Ryton, Tyne and Wear

Ryton, Tyne and Wear

infobox UK place

country = England
official_name= Ryton
latitude= 54.9729
longitude= -1.7634
population = around 8,000
metropolitan_borough= Gateshead
metropolitan_county= Tyne and Wear
region= North East England
constituency_westminster= Blaydon
post_town = RYTON
postcode_district = NE40
postcode_area= NE
dial_code= 0191
os_grid_reference= NZ1464

Ryton is a semi-rural small town near the western border of Tyne and Wear, England. Once an independent town in County Durham it became incorporated into the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear and the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in 1974.


Ryton lies midway between Crawcrook and Blaydon, both in Tyne and Wear.


Traditionally, Ryton's economy was built upon agriculture and coal mining. Some think that coal-mining was taking place in the area as early as Roman times, however it was not until 1239 when Henry III granted that coal may be mined outside the walls that mining became extensive. The agriculture industry on Ryton was mixed and included both pastoral farming and arable farming.

As well as its coal industry, Ryton formerly contained the lead-smelting reverberatory furnaces of the "Ryton Company", whose mines were on Alston Moor. This business was amalgamated into the London Lead Company in 1705.

Ryton soon became a place of migration for the wealthy, who wanted to escape the urban sprawl of the Industrial Revolution in Gateshead and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

A reminder of Ryton's affluent past is found in some of the old mansions at old Ryton village, a place rich in rural qualities because of its proximity to Ryton willows on the banks of the River Tyne.

After the decline of the coal industry during the second half of the twentieth century Ryton became increasingly suburbanised and is now used as a commuter village for those that work in the more urban areas of Tyneside.

Local politics

In local government, Ryton is located in the 'Ryton, Crookhill and Stella ward'. The ward is in the outer west of the borough. The ward is served by three councillors, all Liberal Democrats. Gateshead Council is Labour controlled.

Ryton is located within the parliamentary constituency of Blaydon. Its current MP is Labour's Dave Anderson.


The neighbouring village of Crawcrook is a nexus of coal mining nostalgia also. Remnants of several old pits across Ryton and Crawcrook, including Emma, Clara and Addison can still be found. Within a couple of hundred metres of both Crawcrook and Ryton main street there is rich countryside.

Perhaps the most impressive section of this countryside is Ryton Willows Local Nature Reserve located on the banks of the Tyne, just past Old Ryton Village. It consists of 43 hectares of grassland, ponds, woodland and locally-rare rare species of flora and fauna. Because of this it has been designated as a site of special scientific interest. [ [http://www.cycle-routes.org/cycle-gateshead/routes/keelmans/keel_landmarks.html Cycle-routes] ]

Other areas of countryside include nearby Stargate pond and Addison and Hedgefield woods. It is at Addison woods that Alexander Graham Bell made one of his pioneering telephone calls. [ [http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/Leisure%20and%20Culture/countryside/sites/addison.aspx Gateshead BC] ]

Further up the Tyne Valley, past the village of Crawcrook and into the border of Northumberland, there are rural market towns such as Prudhoe, Corbridge and Hexham.

Ryton today

A relatively affluent area of Gateshead, Ryton has experienced suburbanisation in recent years and is now used as a commuter area for those that work in the more urban areas of Tyneside.

Despite being a provincial suburb, Ryton remains a vibrant area, with a variety of local amenities. In the more central part of Ryton these include a Somerfield supermarket, a Sainsbury's Local store and a selection of independent shops such as Dominic Pizza's, Coffee Johnny's, a small bookshop and a Deli as well as a chiropodist, dentist and various hair and beauty salons. Ryton also boasts several restaurants and six public houses, four of which are located away from Ryton Main Street, in Ryton Village. The nearby village of Crawcrook offers more services, including a doctor's surgery, two veterinary surgeries, another chiropodist, another dentist and a restaurant.

Ryton also has an extensive Edwardian park which includes children's playing equipment, a bowling green and an aviary.

Away from the town centre there is a country club hotel and two golf courses, Tyneside golf club at Ryton, and Ryton golf club in nearby Clara Vale. Both are situated in tranquil areas, near the banks of the Tyne.

Ryton is home to three schools, Ryton Infant's School, Ryton Primary School and Ryton Comprehensive School, all of which occupy the same site in the town. Nearby Crawcrook offers two more primary schools. Crookhill primary is also nearby.

Sport also plays a role in the local community. Apart from its golf facilities and its Edwardian park, Ryton has its own Football (soccer) club, Ryton F.C. who play at Crawcrook, its own Rugby union team, Ryton Rugby Football Club $at nearby Barmoor. There is also a judo club located in Crawcrook. Ryton also has its own cricket club, situated opposite Ryton Comprehensive School.

Ryton also benefits from good public transport with regular bus services to Crawcrook, Prudhoe and Hexham to the west, and the MetroCentre, Gateshead and Newcastle to the east.

Other features of Ryton

The earliest record of a church in Ryton is in 1112. However, the oldest surving church is the The Holy Cross church, the oldest building in Ryton that dates back to 1220. The most striking feature of the church is its 13th century broach spire which is 36 m tall. Other well known artefacts include a 13th century Frosterly marble effigy of a deacon holding a book.

There have been a number of prominent rectors of Ryton. These include Thomas Secker (1727), later the Archbishop of Canterbury. Charles Thorp (1807) Virtual Founder and first warden of the University of Durham and The Hon. Richard Byron (1769) brother of William Byron, 5th Baron Byron and great-uncle of Lord Byron.

Ryton's village green has a rich history with religious and social significance. It is at this green that both John Wesley and Charles Wesley preached. The green, like many greens in similar villages, played host to an annual vibrant fair which would include jugglers, dancers and local stalls.

The old pinfold dates back to the 12th century. During the second half of the twentieth century the pinfold was restored.

The annual [http://www.rytonfestival.org.uk Ryton Music Festival] , held over February and March, has been held in the village for more than sixty years. It offers a variety of music and drama including choral singing and mime.

There is also the Ryton Summer festival, held at the local comprehensive school. Activities here usually include live music, sport and arts and crafts stalls.

Each year on the Tuesday before Christmas Eve villagers gather on the village green to sing traditional [http://www.carolsatthecross.org.uk carols] accompanied by a local brass band.

External links and references

* [http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/DocumentLibrary/People/Strategies/WardCensusMar04/Ryton%20March%2004.pdf Census 2001 Summary of the Ryton, Stella and Crookhill ward. Provided by Gateshead Council.]
* [http://www.thischurch.com Ryton Methodist Church]
* [http://www.asaplive.com/Local/Histories.cfm?ccs=529&cs=1987 An account of the local history of Ryton and its surrounding area.]
* [http://www.carolsatthecross.org.uk Ryton Annual Christmas Carol event]

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