Itineraries for Visitors

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                               Wear Valley
                                      Tour...


                                 Itineraries for Visitors
Bishop Auckland Tourist Information Centre
Contact:          The Town Hall, Market Place,
                  Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 7NP
Tel:              01388 604 922
Website:          www.durham.gov.uk/bishopaucklandtownhall

Stanhope Tourist Information Centre
Contact:          Durham Dales Centre, Castle Gardens,
                  Stanhope, County Durham, DL13 2FJ
Tel:              01388 527 650
Website:          www.durhamdalescentre.co.uk

County Durham Tourism Partnership
Contact:          The Rivergreen Centre, Aykley Heads,
                  Durham City, County Durham, DH1 57S
Tel:              0191 383 7423
Website:          www.durham.gov.uk/tourism

One NorthEast Tourism Team
Contact:          Stella House, Goldcrest Way, Newburn Riverside,
                  Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 8NY
Website:          www.visitnortheastengland.co.uk

North Pennine AONB Partnership
Contact:          Weardale Business Centre, The Old Co-op Building,
                  1 Martin Street, Stanhope, Weardale, County Durham, DL13 2UY
Tel:              01388 528 801
Website:          www.northpennines.org.uk




All details are correct at the time of going to press, March 2007. Itineraries prepared by Jan Williams MITG North
     East England Blue Badge guide and winner of North East England Tourism Awards 2005 Best Tourism
                        Ambassador, Telephone: 0191 383 0988, email: janwildurh@aol.com
               Introduction
Wear Valley District, one of the three      Pennine landscape, but look more
Durham Dales, offers you a warm             closely and the areas’ special
welcome to this itinerary guide, a          secrets begin to unfold: stories of
user friendly guide highlighting a very     internationally important geology,
special part of North East England          flora and fauna and the endlessly
and giving a sample of ready made           fascinating stories of Man’s influence
visitor itineraries. The itineraries have   and history which has shaped the
been designed for use by coach and          social and cultural landscape of the
tour operator companies in mind but         Dales right down to present day.
the individual visiting by car can also
enjoy the routes                            Add to that a selection of terrific
                                            accommodation, plenty to see and
Jan Williams MITG North East                do and the warmth of the famous
England Blue Badge guide and                Dales’ welcome and it all makes for
winner of North East England                a great holiday destination.
Tourism Awards 2005 Best Tourism
Ambassador and author of the                The Durham Dales, includes the
enclosed itineraries said:                  three river valleys Teesdale,
                                            Derwentside and Wear Valley right at
"As a Blue Badge guide I have taken
                                            the heart, encapsulates all the Dales’
many people on tours around the
                                            stories and charm in one compact
Durham Dales and have found that
                                            area
the visitors are delighted at the rich
variety which the area has to offer.
                                            With its source high in the Pennine
There is something for everyone –
                                            hills the River Wear has long been
come and discover it for yourself”
                                            recognised as one of the main
                                            waterways of NorthEast England. As
Within the Durham Dales there is an
                                            it threads its way through a rich,
area designated as being an Area of
                                            varied landscape, the river provides
Outstanding Natural Beauty,
                                            the perfect companion to accompany
recognition for its precious landscape
                                            you on your journey between Wear
and distinctive character and beauty.
                                            Valley’s towns, villages and historic
At first glance there are the drystone
                                            sites.
walls, field barns and hay meadows
so characteristic of the North
                    Contents
Our itineraries include a detailed route plan and advised timings, many of the
routes have been designed around the opening times of certain attractions.

As some opening times vary depending on season and days, we advise
contacting the local Tourist Information Centres prior to journey planning.
Contact Durham Dales Centre on 01388 527650 and Bishop Auckland Town
Hall on 01388 602610.


                     In the footsteps of the saints....
 tour 1              Churches                                               1

                     In the footsteps of past armies....
 tour 2              Military History                                       5

                     In the footsteps of Miners and Quarrymen....
 tour 3              Mining and Geology                                     9

                     In the footsteps of the railway heroes....
 tour 4              Railways                                              13

                     In the footsteps of mother nature....
 tour 5
                     Countryside                                           17

                     In the footsteps of fame....
 tour 6
                     Famous People                                         21

                     In the footsteps of the castle builders....
 tour 7
                     Castles                                               26

                     In the footsteps of shopping delights....
 tour 8              Retail Therapy 1                                      31

                     In the footsteps of shopping delights....
 tour 9
                     Retail Therapy 2                                      35
tour 1         in the footsteps of the saints....




         Churches
                                                    Escomb Church




           1
 tour 1                          in the footsteps of the saints....




                Churches
9.30am    dep   Bishop Auckland area
                Route: A688- A167– A690-Durham City

10.00am   arr   Durham City
                Visit: Durham Cathedral.

