Facts About Britain's Two River Tynes.

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There are two River Tynes located in Great Britain, the thirty mile long River Tyne, in Scotland and the sixty two mile long, River Tyne in north, east England. Historians believe that the word tyne was possibly of Celtic origin and is derived from the wo

There are two River Tynes located in Great Britain, the thirty mile long River Tyne in south, east Scotland and the sixty two mile long River Tyne in north, east England.

Historians believe that the word tyne was possibly of Celtic origin and is derived from the word tin, which meant river. Neither of these British rivers were known by this name during the Roman occupation of Britain, with the word spelled as tyne not noted until the Anglo -  Saxon period.


Scotland’s River Tyne rises in the 2,162 foot high Moorfoot Hills in East Lothian and travels in a north, easterly direction for thirty miles through the towns of Pencaitland, Haddington and East Linton before draining into the North Sea at Belhaven Bay, situated twelve miles west of the coastal town of Dunbar. 

The river passes through a few areas of interest along it’s route including, the ancient village of Pencaitland, which is home to the house and grounds of the 11th century Saltoun Hall  and the 14th century Hailes Castle . The river also passes the 18th century Preston Mill  at East Linton, the medieval town of Haddington, the historic house and grounds of the Vogrie Estate Country Park , which also incorporates the two mile long Tyne Valley Path , and the coastal areas of Belham Bay and Tynesands situated on it’s estuary. The River Tyne estuary also incorporates a small part of the forty five mile long, John Muir Way, coastal path.

The mouth of the River Tyne is situated at the head of Belhaven Bay, a reknowned, local surfing venue with a wide, sandy beach, which is flanked on it's south side by the 1,811 acre, John Muir Country Park, which houses the ruins of  Dunbar Castle, and on it's north side by the spectacular rock formation known as St Baldred's Cradle, named after the sixth century Evangelist abbot and hermit, Balthere of Tyninghame.

The river has twelve small tributaries, the three largest of which are Birns Water, Humbie Water and Tyne Water. 

The river is spanned by twelve bridges, the oldest of which is the Nungate Bridge in the ancient town of Haddington, which is a three arched, sandstone bridge completed in 1550.

Overall Scotland's River Tyne is a fast flowing river popular with canoe-ists and a sought after location for fishermen, owing to it's exceptional stocks of brown trout and sea trout. The area surrounding the course of the river is also a favoured location for golfers, hikers, cyclists and nature lovers and the waters of the bay that encompass the river's estuary have become a local surfers paradise.



                                               Haddington Weir on Scotland's River Tyne.

                                          Image courtesy of James Denham, wikimedia commons.



The River Tyne, situated in north, east England, is formed by the confluence of two rivers, the River North Tyne and the River South Tyne.

The River Tyne travels for sixty two miles from the point where the above two rivers join at Watersmeet, situated two miles from the Northumberland market town of Hexham, to it's basin on the North Sea at Tynemouth, situated between the towns of North Shields and South Shields.

The River North Tyne has it's source on the 1,900 foot high Deadwater Fell in Northumbria, situated just three miles from the Scottish border on the edge of Kielder Forest, Europe's largest man made woodland.The river travels for about thirty miles, passing through Kielder Water, the U.K's largest artificial lake, the village of Bellingham, where it joins with the Hareshaw Burn and the village of Redesmouth, where it joins with the River Rede, before arriving at Watersmeet to link with the River South Tyne. 

The River South Tyne has it's source on the 1,000 foot high Alston Moor in Cumbria, which is part of Cross Fell, the source of the areas other two main river systems, the River Tees and the River Wear. 

The river goes on to travel for about twenty five miles through the villages of Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge and Allendale, where it meets with the River Allen, before joining the River North Tyne at Watersmeet.

From Watersmeet the River Tyne flows for sixty two miles, passing the market town of Hexham, famous for it's tenth century abbey, the ancient village of Corbridge, famous for it's Stonegate Roman Site, and on through the county of Tyne and Wear where it divides the City of Newcastle - upon - Tyne from the town of Gateshead, situated between Hebburn and Jarrow on it's south bank, and the towns of Wallsend and Tynemouth on it's north bank.

The course of the river has been joined by the sixty mile long Tyne Valley Railway which runs from  Hexham to Newcastle - on – Tyne, through part of the North Pennines AONB - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty -  which also makes up part of the Newcastle to Carlisle Railway Line. 

The River Tyne is joined by the tributaries of the River Ouseburn at Newcastle - on - Tyne, the thirty five mile long River Derwent at Derwenthaugh, the ten mile long Devil’s Water at Dilston and the River Team at Gateshead.


                               The Gateshead Millenium Bridge, the first of it’s kind in the world.

                                           Image courtesy of Mike 1024, wikimedia commons. 

The River Tyne is especially noted for it’s bridges, of which it has around twenty two in all, seven of which are situated between Newcastle – on – Tyne and Gateshead and are the most iconic of them all.

These bridges include the 1,337 foot high, High Level Bridge, a multi piered, rail and road, girder bridge built in 1849 by engineer Robert Stevenson, the 281 foot wide, hydraulic, cantilevered Swing Bridge, built in 1876 by W.G. Armstrong, the 528 foot high, metal through arch,Tyne Bridge, built in 1928 and the 1,157 foot long, Queen Elisabeth II  metro rail, truss bridge, opened in 1981. 

The river’s newest bridge is the striking, steele arc, Gateshead Millenium Bridge, which was the first tilting bridge to be built in the world. This unique bridge situated between Gateshead Quays and Newcastle Quayside was completed in 2002 and was built for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge tilts in order to allow ships to pass beneath it. Between them, these five bridges are reknowned for their unique system of artwork and LED lighting, a feature known as the Nocturne.

The oldest bridge spanning the River Tyne is a Roman, stone bridge at Corbridge, originally built around AD160.

The River Tyne is served by three tunnels. a 900 foot long pedestrian and cycle tunnel between Jarrow and Howden, which was completed in 1951 and was the country’s first purpose built cycle tunnel, and two, one mile long vehicular, toll tunnels, one which was completed in 1967 and another which was completed in 2010, both of which link North Shields with Howden.   

The river has a fourteen mile tidal stretch between Wylam and Newcastle, and it’s river mouth has been the site of an important port since Roman times. Since the thirteenth century the river has been synonomous with the carriage of coal and since the nineteenth century, with a large shipbuilding industry. 

Today The Port of Tyne’s deep river port, situated at South Shields, sits on six hundred acres of land and incorporates two car terminals, three rail terminals, international cruise and passenger ferry terminals and a large cargo port, which is ranked the fourth largest in Britain.

The mouth of the River Tyne is situated between the towns of North Shields and South Shields and is known as Tynemouth. The Tynemouth is flanked by two 1,000 foot long breakwaters which both sport 19th century lighthouses. Also situated along the Tynemouth are the ruins of the seventh century Tynemouth Castle, the seventh century Benedictine Tynemouth Priory, the Arbeia Roman fort at South Shields, the route of the Shields Ferry, which has been the site of a ferry crossing since 1377, the picturesque, King Edward’s Bay Beach and the internationally famed, surf championship beach at Longsands.


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     Title image – A ship passes beneath the The Tyne Bridge, courtesy of Bob Castle, wikimedia commons.


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