The Teesdale Way – Section 09
Distance: 10 km (6.2 miles) | Profile: Generally flat | Going: Generally good but muddy in places. Sheltered on trails, tracks and road through farmland, woodlands and parkland | General Stores: Darlington [1 km]; Hurworth on Tees
Section 9 of the Teesdale Way is 10 km (6.2 miles) from Darlington to Hurworth-on-Tees in County Durham. The section starts from the lay-by off the A67 close to the Baydale Beck pub on the outskirts of Darlington. Heading east past the pub we come to the old Darlington waterworks at Tees Cottage Pumping Station on the right-hand side of the road and access the River Tees through the picnic area and car park at Broken Scar immediately after the pumping station. But for a couple of steep inclines the entire route is flat and fairly easy.
The route then follows the course of the river as far as Blackwell. In summer the river and its banks are very popular with locals and the increase in activity is very noticeable compared to previous sections. At Blackwell we enter an attractive wood close to Castle Hill and on emerging, continue on the road, eventually crossing the busy A66/A167 junction to access a quiet lane that takes us through the golf course at Stressholme. Soon after, the road becomes a trail, crossing the golf course and passing close to the glacial lakes of ‘Hell Kettles’ shortly after.
After encountering the A167 again, we arrive at Hurworth Place, separated from North Yorkshire by the River Tees and Croft Bridge. On the other side is the spa village of Croft-on-Tees, home to yet another fine medieval church; this one being dedicated to St Peter.
Before the bridge however, our route turns steeply uphill on the road to Hurworth, past the Comet pub. Crossing the railway bridge at the top it turns right to cross the stile and run alongside the East Coast Main Line before winding its way through the grounds of Rockliffe Hall. Beyond Rockliffe, we join a charming country lane known as Blind Lane which takes us into the finish of the section at Hurworth-on-Tees.