Newcastle and Gateshead, the two areas in which The Angel’s Way spends most of its time, are potent symbols of how places can rise, fall and rise again to become cultural life forces. Few can deny today that these Tyneside locales showcase some of England’s most enticing arts and architecture, and even fewer would have thought this possible until quite recently in their respective histories. It is hard to attribute Newcastle and Gateshead’s astonishing renaissance to any one event, for their potential was always huge. But one giant step along the way was when the Angel of the North that would become Britain’s best-known and most-viewed sculpture was built on a hill above Gateshead. It was symbolic of many things, but most importantly of how Tyneside had turned a corner and was again becoming a
big attraction to visitors to North East England. And so The Angel’s Way takes this as its inspiration. The path is one of the most cosmopolitan Northern Saints Trails, introducing you to some of the North East’s most noteworthy art galleries, museums and cultural venues. Were you to absorb everything on this route, you would need days in addition to actual walking time. But there is more than spectacular city sightseeing in the wings. You will also traverse the seldom-visited countryside on Tyneside’s fringes: peaceful sandy beach-side village Seaton Sluice, Grade 1 listed country mansion Seaton Delaval Hall or the divine wooded gorge of Jesmond Dene in Newcastle itself. And the walk concludes on a profound note: at the Chester-le-Street site that once housed St Cuthbert’s body before continuing on to Durham Cathedral. Hike the whole Angel’s Way, and flit between truly world-class big city attractions and heavenly rural hinterlands.
It is my intention to attempt this route on Saturday 12th December 2020.