Teesdale Way Section 9 (Darlington to Hurworth-on-Tees)
Section 9 of the Teesdale Way links the borough town of Darlington to the village of Hurworth-on-Tees in County Durham. From the car park at Broken Scar Picnic Area to the King George V Memorial Fountain, the entire route is generally flat and fairly easy going. This is the ‘sportiest’ section on the Teesdale way, encroaching on a golf course, a village cricket ground (where you might be lucky enough to catch a game) and Middlesbrough FC’s football training ground the latter pair of which are in the grounds of Rockliffe Hall.
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Stats at a Glance
Distance: 9.4 km/5.8 miles | Height Gain 50 m/165 ft | Maximum Elevation 53 m/175 ft (Blackwell) | Going Generally good but muddy in places. Sheltered on trails, tracks and road through farmland, woodlands and parkland | Hospitality & Supplies Darlington (All) [1 km]; Hurworth Place (PH; Re); Croft-on-Tees (Ho); Hurworth-on-Tees (BB; GS; PH; Re) | Start Broken Scar Picnic Area, Darlington NZ 258139 | Finish George V Fountain, Hurworth-on-Tees NZ 303102 | Grade Gentle
From the picnic area at Broken Scar, the route follows the course of the river as it drifts lazily along towards the village of Blackwell on the southern outskirts of Darlington. In summer the banks are very popular with locals and there is a noticeable increase in activity compared to previous sections. Through a short stretch of attractive woodland, close to Castle Hill (where there may have been a Roman signal station but where the evidence for a castle seems to be scant), the trail emerges onto a quiet road, before joining the A66 which crosses an equally busy A167 Great North Road at a large roundabout on Blands Corner. Negotiate the roundabout anti-clockwise onto Snipe Lane (heading for Stressholme golf course).
Through the golf course, the road gives way once more to trail, passing through woods and fields of seasonal crops, close to the deep glacial ponds of Hell Kettles. Rejoining the A167 briefly, the trail crosses the River Skerne, one of five tributaries feeding the River Tees, to arrive in Hurworth Place where Croft Bridge spans the River Tees between County Durham and North Yorkshire. It’s on this bridge where newly incumbent Bishops of Durham are formally welcomed into the diocese. On the other side of the river – in the former spa village of Croft-on-Tees – stands the fine, medieval Church of St Peter. Built from red Triassic sandstone it is famously linked with Lewis Carroll – creator of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – whose father was rector there.
The route ignores the church however (though you don’t have to) and turns steeply uphill on the road towards Hurworth-on-Tees. After crossing a stile on the railway bridge at the top of the hill, the trail squeezes alongside the busy East Coast Main Line before entering Rockliffe Park where the aforementioned sporting venues are located. A gentile saunter over clipped, grassy trails takes you out of the park and onto Blind Lane which offers expansive views over the Tees towards the North Yorkshire Moors as it conducts you gently to the finish of the section at the King George V commemorative fountain in Hurworth-on-Tees.