A TYNE Valley business has branched out in a new direction - by selling Christmas trees in the run-up to the festive period.

A decade-long growth programme is finally paying off for Haydon Bridge firm Haydon Construction, which has grown 70,000 trees in one of the district’s most picturesque locations on Hadrian’s Wall.

The 25-acre site, near Bardon Mill, is set against the backdrop of Steel Rigg, and the Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre.

“The site came up for sale and we saw a lot of potential here,” said Gary Cousin, who runs the business alongside his brother Philip, and Cameron Scott.

“We’ve gradually built it up over the past 10 years, planting up to 10,000 trees a year. There’s been a lot of work involved but we’ve really enjoyed it.”

The new venture is called Roman Wall Christmas Trees. 

Last Saturday, the trees went on sale to the public for the first time, with customers able to choose between the three types available - Norway, Nordmann, and pine.

What’s more? People are invited to explore the stunning site, following footpaths, and can select their chosen tree by hanging a named tinsel tag around the top.

“We were amazed at the turn-out last weekend,” said Gary. “Under normal circumstances we’d have liked to have offered mulled wine and mince pies, but that’s hopefully something for next year.”

The trees come in a variety of sizes, with some up to 10ft in height. Once selected, they are brought to the car park area, where they are packaged using specialist equipment, for transportation.

While most customers take their trees home in car boots and trailers, the firm offers deliveries where required. Separate pots and stands are also on sale, while trees already potted are set to be available next year.

The brothers are familiar faces from a previous venture. Operation Paintball was based at Slaley Hall in the 1990s, and later became Premier Leisure. Haydon Construction has evolved since its formation in 2006.

“We knew the Christmas trees were a long-term project,” said Gary, “we did a lot of research and visited other sites elsewhere in the UK. We’re also members of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.”

The site, which is also within a stone's throw of Vindolanda Roman Fort, is open from 9am to 3pm Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors are encouraged to wear wellies.

Philip said: "Come and see us and choose the right tree for you this Christmas."

Call Philip on 07861 391 415, or Gary on 07734 256 059.