Alston Moor shown within Cumbria
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Alston Moor|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Penrith and the Border|
|Alston with Garrigill|
|• Succeeded by||District of Eden|
|• HQ||Alston Town Hall|
Alston Moor is an area of moorland and civil parish, also electoral ward in Cumbria, England, based around the small town of Alston. The parish/ward had a population of 2,088 at the 2011 census. As well as the town of Alston, the parish includes the villages of Garrigill and Nenthead, along with the hamlets of Nenthall, Nentsberry, Galligill, Blagill, Ashgill, Leadgate, Bayles and Raise. Alston Moor is part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the second largest of the 40 AONBs in England and Wales.
Under the Local Government Act 1894, the parish, then known as Alston with Garrigill, which had previously been a rural sanitary district on its own, became one of the few single-parish rural districts. This remained in existence until 1974 when it became part of the Eden district. The parish is divided into the wards of Alston (which includes Leadgate), Garrgill and Nenthead.
The area is drained by the River South Tyne whose source is located in the fells above Garrigill and also by the Rivers Nent and Black Burn which, along with many other smaller streams, flow into the Tyne. The Rivers Tees and Wear also have their sources on the borders of the parish.
The manor of Alston or Alston Moor chenges hands several times until the 17th century when it paased to the Radcliffe family who held the title Earl of Derwentwater, but after their part in the failed 1715 Jacobite Rising their lands were confiscated and Alston became the property of the naval hospital at Greenwich in London.
Greenwich Hospital remained the principal landowner in the parish and owner of the extensive mineral rights up until the 1960s. The estate was then transferred to the Trustees for Catholic Purposes who a few years ago sold their remaining properties in Alston Moor.
The poet W. H. Auden was to travel a great deal in Britain and abroad, but it is the wild region between the River Tees and Hadrian's Wall which provides the backdrop to many of his poems and plays of the ‘20s and ’30s, and echoes at intervals throughout his life. In America in 1947, an Ordnance Survey map of Alston Moor hung on the wall of Auden’s chaotic shack on Fire Island.
According to his brother John, Auden came to love Alston Moor more than any other place. The poem entitled ’Alston Moor’ dates from 1924, as does ’Allendale’.
Alston Moor is home to England's highest golf course. The Golf Club was founded in 1905 and has occupied numerous sites over the years. The first course was at Black House Farm, but the course is now located on the Hermitage Farm site. The official opening was on Easter Monday 1906, although there is evidence that a club was in existence for quite some time before this date.
- Cybermoor community website with news, comment, webcams and information about Alston Moor
- Alston Moor Newsletter
- Media related to Alston Moor at Wikimedia Commons