These Allen Valleys, East and West, are blessed with the most idiosyncratic, and lovely, places for events. And sometimes, because the places are so fetching, the events grow up around them. Something like that has happened at The Garden Station, I suspect, which has featured a very intriguing array of events this summer, which continue on into autumn.
Like the Drum Circle evenings on the last Sunday of the month from 6:30-8:30. Or the theatrical presentations with the Quantum Theatre Company in July. Earlier this month the Garden Station was scheduled to host a series of four day workshops based around Chakras and what seemed like classic New Age mysticism, but these have been re-scheduled into day-long workshops throughout the next few months. Lots of different energies floating around anyway. I hear another theatrical presentation is on the cards for the winter. Usually the café/tea room is open on weekends, unless there’s a special event which takes over the place.
But the main revenue stream for The Garden Station is probably its function as a delightful wedding venue, providing not only catering (either within its own tea room, in the garden, or for larger parties in neighbouring village halls; Langley’s hall is just across the road, and Allendale’s Village Hall has been used in the past for a big reception too, after the ceremony at the Garden Station. Fully licensed for weddings of either religious, humanist, pagan or civil flavours, and with a team of service providers ready to assist (flowers, transport, dresses, hair & make-up, photographers) in the preparation for the big day, the lovely garden spot has grown from strength to strength.
According to the history of the station presented on The Garden Station’s website, the old Lead Line carried its last freight in 1950. It had been built to transport smelted lead product from Allen Mill and Langley to Hexham and on to the main line. Thereafter the station evolved into something dramatically different. For some years, its focus was on gardening courses, with a sideline in Post Office duties, but these days it transports couples from singleness to marital status.
A remarkable metaphor, then, for a lovely venue with an intriguing history. The alchemists of old were passionate in their attempts to transmogrify lead into gold; Jill and Terry Gregg of The Garden Station work very hard, and just as passionately today to ensure that a place that once served as a hub for the safe passage of lead now delivers golden memories.