The warksburn, bridge and Long Drop

The Long Drop, and Warksburn bridge

Low Roses Bower – Warksburn

A few hundred metres downstream from the main steading, hidden discretely within a copse of trees high above the Warksburn, lies the now derelict Low Roses Bower, reputedly the home of Rosamund Dodd. Legend has it that Rosamund fell in love with a Charlton chieftain and the two of them built the original dwelling as a discreet lovers nest, probably during the early 1500’s. A bower is a secluded place and hence Rosamund’s bower became Rose’s Bower, which in the 1900’s simply became Roses Bower. The records show that the dwelling was inhabited until 1830, long after the construction of the new Farmhouse. It is a romantic story , and probably true, as anyone can imagine this scene standing beside the ruins of Low Roses Bower on a sunny afternoon. For the adventurous or the incorrigibly romantic, a moonlit night by the burn is an experience to be treasured.

A Celtic ramp runs from Low Roses Bower down to secluded pastures by the Warksburn. A new bridge, recently constructed by The National Park, provides access to the Holy Well Haugh. The Holy Well, used by Celt, Pict, Roman and Saxon, still runs clear and is known as a healing well; wonderful for curing ‘’ague, gravel, and obstructions’’.

Anthony Milburn, another border leader was said to have spent time at Low Roses Bower and the Holy Well Haugh. A ruined cottage overlooks the haugh, where he probably stored his stolen cattle and sheep.

Low Roses Bower was built in the style of a bastle and some of the defences can still be seen. Bob Murdie and his wife organised Northumbrian Barn Dances at Low Roses Bower and welcomed local musicians and their families to dance the night away and share the local gossip. Local farmers brought their fiddles and accompanied the dancers, lit by candles and watched over by the hens and the animals in the byre.

Next to Low Roses Bower is the famous ‘Long Drop’, the highest perched ‘netty’ in England. Remarkably, it was used until the mid 1950’s when the Bob Murdie installed the farm’s first flush loo. Before that time, the short walk down the hill to the Long Drop must have been a pleasant alternative to the ‘thunderbox’ located in the farm yard!

Roses Bower is as unspoilt today as it would have been all those years ago. The Warksburn through Roses Bower and Craigshield is breathtakingly beautiful and wonderfully peaceful, the perfect place to relax and reflect. It has inspired writers, artists and poets over the years.