12.30pm   dep   Durham City
                Route: A691-Lanchester-Leadgate-Shotley Bridge-
                B6278-Edmundbyers-B6306-Blanchland

1.30pm    arr   Blanchland – lunch

2.30pm    dep   Blanchland
                Route: Baybridge-unclassified moorland road
                (coach accessible)-B6278-Stanhope-A689-
                Ireshopeburn

3.15pm    arr   High House Chapel and Weardale Museum,
                Ireshopeburn

4.15pm    dep   High House Chapel
                Route: A689-Stanhope-Frosterley-Wolsingham-A68
                south-brown signs-Escomb

5.00pm    arr   Escomb
                Visit: Escomb Saxon Church, Key available
                from no 26 Saxon Green Escomb

5.30pm    dep   Escomb

5.45pm    arr   Bishop Auckland




                             2
  tour 1                                     in the footsteps of the saints....




                   ..
R oute Information. . .
On the edge of the Durham Dales              family, one of whom married in 1699
and less than 30 minutes driving             Nathanial, Lord Crewe Bishop of
time from Wear Valley is historic            Durham. When he died in 1721 he
Durham City. Undoubtedly, Durham             left instructions in his Will that the
Cathedral is one of the outstanding          income from the village, its tenants
ecclesiastical experiences in Europe         and surrounding farms was to be
and together with Durham Castle it           used for charitable purposes. And
forms a much admired World                   in the 21st century the Trustees of
Heritage site dominating the                 Lord Crewe own and manage the
picturesque streets of this fine             estate to those ends today. A
university city.                             remarkable achievement deep in the
                                             heart of the Durham Dales.
The Cathedral was begun in 1093
and as well as being regarded as             Over the moors in Weardale is a
one of the finest Romanesque                 chapel of great significance to the
cathedrals in Europe, it also houses         Methodist movement.
the tombs of two of the most famous
names from England’s 7th century
Christian history: St Cuthbert and
the Venerable Bede.

Glorious though Durham Cathedral is
there are other lovely churches
dotted all around the Durham Dales.
Living, working churches which have
their own individual stories to share.

Take Blanchland Abbey, for
                                                Weardale Museum and High House Chapel,
instance. Founded in the 12th                                Ireshopeburn
century by Premonstratensian
Canons the Abbey forms the heart of          Weardale Museum and High
this beautiful estate village.               House Chapel, Ireshopeburn is the
Following the Dissolution of the             world’s oldest Methodist chapel still
Monasteries the Abbey and its                in continuous weekly use.
surrounding agricultural estate came         Constructed in 1760 this is a
into the secular hands of the Forster        beautiful example of craftsmanship


                                         3
  tour 1                                      in the footsteps of the saints....




and is regarded as a premier                  St Cuthbert, Godric worked with his
Methodist heritage site. The founder          companion Aelric to form the first
of the Methodist Movement, John               Christian community at Wolsingham
Wesley, preached regularly at this            but life for an 11th century aspiring
spot. Check out the neighbouring              saint was far from easy: he used a
museum to explore local life in               stone for his pillow, prayed whilst
Weardale in the 19th century.                 standing in the River Wear, wore
                                              sackcloth and lived in a cave in an
And leave time for St Thomas’                 adder-infested spot. Perhaps he
church at Stanhope. This is a great           deserved sainthood after all that!
place to see the famous Frosterley
“marble” used to striking effect in           Of all the interesting churches in
the church font (see also “Miners             Wear Valley it is Escomb Church
and Quarrymen”) whilst down the               which provides an extra special
main street is Stanhope’s old                 experience. Here is a rare survivor of
Rectory. In the early 19th century the        a complete 7th century Saxon stone
Rectors of Stanhope were powerful             church. And one which is still a living
individuals who held one of the               place of worship today. Look closely
wealthiest livings in England. A              to see how those early builders re-
wealth which was based on receiving           cycled stones from the Roman Fort
their tithe in lead ore.                      of Binchester just a few miles away.

At Wolsingham the Church of St                If time permits, the return journey
Mary and St Stephen still has its             can take in West Auckland where
original Norman stone tower. In the           St Helen’s church dates from the
churchyard is the grave of Charles            late 12th century and on to South
Attwood, a 19th century ironmaster            Church where the 13th century St
responsible for introducing the iron          Andrew’s Church holds the record
and steel industry to Weardale (see           as the largest parish church in
also “Miners and Quarrymen”).                 County Durham.

Wolsingham is also associated with
the 11th century St Godric. A curious         Other relevant sites nearby:
character, Godric spent years
                                              Auckland Castle (St Peter’s
roaming Europe in pursuit of a hippy-
                                              Chapel), Bishop Auckland
like existence. Inspired by the life of


                                          4
tour 2   in the footsteps of past armies....




                                               Binchester Roman Fort




Military History
         5
 tour 2                                   in the footsteps of past armies....




