Weardale Way Section 9 (Bishop Auckland to Page Bank)
Section 9 of the Weardale Way is from the junction of Newton Cap Bank with Bridge Road, Bishop Auckland to the bridge over the River Wear at Page Bank, between Spennymoor and Brancepeth, County Durham. Despite starting down a steep bank, the first half is gently undulating, becoming flatter as it meets and then follows the course of the river. Other than a steep flight of wooden steps in the woods at Furness Mill, the going is easy and relaxed in a quiet, sheltered and rural setting.
THERE IS A GPS ROUTE FILE AVAILABLE FOR THIS SECTION AS A FREE DOWNLOAD FROM THE SHOP.
Stats at a Glance
Distance 9.5 km (5.9 miles) | Elevation Gain 47 m/155 ft | Maximum Elevation 85 m/280 ft (Bell Bank) | Profile Flat>undulating – descending | Terrain Farmland, parkland, woodland, urban | Going Generally firm with potentially wet, muddy and boggy sections on trails, tracks and roads | Exposure Fairly sheltered | Hospitality & Refreshment Bishop Auckland [0.5 km] (All); Willington [0.5 km] (All)
From the start in the car park, the route descends steeply to cross Newton Cap Bridge then leaves the road to pass under Newton Cap Viaduct. Directly across the river is The Batts, one of the oldest parts of Bishop Auckland while further downstream is Auckland Castle. Later, where the trail crosses a pair of stiles, it also crosses the line of the important Roman supply route of Dere Street guarded by the Roman fort at Binchester across the river.
From Dere Street, the route continues on the floodplain to Farnley Farm then climbs back up on an access road to meet the Brandon-Bishop Auckland Railway Path before turning away to skirt and then enter a short section of semi-ancient woodlands. From a spur in the woods, a flight of wooden steps conducts us steeply back to the river where a footbridge crosses a rather attractive sandstone gorge through which flows Hunwick Gill.
The trail then continues alongside the river, past Furness Mill, joining a wide track past Pay Bridge. In full leaf and with a stiff breeze, white poplars usher walkers through Jubilee Meadows Park between the River Wear and Willington then on under Jubilee Bridge. After passing Lowfield Farm, the trail switches to a comfortable access track to reach the finish at the car park before the bridge at Page Bank.