The first in a new series of books exploring the place names of Northumberland has been published – with the Cheviot Hills as its focus.
Author Jonathan West, of Redesdale, and Blagdon-based publisher Northern Heritage have printed The Place-Names of the Old County of Northumberland – 1: The Cheviot Hills and Dales.
The book is intended to help general readers discover the possible origins – the etymologies – of the names of towns, villages, rivers and other natural features in our region.
The series deals with Northumberland before the 1974 local-authority boundary changes because this reorganisation is so recent compared to the history of most names.
The information is presented as a series of journeys so that visitors can find their way around and place names can be treated in their geographical context.
The first illustrated volume on the Cheviot Hills and Dales comprises the western uplands of North Tynedale, Redesdale, Coquetdale and Glendale.
Volume two will deal with Tyneside and the Tyne Valley, volume three the southern uplands of South Tynedale and Allendale and volume four the Northumberland coastal plain between the hills and the sea.
The account is based on published sources which have been distilled into a large database. Each entry details the name as it appears on Ordnance Survey maps using national grid references and some postcodes, help with pronunciation and then discusses the etymologies.
Some place names have been recorded for more than a thousand years, others have little or no history, so some derivations are more plausible than others.
A comprehensive index at the back allows speedy access to relevant sections.
The book is priced at £9.99 and is available from good bookshops, tourist information centres and heritage sites or direct from 01670 789940 and www.northern-heritage.co.uk