 Military History
9.30am    dep      Bishop Auckland area
                   Route: A689 into Bishop Auckland town centre /Market
                   Place- B6284 –B6282 and brown signs to Escomb
9.50am    arr      Escomb
                   Visit: Escomb church, Key available from no 26 Saxon
                   Green Escomb
10.30am   dep      Escomb
                   Route: Return to Bishop Auckland town centre. Near
                   Town Hall turn left onto unclassified road to Binchester
                   (coach accessible)
10.50am   arr      Binchester Roman Fort
11.30am   dep      Binchester
                   Route: Return to Bishop Auckland town centre-B6284-
                   B6282-Etherley-A68 north-Tow Law- Castleside-Corbridge
Lunch     Choose from a variety of places close to or on the A68 eg Bishop Auckland
          Town Hall, Greenhead Country House Hotel/Fir Tree, Helme Park Hall Hotel/Fir
          Tree, Fir Tree Country Hotel/Crook, Harperley Prisoner of War Camp/Fir Tree

1.15pm    dep      Lunch Stop
                   Route: A68 north-Corbridge

1.45pm    arr      Corbridge Roman Fort Site

2.45pm    dep      Corbridge Roman Fort
                   Route: B6307-Dilston-B6306-Blanchland-Baybridge-
                   Unclassified moorland road (coach accessible) -B6278-
                   Stanhope-A689-Frosterley-Wolsingham-Harperley
                   Prisoner of War Camp

4.00pm    arr      Harperley Prisoner of War Camp
5.00pm    dep      Harperley Prisoner of War Camp
                   Route: A68 south-West Auckland-Bishop Auckland




                                          6
  tour 2                                 in the footsteps of past armies....




                   ..
R oute Information. . .
The north of England has a long              Wear Valley and gives terrific long
history of military use and Bishop           distance views of the County
Auckland has played its part in that         Durham countryside. It also runs
military history. With its heritage as       parallel with the Roman road of Dere
a coal mining town it is easy to think       Street and then drops steeply
that Bishop Auckland only                    towards the Tyne Valley and the
developed during the 19th century            pretty, historic village of Corbridge.
industrial period when coal mining           Step inside St Andrew’s church to
was the driving force of Britain’s           see a stone archway recycled from
economy. But nothing could be                the nearby Roman fort and then take
further from the truth.                      time out to enjoy Corbridge’ modern
                                             pleasures of great shopping, pubs
Two thousand years of history has            and quaint cafes.
shaped the immediate area and the
best place to uncover Bishop                 Corbridge Roman Fort has extensive
Auckland’s early beginnings is at            and important ruins of a once
Binchester where the excavated               significant Roman town and military
remains of the Roman fort of Vinovia         compounds. The site museum is
can be seen. The fort was                    definately worth a visit, too.
constructed in 80AD to guard the
north-south Roman supply route of            The route from Corbridge passes
Dere Street. Today, these                    Dilston Castle and continues to one
excavations are the finest fort              of the prettiest villages in the
remains on display in County                 Durham Dales. Blanchland is a
Durham and include a visible length          small settlement in the River
of Dere Street and the fascinating           Derwent valley which packs a big
Bath house remains.                          punch (See “Churches”). It even has
                                             its own military story through its
And at Escomb Church it is                   historic association with the Forster
possible to see how those clever             family who became involved in the
Saxon builders of the 7th century            ill-fated Jacobite rebellion of 1715.
recycled Roman masonry to build
this little gem.                             Two thousand years ago the
                                             Romans were aware of the rich
The A68 route skirts the eastern             deposits of lead ore in the Durham
edge of the Durham Dales and                 Dales. They made coins from the


                                         7
  tour 2                                in the footsteps of past armies....




lead ore and to access their mines
they constructed roads across the
Pennine moors. One of those
Roman routes is close to the modern
B6278 as it crosses to Wear Valley
and Stanhope. Inside the parish
church at Stanhope is a Roman
altar dedicated to Silvanus which
was found on nearby Bollihope
Common.

The day ends with a more modern
military story. Harperley Prisoner of
War Camp is a poignant reminder of
the Second World War. Explore the
original wooden huts which housed
up to 1500 German and Italian
prisoners. Look especially for the
wall murals illustrating German
landscape, painted by homesick
prisoners, and see the theatre where
the camp orchestra performed
concerts.
                                             A display in Harperley Prisoner of War Camp

A tearoom and a well-stocked Farm
Shop provide welcome treats.                Other relevant sites nearby:
                                            Hadrian’s Wall (approximately one
                                            hour driving time from the Durham
                                            Dales)




                                        8
tour 3    in the footsteps of miners and quarrymen....




         Mining and
                                                         Killhope Lead Mining Museum




              Geology
                    9
 tour 3               in the footsteps of miners and quarrymen....




Mining and Geology
9.30am    dep   Bishop Auckland
                A688-West Auckland A68 north-A689-Wolsingham-
                Frosterley-Stanhope

10.15am   arr   Stanhope
                Visit: village centre/St Thomas’ church and
                Durham Dales Centre

11.30am   dep   Stanhope
                Route: A689-Eastgate-Westgate-Cowshill-Killhope
                For alternative route see “Route Information..”

