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Wooler Town Centre - geograph.org.uk - 240656.jpg
Wooler Town Centre
Grid reference: NT989280
Location: 55°32’46"N, 2°-0’60"W
Population: 1,857  (2001)
Post town: Wooler
Postcode: NE71
Dialling code: 01668
Local Government
Council: Northumberland

Wooler is a small town in Northumberland which stands on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, by the Cheviot Hills and so is a popular base for walkers. It bills itself as the "Gateway to the Cheviots".

As well as many shops and pubs, the town has a youth hostel, many hotels and campsites. It lies on the St. Cuthbert's Way long distance trail between Melrose Abbey and Lindisfarne.

The main A697 runs by the town linking Morpeth to Coldstream in Roxburghshire. Wooler contains two schools; Wooler First School and Glendale Middle School. Noel Hodgson, the author of Below Flodden and Dancing Over Cheviot, two Northumbrian poem books, lived and taught at Glendale Middle School.

Close by is Yeavering Bell crowned by a large iron-age fort.


Wooler is not recorded in the Domesday Book, because when the book was written in 1086, Northumberland was not under Norman control. However, by 1107, at the time of the creation of the 1st Baron of Wooler, the settlement was described as "situated in an ill-cultivated country under the influence of vast mountains, from whence it is subject to impetuous rains". Wooler subsequently enjoyed a period of prosperity and with its expansion it was granted a licence in 1199 to hold a market every Thursday. The St Mary Magdalene Hospital was established around 1288.

Wooler is close to Humbleton Hill the site of a bloody battle at which Harry Hotspur defeated a Scottish army in 1402. This battle is referred to at the beginning of William Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 1 – of which Hotspur is the dashing hero.

Wooler also used to have a drill hall that used to be the local "picture house" that children were evacuated to in Second World War. There also used to be a fountain situated at the top of Church Street in the town.[1]

Alexander Dalziel of Wooler (1781–1832) was the father of the celebrated Dalziel Brothers. Seven of his eight sons were artists, and became celebrated engravers in London.[2] Their sister Margaret was also an engraver.

Between 1887 and 1965 the town was served by Wooler railway station on the Alnwick to Cornhill Branch.


Wooler may be from Old English wella "well, spring" and ofer (ridge, hill). A record of the name as Welnfver in 1186 seems to suggest this origin. The well or spring referred to is the River Till).

The Wooler Water, (part of which is also known as `Happy Valley'), is a tributary of the River Till and is formed by a confluence of the Harthope and Carey Burns which rise in the Cheviot Hills, to the south of Wooler.

The other origin may be "Wulfa's hillside", from the Old English personal name Wulfan ora "Wolfa's hillside ", although this word ora in place-names usually means "river mouth, shore". A record of the name as Wulloir in 1232 may suggest this origin.

It is not certain which is the 'proper' origin.

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