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Posts from the ‘Durham Walks’ Category

Walkers & Runners! Help us test our Teesdale Way directions…

If you’re at a loose end any time this summer and fancy doing a walk or run outside your own back yard, how about trying a section (or two) of the Teesdale Way using directions specially prepared for publication in my forthcoming pictorial guide to the Teesdale Way, which will be the sister publication to ‘The Weardale Way – A guided tour along the River Wear through County Durham and Sunderland’. I’ve divided the 92-mile trail into 15 sections (average length of six miles), the directions for the first eight of which have been completed and now need to be validated and this is where YOU could help.

What I’d like you to do is to download a set of directions using the links in the table below, walk or run the route and when you’ve finished, let me know by emailing me at which section you did, when you did it, how successful you were, whether the directions were accurate or not and any suggested amendments. Anything else you might wish to add (e.g. transport solutions) will likewise be gratefully received. Obviously if you’re on the ball navigationally you’re not going to need the directions – but why not give them a go just for a laugh? Or give them to your other half, or your mates or the kids and see how they get on?

Although (with the exception of section five) the sections are delivered as ‘one way’ or ‘out and back’ routes they’ve still got a lot to offer. For a quick ninja hit you might like to swoop in using two vehicles or public transport to access both ends of the section or you could just take your time and appreciate the route from both directions – the running experience in particular is completely different with a change of direction. I speak from experience because that’s how I mapped them (it certainly helped with my weekly running mileage). And just in case you think I’ve skipped the detail I’ve also walked all of them – several more than once!

Any feedback that you care to give would be most gratefully received (that is, after all, the point of the exercise) particularly with regard to the accuracy of the directions. For now though, only the directions and their relationship to the corresponding maps are being validated. Consequently, much of the other stuff including ‘features’ and ‘facilities’ and ALL of the background information to the walk have been omitted – this bit comes later!

To keep everything concise, formatting is basic – so apologies for that. Also, the map sizes are necessarily constrained to conform (with a couple of exceptions) to finished sizes for eventual press printing in A5 pocketbook format. So, for clarity you might need to print them at an enhanced resolution – try the ‘text & image’ setting (or similar) in the print options but don’t enlarge them or they’ll just look fuzzy.

Obviously, to use a cycling term, the ‘queen stages’ are probably those in glorious Teesdale but every one of them has something different to offer – why not try to collect the set? Still to come though are some dreamily relaxing sections through the relatively flat Tees lowlands between Darlington and Yarm and an exciting riverside yomp with Stockton as its focal point (with decent transport links as well).  One of my favourites is the section through Teesside’s heavy industrial area – not very glam you’d think? Well, to be fair, it isn’t but the route is extremely cunning, interesting in its own right and very, very different to what has gone before. Then there is the final leg to the sea and the lovely (if turbine dominated) sands of Redcar. Whatever happens though, I hope that they provide an excuse to get out into this fantastic county of ours (as well as into Cumbria and Teesside) and enjoy what it’s got to offer, especially during these lovely long summer days.

So, in the table below are the sections that are currently available to download. To download the directions themselves, click on the relevant ‘section’ link. To see the start and finish locations for the section in Google Maps, click on the relevant ‘start’ or ‘finish’ or manually copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Maps (note that the start and finish locations in the directions themselves are indicated using OS six-figure grid references).

Section 1Dufton (54.619309, -2.482005) to
Birkdale Bridge (54.653548, -2.289835)
Section 2Birkdale Bridge (54.653548, -2.289835) to
Holwick Head Bridge (54.649637, -2.173492)
Section 3Holwick Head Bridge (54.649637, -2.173492) to
Middleton Bridge (54.622377, -2.084292)
Section 4Middleton Bridge (54.622377, -2.084292) to
Eggleston Bridge (54.604223, -2.006766)
Section 5Eggleston Bridge (54.604223, -2.006766) to
Barnard Castle (54.539355, -1.923553)
Section 6Barnard Castle (54.539355, -1.923553) to
Whorlton Bridge (54.526258, -1.836757)
Section 7Whorlton Bridge (54.526258, -1.836757) to
Gainford (54.546248, -1.738572)
Section 8Gainford (54.546248, -1.738572) to
Low Coniscliffe (54.521734, -1.611821)

Guided Tour of Neville’s Cross Battle Site

Join The Durham Cow this June for a spot of ‘healthy history’, exploring the streets, fields and vales around Durham’s very own battlefield of Neville’s Cross. Come and hear the story of this landmark battle that took place over 650 years ago in what today is some of Durham’s finest countryside – experience it before the link road spoils it all!

Two dates (one weekend, one evening) have been arranged:

SUNDAY 1st JUNE 2014 9.00 am at Neville’s Cross monument, junction of St John’s Road and Crossgate Peth (A690) Durham, County Durham (NZ 263420). Approximate distance & time: 5.5 miles/3.5 hours

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TUESDAY 3rd JUNE 2014 6.15 pm at Neville’s Cross monument, junction of St John’s Road and Crossgate Peth (A690) Durham, County Durham (NZ 263420). Approximate time: 2.5 hours (shortened route to finish before 9.00 pm)

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£3 PER PERSON; under-16’s free; dogs welcome but should be well controlled, preferably on leads, as the route includes arable farmland, riverside woodlands and some busy roads

Timings have been calculated on an average ‘relaxed’ walking speed of 3 miles per hour on roads, tracks and trails but please be aware that the route is undulating (very steeply in places) and can be very muddy depending on weather conditions. Regretfully it is probably unsuitable for persons of limited walking fitness or mobility. If you are at all unsure of your ability to cope with the walk please contact me beforehand. Well treaded walking shoes or boots are recommended together with rainwear and possibly a brolly (depending on the forecast). Although no long stops are planned there will be ample opportunity to eat so bring some sustenance if you need to! Please try not to be late: admin and an introductory talk should take about 15 minutes after which we’ll need to leave promptly – particularly on the evening. There should be ample parking in the streets near to the Neville’s Cross monument. Bus stops are sited on both sides of Crossgate Peth (A690) within view of the monument, serviced by Arriva routes 7, 43, 46, 48, 49, 49a (please check with the operator first).

Your guide will be Scott (Joe) Watson, author of ‘The Weardale Way – A Guided Tour along the River Wear through County Durham and Sunderland’ who is currently working on a new book about the battle.

HOW TO BOOK: Booking isn’t necessary but it would be great if you could indicate your intention to attend ideally through the comments box on this web page. Alternatively you could email or visit our facebook page If the dates given in this newsletter are unsuitable and you would still like a tour please let me know via any of the methods listed above so that I can gauge demand and try to arrange more suitable dates.

Hope to see you soon


Middle Greenlaws Level Mine and WW II Aircrash Site

Just added an article that discusses a location we visited on Sunday9th February 2014. Middle Greenlaws Level lead and ore works is also the site of the WWII aircrash that resulted in the loss of all seven of the crew of a RAF Wellington bomber. After reading an archaeological report in Durham County Council’s ‘Archaeology County Durham’ magazine I was keen to see the mine site for myself and can confirm that it is one of the most interesting lead mine sites in the dale. We’ve added it as a walk but bear in mind that both ends of the site can be visited, permission needs to be obtained from the landowner to walk through the site itself as it doesn’t lie on a public right of way.