12.05pm   arr   Killhope Lead Mining Museum
                Lunch and tour

2.15pm    dep   Killhope
                Route: Cowshill-B6295-Allenheads-Allendale Town-
                B6304-B6305-Hexham

3.00pm    arr   Hexham
                Visit: Hexham Abbey, Border History Museum, Shopping

4.30pm    dep   Hexham
                Route: A695-Dilston-Riding Mill-A68 south-Tow Law-
                Witton-le-Wear-West Auckland- Bishop Auckland

5.00pm    arr   Bishop Auckland




                                  10
  tour 3                  in the footsteps of miners and quarrymen....




                   ..
R oute Information. . .
Wear Valley and the Durham Dales              close-knit communities with
are part of the North Pennines Area           reputations for hospitality and
of Outstanding Natural Beauty                 friendliness.
(AONB) which in 2003 was
designated Great Britain’s first              But it wasn’t just coal which brought
European Geopark. To achieve that             prosperity. Iron played its part in
accolade an area has to have                  Wolsingham’s economic
geology and flora and fauna of                development too. In 1862 Charles
international importance. This tour           Attwood opened an industrial
will show that Wear Valley and                complex at Wolsingham which
Durham Dales have that in                     made use of local supplies of iron
abundance.                                    and limestone. Attwood was the son
                                              and grandson of Shropshire
The geology of this area gave rise to         ironmasters and a close friend of the
its proud industrial past. But whilst         scientist Sir Henry Bessemer. Before
Mother Nature provided opportunities          long Attwood was converting iron into
in the form of rocks and minerals             steel at his Wolsingham works. The
including fluorspar, zinc, barytes,           site of that steel works can still be
iron, limestone, coal and galena              seen on the eastern approach to the
(lead ore) the area was also                  town today.
fortunate in attracting the attentions
of clever, inventive men who could            The band of local limestone which
take advantage of these natural               runs the length of Weardale is
resources. Their entrepreneurial              known to geologists as the Great
skills brought fame and wealth to the         Limestone. But at the village of
Durham Dales. (See “Famous                    Frosterley is a reminder of its more
Personalities”)                               commonly used name: Frosterley
                                              Marble. Grass covered spoil heaps
Bishop Auckland and West                      can be seen at the entrance to the
Auckland stand on the Great                   village. Whilst not a true marble it
Northern Coalfield and it was coal            has earned its name because, like
which shaped people’s lives and               marble, it is capable of being highly
shaped the surrounding landscape              polished and used decoratively, as in
for centuries. Coal from this area            the font at Stanhope parish church
helped fire the Industrial Revolution         and in the Chapel of Nine Altars in
of the 19th century and gave rise to          Durham Cathedral. Local people call


                                         11
  tour 3                     in the footsteps of miners and quarrymen....




it “cockle marble” and if you are                  But the best place to have the lead-
interested in knowing more the                     mining story brought vividly to life is
Durham Dales Centre has a small                    Killhope, The North of England
exhibition about local geology.                    Lead Mining Museum, an award-
                                                   winning attraction which tells of the
It was the Great Limestone which                   lives and skills of the leadminers. A
formed the basis of an old cement                  working waterwheel dominates the
works at Eastgate. The site has                    site and the guided underground
now been cleared in preparation for                mine tour is a must-do experience.
an ambitious and exciting future re-               Check out the Mine Shop to see how
development of the site into a                     the miners spent their off-duty hours.
renewable energy model village
which will use natural underground                 Beyond Catton the B6304 passes
hot water supplies.                                close to Stublick chimney, another
                                                   physical reminder of the complex flue
Alternative Route from Eastgate                    systems built across the open moors
(suitable for coaches):                            by the leadminers.
A road from Eastgate leads to
Rookhope and Allenheads.This is a                  On the return journey to Bishop
very scenic drive with plenty of reminders
                                                   Auckland this story of miners and
in the landscape of one of the most
fascinating stories in the Durham Dales:           quarrymen comes full circle. It was
lead-mining. This was one of the longest           at Tow Law in the 1840’s that
running economic efforts in Europe. For            ironmaster Charles Attwood opened
800 years the Pennine hills were                   the first of his blast furnaces before
pockmarked with mines and the                      moving into steel production at
moorland landscape crisscrossed by                 Wolsingham. Before Attwood, Tow
packhorse trains carrying the precious             Law was simply an area of rough
ore to smelt mills. At Lintzgarth a single         moorland with grazing sheep and
stone arch forms the remains of a once
                                                   few signs of human habitation. What
massive horizontal flue which ran from
the old smelt mill into the hillside above.        a difference one man and minerals
(Lay-by for cars/coaches and                       can make!
interpretation board).




                                              12
tour 4    in the footsteps of the railway heroes....




         Railways
                                                       Weardale Railway




                13
  tour 4                     in the footsteps of the railway heroes....




                  Railways
9.45am      dep   Bishop Auckland
                  Route: A688-A6072-Shildon

10.00am     arr   Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon
                  Visit: Durham Cathedral.

12.30pm     dep   Shildon
                  Route: A691-Lanchester-Leadgate-Shotley Bridge-
                  B6278-Edmundbyers-B6306-Blanchland

1.15pm      arr   Wolsingham
                  Either: Visit Weardale Railway (check
                  www.weardale-railway.org.uk for current timetable).
                  Train journey Wolsingham-Stanhope is 25 minutes.
                  Or: Continue to Stanhope to explore this market town and
                  the Durham Dales Centre.

