Middleton-in-Teesdale, the unofficial capital and walking
center of Teesdale, has its origins in lead mining. Indeed,
this area used to be the worlds greatest producer of the metal.
From the town centre, take the road signposted for Brough,
and follow it (Bridge Street) down to and across The Tees,
then uphill a short way beyond. Where the road bends left
(with another smaller road off to the right), you'll pick
up the Pennine Way. The path starts as a bridleway, but you
soon bear right on an indistinct footpath, keeping well away
from the hilltop plantation of Kirkcamon (a very distinctive
landmark). The path climbs steadily to crest the shoulder
of Harter Fell, then briefly follows the contours of the hillside
before descending gently to the Farm of Wythes Hill. From
the Farm follow the access road to the B2676.
The PennineWay continues on the other side of the road, and
runs through fields to reach Grassholme Farm. Turn left as
you leave the Farm to follow a minor road across Grassholme
Climb steeply uphill from the reservoir, but very soon go
through a gate on the left to enter the Grassholme Reservoir
A footpath encircles the water, making a peaceful shore walk,
with footbridges across each of the becks. Follow the path
along to the visitor centre near the reservoir dam.
If you've the time (and interest), it's worth popping in to
learn a bit about this and other Northumbrian reservoirs.
From the visitor centre, follow the access road uphill and
turn left along a minor road.
At the next road junction, about O.5km along the road, take
the footpath on the left. There is no trodden path across
the field, so follow the direction of the sign carefully,
heading downhill to cross a small beck.
From there walk uphill to Westfield House, and along the access
road to meet a narrow lane. Turn right towards the railway
viaduct, which crosses the deep gorge of the River Lune.
This five-arched viaduct was built in 1848 for the Tees Valley
Railway, 6 miles of which is now a path for use by walkers,
cyclists and horseriders, and one of several converted Railway
Paths in County Durham.
Turn left along the old railway trackbed, and then right,
as indicated by a sign, for Middleton. Pass a farm to reach
a road, turn left and then right to pickup a field path leading
to the RiverTees.
Follow the riverside path back to the road bridge and turn
right to walk back into town.
Article by Fiona Barltop
Reproduced with kind permission from TRAIL magazine
|Distance: 12km (7½
|Total ascent: 290m
|Time: 4 hours
|Nearest town: Barnard Castle
|Terrain: moorland paths
and tracks, minor road, railway path. Care needed
on outward stretch or walk in poor visibility
|Maps: OS Explorer(1:25,000)
OL31; OS Landranger (1:50,000) 91 or92
|Accommodation: Youth Hostels
at Baldersdale-tel. 0870 770 5684 and Langdon Beck-tel.
0870 770 5910; hotels and B&Bs in Middleton-in-Teesdale;
|Recommended self-catering accommodation:
Brock Scar Cottage,
nr Middleton (lovely location overlooking Grassholrne
Reservoir) - tel. (01833) 640495.
|Public transport: mainline
trains (GNER) to Darlington and Durham-tel. 08457
484950. Buses (For Middleton): contact Traveline
-tel. 0870 608 2608
by Alan Hall, pb Dalesman;
Walking in County Durham
by Paddy Dillon, pb Cicerone
|Tourist information: Middleton-in-Teesdale
- tel: (01833) 641001