The Teesdale Way – Section 04
Distance: 7.5 km (4.6 km) | Profile: Undulating – steeply in places | Going: Generally good but with a tricky riverside section near West Stotley. Muddy in places. Sheltered on riverside trails, farmland tracks and public roads | General Stores: Middleton-in-Teesdale
Section 4 of the Teesdale Way is 7.5 km (4.6 km) from Middleton-in-Teesdale to Eggleston Bridge.This section of the Teesdale Way is a relatively short but at times steeply undulating trip through the lower dale with the first half being alongside the river. The route then climbs out of the valley to visit the medieval village of Eggleston before descending by road to meet the river once more at Eggleston Bridge.
From Middleton Bridge on the southern edge of Middleton-in-Teesdale we enter the lower dale. The Whin Sill is now behind us, the valley is wider and the landscape more pastoral with many fields en-route having been cultivated since medieval times.
Limestone exposures continue to feature along the river but midway through the journey we encounter the Cleveland Dyke, an isolated outcrop of volcanic rock that runs in a thin strip through what was the county of Cleveland and across County Durham.
In the 18th and 19th centuries pack horses brought lead ore from the mines above and around Middleton-in-Teesdale – along much of what is now the Teesdale Way – to smelt mills further down the valley and in neighbouring dales; the ‘Saddle House’ at Egglestonburn is one of the few remaining features of the Blackton Smelt Mill that once occupied the valley below it.
The village of Eggleston further east has 12th century origins and is laid out along classic medieval lines with some of the surrounding fields retaining evidence of the cultivation terraces cut into them during the period. Beyond Eggleston the route joins the main road and drops down past Eggleston Hall Gardens to the finish of the section at Eggleston Bridge.