Teesdale Way Section 6 (Barnard Castle to Whorlton)

Section 6 of the Teesdale Way links the market town of Barnard Castle to Whorlton Bridge, just south of the village of Whorlton, in County Durham. It is the shortest of all the sections and is fairly sheltered with few inclines of any significance and reasonably good surfaces in most conditions. THERE IS A GPS ROUTE FILE AVAILABLE FOR THIS SECTION AS A FREE DOWNLOAD FROM THE SHOP.

Stats at a Glance

Distance: 6.8 km (4.3 miles) | Height Gain 59 m/194 ft | Maximum Elevation 138 m/453 ft | Profile Gently undulating | Going Generally good though muddy in places. Sheltered on trails, tracks and road through woodlands, parkland and farmland | Supplies Barnard Castle

From the car park on The Demesnes on the southern outskirts of Barnard Castle, the Teesdale Way continues east, following the river past Demesnes Mill Farm and, on the other side, the ruins of c12th Egglestone Abbey. Not much further along, the trail encounters a fairly busy road at the light-controlled, narrow crossing of Abbey Bridge, high above a highly photogenic gorge, worth exploring if you’ve got the time. Quarries along this part of the river have exploited a pale, decorative limestone known as ‘Egglestone Marble’, similar to neighbouring Weardale’s ‘Frosterley Marble’, both of which can be found in religious buildings around the country.

Further east along the river is the country estate of Rokeby, close to where the River Greta joins the River Tees at the boulder-strewn, Meeting of the Waters (the boulders were deposited by the great flood of 1771). Teesdale, and in particular, Rokeby, has been an inspiration for artists such as Turner, Cotman and the poet Sir Walter Scott. In the c14th the estate belonged to Sir Thomas de Rokeby, one of the victors of the Battle of Neville’s Cross fought outside Durham in 1346. At that time the now deserted medieval village of Rokeby would have been in existence of which today only the base of the stone cross of St Michael’s Church is visible (along with various other lumps and bumps). In his 1770 publication ‘A Six Months Tour through the North of England‘ Arthur Young mentions that a ‘tea-room’ could be found at the cottage adjacent to Dairy Bridge over the River Greta. 

Moving on, the trail soon reaches Mortham Tower a fortified manor house dating to the c14th and the possible site of another deserted medieval village that was finally swept away by Sir Thomas Robinson during the construction of Rokeby Park in the c18th. Shortly after that the trail passes above the outline of what may have been a  Roman encampment in the fields sloping northwards towards the river (although it could just as easily be medieval – further investigation is awaited). All that remains is a short, final section over more fields, crossing the boundary between Rokeby and Whorlton and passing the deserted medieval village of Thorpe-in-Wycliffe, before arriving at Whorlton Bridge and the finish of Section 6 of the Teesdale Way.

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