The Teesdale Way – Section 14
Distance: 10.7 km (6.7 miles) | Profile: Flat | Going: Generally good but potentially very muddy in places. Sheltered on trails, tracks and road through urban, semi-urban and industrialised areas | General Stores: Middlesbrough
Section 14 of the Teesdale Way is 10.7 km (6.7 miles) from Middlesbrough to Dormanstown town. Although the delights of this section may not be to everyone’s taste, as a contrast to what has gone before, the heavy industry in my opinion, makes a fantastic contribution to the diverse character of the trail overall. Unfortunately it is a sad fact that the future of the steel mills at Lackenby and their associated industries was and continues to be precarious and it is possible that they could be gone by the time you get around to making your journey.
Starting from the car park of a typical modern business park, signs of the region’s more industrial past are soon visible: from railway tracks that cross the road to go nowhere, to the iconic Transporter Bridge and the walls of red brick that link the area’s industrial heritage with the rapidly developing 21st century regeneration area of Middlehaven where Anish Kapoor’s ‘Temenos’ sculpture (pictured left) and Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium are watched over by the Middlesbrough Dock Clock Tower that has stood on the spot since 1903.
Past the stadium the route meets for the first time, the railway line linking Middlesbrough with Redcar that will be its companion for much of the journey from this point. Over the level crossing and past the charismatic signal box it becomes a trail in front of The Navigation pub, a favourite watering hole for Middlesbrough FC supporters. From here it weaves a tenuous but resolutely independent path in and out, between railway and road, over bridges and under pipelines and past the miles of steel mills to the Lord MacGowan Bridge on the A1085 from where the section finish is reached a short distance later.
One final observation: it struck me after walking the route that this is the only section on the entire Teesdale Way where there are no gates or stiles – unless you know different!