Walking Trails

Multi-day, long distance, end-to-end walks in County Durham, Northern England and Scotland. The Durham Cow has long been the home of the two County Durham trails, the Weardale Way and the Teesdale Way for which we publish unique pocket guides. The other trails included on this page (some of which have their own website) have also been completed by us, though not necessarily in one go, and this is where we share the experience.

How to use our Plotaroute maps.

County Durham

NameStartDistance (miles/km)SectionsDescription
Weardale WayKillhope or Roker79/12714The Weardale Way is the most northerly of County Durham’s two trails. It visits some of the most iconic sites associated with the historic palatinate of Durham (such as Durham Cathedral) and would once have encompassed the entire trail (the latter miles today are in Tyne and Wear). There are other ways to divide it but geology is a good method as that was one of the main reasons by which people settled the landscape: lead, iron and other minerals were found Weardale and major coal deposits in the Central Wear Valley and the East Durham Limestone Plateau which borders the North Sea. All the infrastructure has gone now but the ghosts remain. As with the Teesdale Way, walking east to west, puts the prevailing weather on your back but many folks prefer to do it the other way around.
Teesdale WayDufton or Teesmouth (or Redcar)92/14814If the Weardale Way is the most northerly trail the the Teesdale Way is the most southerly. Starting in Dufton, Cumbria, it crosses the Pennines into Teesdale, County Durham, via High Cup Nick (a spectacular glacial valley) and several landmark sites associated with the volcanic Whin Sill. One of those sites is the cascade of Cauldron Snout where the trail picks up the River Tees which it follows to its source. It visits the Teesdale market towns of Middleton-in-Teesdale and Barnard Castle, plus the boroughs of Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees, ceremonially part of County Durham, then crosses the Tees for the final time to the borough of Middlesbrough which, again for ceremonial purposes, is part of North Yorkshire. The Tees marked the boundary of the Viking ‘Danelaw’ with historic settlement generally east of Roman Dere Street at Piercebridge.


NameStartDistance (miles/km)SectionsDescription
Cleveland WayHelmsley or Filey108/17511We completed the Cleveland Way, which links Helmsley to Filey in the North York Moors, between the late spring of 2022 and the winter of 2023. The direction was chosen more by accident than anything else, with the first section – Helmsley to Sutton Bank – being completed as part of a two-day North York Moors 2-Abbey Tour devised as training for our hike on the Southern Upland Way. Since then I’ve come to enjoy the area, which is quite local to us, as I never have before, particularly the stunning coastline with its phenomenal Jurassic stratigraphy and quaint harbour towns. Ironstone mining – begun in Weardale – brought large scale industry to the region after huge reserves were discovered in the Eston Hills. Like Weardale, it’s also a memory with the former mines, quarries and railways providing enigmatic abstractions in a landscape that delights in natural variety.


NameStartDistance (miles/km)SectionsDescription
Southern Upland WayPortpatrick or Cockburnspath215/34616This route crosses Scotland coast-to-coast, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea and includes amongst many landscapes, the Southern Uplands. One of the most fascinating things about it is that despite its roughly equal distance from the Anglo-Scottish border and Glasgow-Edinburgh it is extremely remote and its unlikely that you’ll encounter many hikers en-route (even day hikers) – which was certainly our experience. The plan was to make use of the bothies on the trail as well as Scotland’s more permissive attitude to wild camping plus we’d have a couple of days in B&Bs to recharge (ourselves as well as electronics). Due to timing issues we did it in two halves starting in Portpatrick and finishing in Moffat (almost exactly on the half point) in June then returning in September to complete the remaining half to Cockburnspath. We made a series of videos covering the entire trip which you can watch on our YouTube channel.
Scroll to Top