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The Weardale Way – Section 03

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Distance: 7.5 km (4.5 miles) | Profile: Hilly | Going: Fairly strenuous first half over exposed moorland with an easy descent to finish | General Stores: Westgate; Rookhope

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Section 3 of the Weardale Way is 7.5 km (4.5 miles) from Westgate to Rookhope in Weardale, County Durham. This section is probably the most exposed of the entire Weardale Way and includes potentially, the most difficult navigational challenge. Leaving the ‘candle house’ uphill from the junction with the A689 we pass the location of the castle that was the ‘west gate’ of the Bishop of Durham’s hunting park. Further along the road we reach the signpost on Scutterhill bank that directs us across the fields to Warden Hill Farm via the strangely misplaced cul-de-sac of St. Andrew’s Place.

On the steep trail above Warden Hill Farm (once home to the famed Weardale Chest), we encounter our first pair of lime kilns, structures synonymous with the Durham dales. Shortly afterwards we find ourselves on the fell over Cuthbert’s Heights heading over the shoulder of the aptly named Weather Hill. This part of the route is boggy more often than not and so lacking in features that in poor visibility it becomes challenging to navigate with any accuracy.

Beyond Cuthbert’s Heights we look down upon the curving track of the Middlehope and Rookhope Railway path that, when we reach it, conducts us swiftly in a constant shallow descent towards the lead mining village of Rookhope. At the workshops just before the village, tucked away between the path and the Rookhope Burn, is the geological icon that is the Rookhope Borehole. Crossing the bridge brings us to our destination at the Rookhope Inn that marks the end of the section.

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