By November 2019, Steph and I finally decided to up sticks and move to Newcastle upon Tyne in the northeast of England, to be closer to our younger daughter and her family. Our elder daughter and family live in Minnesota, but a move to the USA was never on the cards.
We didn’t actually make the move until 30 September 2020 – right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic!
We were living in Bromsgrove, a small market town (population in 2001 of just over 29,000), in northeast Worcestershire, and about 13 miles south of Birmingham in the West Midlands.
We originally settled in Bromsgrove in July 1981 after returning from South America, when I joined the University of Birmingham as a lecturer in the Department of Plant Biology. Then, in 1991, I took up a position at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a renowned international agricultural research center in Los Baños, about 68 km south of Manila, staying there almost 19 years until retirement beckoned in April 2010.
Do we miss Worcestershire? In some ways. It is a lovely county, and within a 50 mile radius of Bromsgrove there are many attractions, into Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Shropshire.
Since 2011 we have been keen members of the National Trust (NT) and English Heritage (EH). Just check out the list of places (and maps) we have visited over the past decade or more.
There are fewer NT and EH properties here in the northeast, but the region has so much to offer with possibly some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country: coast, river valleys, moorlands, mountains, and a huge dose of history, especially the history and remains of the Roman occupation almost 2000 years ago.
March 2021 saw us move into our new home in Backworth, North Tyneside, and 15 minutes on the Metro from Newcastle city center. We are also just 10 minutes’ drive from the North Sea coast. The Tyne and Wear area (comprising the five metropolitan boroughs of Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, and Sunderland) as well as the surrounding counties of Northumberland and Co Durham (even as far south as North Yorkshire) have so much to offer.
And since our move here in 2020, we have been out and about exploring our new home whenever the weather permits.
On this map I’ve marked all the places we have visited over the past 30 months. NT and EH properties have a dark red icon, coast and landscapes are green, other attractions are purple, and other historic sites are marked with a yellow icon. I’ve included photographs, and there are links to my blog posts and other websites where you can find more information about this wonderful corner of England.