Lunch             various local pubs/cafes

Afternoon         Timings will depend on the choice made above but
                  continuation of the day assumes a start from Stanhope.
                  Route: Stanhope-B6278-Crawleyside-Carterway Heads-
                  A68 south-Castleside-Consett-A692-A693-Stanley-A6076-
                  follow brown signs to Causey Arch/Tanfield Railway.
                  (Journey time Stanhope-Causey Arch is 1.25 hours)

                  Return journey: Causey Arch-A693-Chester-le-Street-A1
                  south-A689-Rushyford-Bishop Auckland




                                    14
  tour 4                        in the footsteps of the railway heroes....




                   ..
R oute Information. . .
Who would have thought that the
peace and quiet which is such an
important part of Wear Valley and
the Durham Dales today would once
have echoed to the sound of train
whistles, the shunting of wagons and
that oh-so-evocative sound of steam
trains?

And who is to say that you can’t
recapture that nostalgia today? Step
inside Locomotion: the National
Railway Museum at Shildon for a
fascinating look at trains from across
                                                           Stanhope Station
the ages. It’s also a great place to
learn about the 19th century                   Refreshments and retail therapy can
engineer Timothy Hackworth and see             be enjoyed at Stanhope before
his original and historically important        crossing the moors to the north of
“Sans Pareil” steam locomotive.                the town.

Then it’s off to Wolsingham for a              Just north of Crawleyside a grass
ride on a real train. The newly re-            covered, raised trackbed runs
opened and restored Weardale                   parallel with the B6278 on the right
Railway was originally built in the            of the road.This marks the route of
19th century to transport limestone.           the Stanhope and Tyne Railway
The five mile journey from                     (1834-1951) which transported lead
Wolsingham Station to Stanhope is              and limestone to Tyneside. Robert
a lovely and relaxing way to                   Stephenson, son of George
appreciate Wear Valley’s                       Stephenson the railway engineer,
exceptional countryside.                       was the consultant engineer.




                                          15
  tour 4                       in the footsteps of the railway heroes....




As the highest standard gauge                car/coach park crosses the track of
railway in England it was a true feat        the Tanfield Railway, the oldest
of Victorian engineering. Stationary         existing railway in the world and
winding engines would rope-haul              leads through pretty woodland to the
heavy wagons up inclines as steep            oldest surviving single arch railway
as 1in 8.                                    bridge in the world – built in 1725
                                             Before the days of steam
Keep a lookout for hikers and                locomotives, horse drawn wagons
cyclists in the landscape ahead.             were used to transport coal and
They are enjoying the Waskerley              Causey Arch bridge would see 900
Way, a 10 mile route which also              horse drawn wagons per day
includes a section of the C2C cycle          passing by. A remarkable piece of
route. The Waskerely Way follows             early engineering.
the line of another branch of the
Stanhope and Tyne Railway.                   Other relevant sites nearby:
                                             Beamish the North of England
Causey Arch is a real step back in
                                             Open Air Museum
time. The footpath from the




                                        16
tour 5   in the footsteps of mother nature....




 Countryside
                                                 High Force




          17
 tour 5                          in the footsteps of mother nature....




                Countryside
9.30am    dep    Bishop Auckland
                 Route: A688-Staindrop-B6279-Eggleston

10.15am   arr    Eggleston Hall Gardens
                 (Coach groups: pre-booking essential)

11.30am   dep    Eggleston
                 Route: B6282-Middleton-in-Teesdale-B6277-High Force

Noon      arr    High Force
                 Visit: High Force waterfall

12.45pm   dep    High Force
                 Route: B6277-Alston

1.15pm    arr    Alston
                 Visit: Town centre/craft shops
                 Lunch – various pubs/cafes

2.30pm    dep    Alston
                 Route: A689-Nenthead-Cowshill-Ireshopeburn

3.00pm    arr    EITHER: Weardale Museum and High House Chapel,
                 Ireshopeburn (Coach groups welcome)
                 OR CONTINUE TO: Westgate for a walk through Slit
                 Woods (no coach parking available in Westgate)

4.00pm    dep    Above site(s)

4.15pm    arr    Stanhope
                 Visit: Town centre and Durham Dales

5.15pm    dep    Stanhope
                 Route: A689-Frosterley-Wolsingham-A68 south-West
                 Auckland-Bishop Auckland

6.00pm    arr    Bishop Auckland


                                    18
  tour 5                               in the footsteps of mother nature....




