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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)
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ian James #

    Just completed the Teesdale Way last Friday. A fantastic experience for someone who grew up on Teesside. From vastness of Cumbria, through to High Force, the stunning viaduct at Yarm and finally the ‘towering’ Transporter Bridge – with lots to remember in between.
    With a map and a book it was generally easy to follow; with only two exceptions. The signs around the Preston Park area were sparse ( although it had the feel of a treasure hunt and the clues were soon sorted). In contrast part of the last stage was bordering on the farcical. From the derelict railway station at Grangetown to the Trunk Road; path under a road bridge – gated and locked, Boardwalk – fenced off and the pathway by the British Oxygen plant was virtually impassible . And not a sign in sight. Bit too old for scrambling. My advice would be to get to the Trunk Road earlier and continue walking until the Coatham Marshes sign appears and then onward to the Gare. All in all – excellent walk; may do it in reverse one day.! Ian James

    September 22, 2015
    • Ian,
      Thanks for your feedback, it’s much appreciated. I’m currently revisiting the sections prior to publishing a guide book for the Teesdale Way as well as updating the information on the website. Just last week I did the section from Preston Park to Teesaurus Park in Middlesbrough and completely agree with you that the signage in the area of Preston Park is inconsistent leaving you pretty much to your own devices. I’ve yet to go back to the Middlesbrough-Dormanstown section (I’ll be doing it this week) but have already had reports about the closures you describe. Once I’ve seen them for myself I’ll be asking the relevant councils about their plans for the route and will post my findings here. Great to know how much you enjoyed the walk and having walked/run it both ways know just how different it is starting from the coast. All the best, Scott

      September 29, 2015

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