Way of Learning – Section 01 (Jarrow to South Shields)

Section 1 of the Way of Learning starts from St Peter’s Church & Monastery, Jarrow, Tyne & Wear and finishes, somewhat forlornly, next to the roundabout at the southern end of King George Road, South Shields, opposite Ridgeway Service Station (handy for supplies). Despite a spectacular start at St Peter’s, it has to be said that for much of the way, this section has a fairly ordinary, urban feel about it. Admittedly, there are little jewels here and there to brighten things up a bit but, in terms of learning, it’s a primer for Section 2…

Distance 10.6 km (6.6 miles) | Elevation Gain 61 m/199ft | Maximum Elevation 33 m/108 ft (King George Road) | Profile Gently undulating>flat – ascending | Terrain Parkland, urban, farmland | Going Generally firm on footpaths and trails | Exposure Fairly sheltered | Hospitality & Refreshment Roman Road (pub); Hedworth (pub); King George Road (service station)


Section 2



Route File (.gpx)


St Paul’s Church
© The Durham Cow


St Paul’s Monastery
© The Durham Cow


River Don Cycleway
© The Durham Cow


River Don Cycleway
© The Durham Cow


A19 Trunk Road
© The Durham Cow


Station Burn Nature Reserve
© The Durham Cow


River Don Railway Bridge
© The Durham Cow


Colliery Wood
© The Durham Cow


Railway Level Crossing
© The Durham Cow


West Harton Mineral Line
© The Durham Cow


Linnet Way Fingerpost
© The Durham Cow


King George Road
© The Durham Cow

When I walked this section of the Way of Learning in July 2020, the route wasn’t actually waymarked as Northern Saints Trails but generally seemed to follow the waymarking for Bede’s Way. The only significant difference to the published directions was that, after crossing the road beyond Jarrow cemetery (Cemetery Road), the ‘second bridge’ was blocked by permanent metal fencing (I simply continued on the same the side of the river and joined further south at the next bridge, which is the route used in my own route file above).

The official route leaves St Peter’s Church & Monastery heading west, away from the main entrance, and crossing Church Bank to join the River Don Cycleway <Bede’s Way> directly opposite. On reaching a large, circular mosaic in the pavement, at the end of a footbridge, it takes the middle of three route options, under two bridges (the second of which is alongside the A19) then, twisting and turning, crosses under the A19 on a footpath that will require anyone over 6′ to stoop.

The cycleway eventually passes Jarrow cemetery, and again, on the other side of Cemetery Road, continues past the diversion mentioned earlier, still on quiet parkland, heading towards Roman Road and Leam Lane (A194). Crossing under Leam Lane, it takes to a footpath which continues to follow the river, eventually arriving at Hedworth Lane where it turns uphill, before following Thorntree Walk onto a wooded trail alongside the Metro line and rejoining the A19.

Using a footbridge to cross the A19 this time, it doubles back, dropping to the road briefly before climbing steps onto a lane that leads eventually onto Station Road, close to Brockley Whins Metro station. Directly across the road, the route continues into Station Burn Nature Reserve, finally breaking the route’s urban character. At the second bridge it crosses over what, although very narrow, is still the River Don, before turning sharp right to follow an undulating trail towards an obsolete railway bridge, recrossing the river and continuing under the bridge on the trail, eventually through a tunnel and onto the railway path past Colliery Wood.

After passing a sports field complex it emerges onto New Road, on the northern edge of Boldon, directly opposite Boldon School, where it turns left to continue all the way to the railway level crossing on Tile Shed Lane. Just beyond the crossing it makes a left turn onto another railway path that was once the West Harton Mineral Line. At a junction on the path, marked by an attractive, but heavily grafitti’d, sculpted fingerpost , the route turns right, on a good track, past Whiteleas estate on the left and Tilesheds Nature Reserve on the right, eventually crossing Whiteleas Way, where the most significant feature is the bus turning circle.

The track continues on the other side of the road when, on reaching the south-east corner of the Whiteleas estate, there’s an option: continue on the track or cross the large field on a faint diagonal trail between some bushes until you reach the original track opposite a small, stone marker. Turn left and continue onto Holder House Way, then right, past South Shields School, diagonally across Nevinson Avenue to join a wooded trail that will take you across the edge of Temple Park to the finish at the side of King George Road opposite the service station.

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