R oute Information.....
For fantastic scenery and a day                  alike. A tearoom and gift shop
enjoying healthy fresh air and                   complete the scene.
awesome views this route can’t be
bettered.                                        Back in Weardale, the Weardale
                                                 Museum and High House Chapel
Writers and artists down the                     at Ireshopeburn is not just an
centuries have travelled through the             opportunity to learn about John
Durham Dales seeking inspiration                 Wesley and Methodism (see
and have not been disappointed.                  “Famous Personalities”). There is
In Teesdale the 19th century                     also another reminder of the natural
Scottish writer and poet, Sir Walter             world in its superb collection of local
Scott, was inspired to pen his                   minerals.
famous poem “Rokeby” and at High
Force waterfall J M W Turner, the                And for those seeking a close up
early 19th century landscape artist,             view of the landscape Slit Wood at
captured the power of the River Tees             Westgate provides the perfect
in all its glory. This is a perfect place        opportunity. There are 100 small
to see the whinsill rock formation, an           valleys feeding into Weardale and
important contributor to the Pennine             this is one of them. The valley
landscape. The local geology is                  formed along a geological fault line
explained on North Pennines AONB                 and because of that it is easy to
interpretation panels alongside the              identify alternating bands of
footpath to the waterfall.                       limestone, sandstone and shale
                                                 along the banks of the Middlehope
Modern day artists, photographers                Burn. What geologists would call a
and craftspeople still find their                good “rock” profile. The footpath
inspiration from the Durham Dales                leads to the location of Low Slit mine
landscape today and local gift shops             where 19th century miners worked
and attractions are just the place to            one of the longest single veins of
buy those all important souvenirs.               lead in the local ore field, almost 14
                                                 miles long. This is definitely a walk
Eggleston Hall Gardens is another                into history and it doesn’t take a
reminder of the glories of Mother                great leap of imagination to picture
Nature. Four acres of shrubs and                 the leadminers toiling away by the
plants provide a real treat for                  banks of the stream.
plantsman and gardening enthusiast


                                            19
  tour 5                                in the footsteps of mother nature....




If refreshments are needed after all          And leave time for one of
that fresh air then a stop in nearby          Stanhope’s other famous
Stanhope is ideal. Adjacent to the            landmarks.
car park at the Durham Dales
Centre is the walled Dales Garden             Nestled into a corner of the
planted with typical Dales cottage            churchyard and facing the Market
garden plants. Sit and relax and              Place is a fossilised tree stump
enjoy the scents and colours.                 dating to 300 million years ago.
                                              Clear evidence of the power of
                                              Mother Nature and the importance of
                                              the Wear Valley in the geological
                                              story.

                                              On the return route through
                                              Wolsingham look for two unusual
                                              trees growing in front of historic
                                              Whitfeld House on the main street.
                                              These are holm oaks or evergreen
                                              oaks and are native to the
                                              Mediterranean area. Their dense
                                              foliage and holly-like appearance
                                              makes them very distinctive and it’s
                                              very rare to see them growing in this
                                              part of the British Isles. Testament to
                                              Mother Nature’s resilience!
       The Gazebo in the Dales Garden




                                         20
tour 6        in the footsteps of fame....




                                             High House Chapel and the Weardale Museum




         Famous
         P eople
         21
 tour 6                                  in the footsteps of fame....




          Famous People
9.30am    dep   Bishop Auckland area
                Route: Bishop Auckland town centre via Town Hall and
                Market Place area-Bob Hardisty Road-return to A688-
                West Auckland-A68 north-A689-Wolsingham-Frosterley-
                Stanhope-St John’s Chapel-Killhope

11.00am   arr   Killhope Lead Mining Museum
                Tour and lunch

1.15pm    dep   Killhope Lead Mining Museum
                Route: A689-Ireshopeburn-Stanhope-B6278-Crawleyside-
                Unclassified moorland road (coach accessible) to
                Blanchland via Baybridge

2.00pm    arr   Blanchland

2.45pm    dep   Blanchland
                Route: Edmundbyers-B6278-A68 south-West Auckland-
                Bishop Auckland

3.45pm    arr   Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland

5.00pm    dep   Auckland Castle




                                  22
  tour 6                                           in the footsteps of fame....




R oute Information.....
The Durham Dales and Wear Valley             And in the early 20th century another
are fortunate in having connections          important piece of football history
with famous names from history.              was made just down the road at
Personalities who are not just               West Auckland. In 1909 the West
recognised locally but also                  Auckland Amateur Football Team
recognised nationally and                    competed in the Sir Thomas Lipton
internationally.                             Trophy tournament in Turin, Italy.

The Bishop Auckland area alone               Sir Thomas was a self-made
has links with several famous                millionaire grocer and tea merchant
names. Sir Anthony Eden (b.1897),            who saw the tournament as a
first the Foreign Secretary and then         competition between individual clubs
the Prime Minister of Great Britain          rather than national teams. The
and best remembered for his role in          West Auckland team consisted of
the Suez Crisis in the 1950’s was            local coalminers whose families
born at nearby Windlestone Hall. Sir         made financial sacrifices to fund the
William Armstrong (b.1810), one of           players in their European quest.
the giants of Victorian England’s            And it paid off. West Auckland won
industrial development, attended             the very first football World Cup in
Bishop Auckland Grammar School in            1909 and two years later they did the
1826. And from the world of                  same again, defeating Juventus of
entertainment, the internationally           Italy 6-1. For that amazing
famous comedian Stan Laurel                  achievement, West Auckland
(b.1890) was baptized in Bishop              brought the Thomas Lipton Trophy
Auckland where his father managed            home to their local town. The trophy
the local theatre. The café in the           can still be viewed at West
Town Hall is named after him.                Auckland Workingman’s Club.

