Let's Walk Lower Teesdale

Walking in Lower Teesdale


Let's Walk
Lower Teesdale

ISBN 9781898550204



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Moving down the valley from Middleton-in-Teesdale, the Dale undergoes a subtle transition. The moorland fells dwindle and recede, and the Dale takes on the softer character of Lower Teesdale. Although linked together by isolated farms, its villages are individual communities that simultaneously form part of the more meaningful charisma of the Dale.

Lower Teesdale’s principal town is Barnard Castle, a breezy market town sitting on a bank above the Tees, which is undoubtedly worthy of the title ‘Gateway to Teesdale’. Barnard Castle is most famous for its mighty fortress, founded by Bernard de Balliol in the twelfth century. However, the town’s most imposing building is the magnificent Bowes Museum, which resembles a grand French château of the Renaissance (see Miscellanea, page 58).

Most of the region’s rivers and streams are pollution-free and support various creatures, including brown trout and salmon. They also attract birds such as dipper, grey wagtail, heron, and the notable kingfisher. Otters have miraculously returned to the area after many years of absence. Sightings are becoming more frequent, with breeding pairs returning to their holts year after year.

The moors are managed for grouse, but they are the habitat of many other distinctive bird species, including curlew, dunlin, lapwing, oystercatcher, redshank snipe and moorland raptors such as merlin, kestrel and short-eared owl. The adder, the UK’s only venomous snake, is relatively common here. Wetter moorland areas are home to water voles and amphibians. Roe Deer are often spotted on the edge of woodland areas, gracefully bounding away, shy and reticent. Foxes and smaller mammals such as hares, stoats and weasels populate the fringes, and rabbits colonise the fields and meadows.

That’s a brief introduction to the area, but Teesdale has much more. It is one of those enviable places that will remain part of your memory, with your heart longing for you to return. The walks in this guide endeavour to reveal the serenity and unbridled charm of the lower Dale; I leave it to walkers to decide if they fulfil that goal.

This personal guide incorporates:

Full-colour maps with numberedarrow pointers for each of the walks.

Route directions with grid references beside each map to aid navigation.

Background information for each walk.

Illustrated with colour photographs of some of prominent features seen during the walks.

Walks in Lower Teesdale
The North Pennines

Cotherstone and the Balder Viaduct 5.25
The Butter Stone and Lartington 9.8
Egglestone Abbey and Deepdale 7.6
Deepdale and God’s Bridge 8
The Greta Valley and Brignall Mill 8.75
Scargill Castle and Barningham Moor 6.7
Sudburn Beck and Staindrop Moor 7.25
Langleydale and Arn Gill 7.05
Cockfield Fell and the Gaunless Valley 7.75
The Spitfire Bridge and St Lawrence’s Chapel 8.5
The distances are in miles

Sample pages of walks featured in the books can be viewed and printed out from The Walks page.

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