friends in Edinburgh for the weekend. As well as being fascinating in its own right, Berwick would make an ideal base for exploring the wonderful Northumberland coast.

BerwickBattlements


With its location on the English-Scottish the defence of this harbour town was of great strategic importance. The construction of new “Italian-style” battlements to encircle Berwick (from 1558) was the single largest undertaking of the Elizabethan period. This star fort structure is unique in Britain, but, in one of history’s many ironies, never served its original purpose; England and Scotland were unified when James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne on Elizabeth’s death without issue.

BerwickEmplacement

World War I gun emplacements constructed on one of the Elizabethan bastions. Berwick was actually bombed by German zeppelins in 1916 during World War I.

BerwickChurchStreetBerwickChurch

Even the church looks rather fortress-like!

BerwickCobbles

Steep cobbled street in the historic centre. Two easily missed features: yet another CCTV camera and the holes in the roof of the Berwick Cockles shop.

BerwickSkip

With so much history, you can afford to abandon bits and leave skips in front of them. Here the remains of a (market?) hall from 1874.

BerwickOldBridge

Berwick Bridge: this bridge across the Tweed, built in 1611-1624, used to carry the main North-South road.

BerwickRoadBridge

The Royal Tweed Bridge was built in the 1920s to divert road traffic from the old bridge.

BerwickViaductBerwickViaductSweep

The Royal Border Bridge is an impressive mid-19th C railway viaduct which brings the East Cost Main Line through Berwick. In a telling illustration of changing attitudes to historic conservation, much of the ancient Berwick Castle was destroyed in constructing the railway station; the railway platforms are said to sit over the spot where Edward I took oaths of allegiance from the Scottish nobility in 1296.

BerwickBorder

View of coastline just north of the Scottish border. Note the trace of the main railway line in the foreground; it is one of the UK’s best railway journeys (for both scenery and speed).

Berwick-upon-Tweed