A short drive through the town centre        In complete contrast, Wolsingham
leads to Bob Hardisty road which             has a strong link with the world of
was named after the captain of the           retail. A local man, Emerson
Bishop Auckland Amateur                      Bainbridge, opened a department
Football Team which won the                  store in Newcastle upon Tyne which
amateur cup final in three successive        was the first store to adopt fixed
years: 1955-57.                              price labelling (rather than the time
                                             honoured method of haggling over


                                        23
  tour 6                                           in the footsteps of fame....




prices). Emerson was a devout                settlements of Eastgate and
Methodist and thought nothing of             Westgate are a reminder of the two
walking from his home in                     entry points into the Bishops’ deer
Wolsingham to his business interests         forest. Theirs was the first
in Newcastle: a distance of over 30          organised leisure in the Durham
miles!                                       Dales and here they came to hunt
                                             not just for food but also for exercise
Wolsingham was also the home in              and social pleasure.
the early 19th century of William
Backhouse (b.1779) whose family              But in the Durham Dales in the 18th
were Quaker financiers and bankers           century it was Methodism which
in Darlington. William Backhouse             proved more popular than the
was a knowledgeable botanist with a          Church of England. High House
passion for daffodils and helped to          Chapel and the Weardale Museum
breed new varieties. His family              at Ireshopeburn is the perfect place
banking business was eventually              to learn about the work and life of
taken over by today’s well-known             the founder of the Methodist
high street name of Barclays Bank.           movement, John Wesley (b.1703).
                                             This is the world’s oldest Methodist
No visit to this part of Wear Valley         chapel still in weekly use and was
can be made without mentioning The           visited and preached in thirteen
Prince Bishops of Durham. From               times by Wesley. Look for the thorn
the early days of the Norman                 tree in the adjacent garden under
Conquest until 1836 the Bishops              which Wesley would hold his prayer
held twin ecclesiastical and temporal        meetings.
powers and ruled over the County
Palatine of Durham as soldiers and           Many leadminers followed the
churchmen. It was they who helped            Methodist movement and Killhope,
to shape Weardale in the past and it         The North of England Lead Mining
was here that they established their         Museum is a powerful reminder of
Great Chase or hunting forest. The           the heyday of Pennine lead-mining




                                        24
  tour 6                                           in the footsteps of fame....




                                      Killhope

(see “Miners and Quarrymen”). In             singled out and sold at a premium
Weardale and Allendale valleys               price on the London Lead market.
mining activities were dominated by          And the man who helped them to
the Blackett-Beaumont family.                profitability was their Chief Agent and
Theirs was the only lead to be               engineer, Thomas Sopwith.




                                        25
  tour 6                                              in the footsteps of fame....




A short drive across the moors is the           mining industry of the Durham Dales
delightful village of Blanchland and            and used its imagery in his poems.
more connections with famous                    In 1930 he stayed at the village hotel
personalities including a Prince                following a walking tour along
Bishop of Durham (see “Saints”) and             Hadrian’s Wall and drank
the Forster family. Tom Forster and             champagne in the bar, played
his cousin, James Earl of                       Brahms on the piano and bathed in
Derwentwater, were the leaders of               the River Derwent!
the English Jacobite army during the
ill-fated rebellion of 1715. A rebellion        The day ends at Auckland Castle in
which ended in execution for the Earl           Bishop Auckland. As the official
and imprisonment for Tom Forster.               home of the Bishop of Durham this
The village hotel is reputedly                  has played host to many famous
haunted by Tom’s sister as she                  personalities past and present. (See
awaits her brother’s return from                “Castles and Castle Builders”) The
exile.                                          state rooms and the glorious St
                                                Peter’s Chapel enjoy a well-loved
Blanchland was also chosen as a                 and well used atmosphere. This is
place to stay by the poet and writer            not a museum – it’s a living, working
W H Auden (b.1907) when he made                 residence. And it is surrounded by
a visit to the north of England at              parkland which visitors are
Easter 1930. Auden enjoyed a                    encouraged to enjoy.
lifelong fascination with the lead-




                                           26
tour 7   in the footsteps of the castle builders....




         Castles
                                                       Auckland Castle




               27
 tour 7                   in the footsteps of the castle builders....




                   Castles
9.30am    dep   Bishop Auckland area
                Route: A688- A167– A690-Durham City

9.45am    arr   Durham City
                Visit: Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral.

12.15pm   dep   Durham City
                Route: A690-Brancepeth-Crook-A689-Wolsingham-
                Stanhope

1.15pm    arr   Stanhope
                Visit: town centre and the Durham Dales Centre.
                Lunch – various local pubs/cafes

2.15pm    dep   Stanhope
                Route: B6278 south-Eggleston (difficult coach access
                over Eggleston Bridge so follow B6282)-Middleton in
                Teesdale-B6277-Romaldkirk-Cotherstone-Barnard Castle-
                A688-Staindrop-Bishop Auckland

3.30pm    arr   Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland

5.00pm    dep   Auckland Castle




                                  28
  tour 7                       in the footsteps of the castle builders....




R oute Information.....
The North of England has some of              was never a castle built for warfare.
the finest castles in the country.            It has had many functions including a
Some are still lived in today whilst          shooting lodge and as a school and
some form fantastic and atmospheric           today is divided into apartments.
ruins gracing the Durham Dales                But what can still be enjoyed today is
landscape.                                    the old walled garden of Stanhope
                                              Castle which forms a setting for the
Try Durham Castle for size. This is           Durham Dales Centre.
one part of an impressive World
Heritage site which dominates the             From Weardale the road crosses the
historic city of Durham and which, for        beautiful Pennine moors into
800 years, was the home and power             Teesdale. At Middleton in Teesdale a
base for the mighty Prince Bishops            bridge crosses the River Tees and a
of Durham. The same Prince                    lovely route leads through the pretty
Bishops whose influence was felt in           villages of Romaldkirk and
Weardale where they developed their           Cotherstone. This is the perfect
medieval hunting forest (see                  approach to the market town of
“Famous Personalities”). Today,               Barnard Castle because it provides
Durham Castle is a residential                a fantastic view of the ruins of the
college of the University of Durham           fortification which gave the town its
and public tours are available.               name. Much of the usefulness of a
                                              castle was in its location in the
The route from Durham City towards            landscape and this one could not
Crook passes through the village of           have been better placed to guard the
Brancepeth. One of the great                  river crossing below.
warrior families of medieval England,
the Nevill family, Earls of                   A terrific view of Raby Castle can be
Westmorland built Brancepeth                  enjoyed from the roadside en-route
Castle (not open to public) as their          to Bishop Auckland. Raby was also
chief military stronghold.                    built by the medieval Earls of
                                              Westmorland who regarded it as
But when is a castle not a castle?            their main residence. Today it is the
The answer is when it is Stanhope             home of The Lord Barnard and is
Castle. Its stone arched entrance             open to the public.
faces the Market Place but as
building work only began in 1798 this


                                         29
  tour 7                       in the footsteps of the castle builders....




Auckland Castle is a must see and             A series of paintings by the 17th
makes a perfect end to a perfect day.         century Spanish artist Francesco
Here is a castle which still functions        Zurburan depict “Jacob and his
as a home in its role as the official         Twelve Sons” and make a powerful
residence of the Bishop of Durham.            impression on all visitors. Don’t
The State Rooms include the                   miss, too, the castle’s beautiful St
Bishop’s Throne Room and Long                 Peter’s Chapel which has all the
Dining Room and it is in the latter           ornate beauty of a 17th century gem.
that one of the treasures of
Auckland Castle can be enjoyed.               What a way to end a day!




                                         30
tour 8   in the footsteps of shopping delights....




                                                     Durham Dales Centre




Retail Therapy 1
              31
 tour 8                    in the footsteps of shopping delights....




 Retail Therapy 1
9.30am          Bishop Auckland
                Shopping and/or visit Auckland Castle park

11.00am   dep   Bishop Auckland
                Route: A688-West Auckland-A68 north-A689-
                Wolsingham-Frosterley-Stanhope

11.45am   arr   Stanhope
                Local shopping and Durham Dales Centre
                Lunch – various pubs/cafes

1.15pm    dep   Stanhope
                Route: A689-Eastgate-unclassified road to Rookhope
                (coach accessible)-Allenheads

2.00pm    arr   Allenheads
                Route: Baybridge-unclassified moorland road
                (coach accessible)-B6278-Stanhope-A689-
                Ireshopeburn

2.45pm    dep   Allenheads
                Route: B6295-Cowshill-A689-Stanhope-Wolsingham

3.30pm    arr   EITHER: Visit Wolsingham
                OR: Continue to Harperley Prisoner of War Camp.

5.00pm    dep   Wolsingham or Harperley Prisoner of War Camp
                Visit: Escomb Saxon Church, Key available
                from no 26 Saxon Green Escomb

5.15pm    arr   Bishop Auckland




                                  32
  tour 8                         in the footsteps of shopping delights....




R oute Information.....
No holiday would be complete                   crafts made by local people. And if
without the opportunity to buy those           the weather is warm on the day of
all-important souvenirs. And neither           your visit then why not buy a picnic
would a holiday be complete without            from a local bakery or delicatessan
the opportunity to taste some                  and take a seat in the Market Place
delicious local food. The Durham               to watch the world go by.
Dales and Wear Valley has plenty to
offer in both respects.                        Whilst in Weardale it is worth looking
                                               out for books and information on the
The busy town of Bishop Auckland               local quilting heritage. Generations of
offers some good independent retail            local women (and sometimes men)
opportunities. Stroll around the               produced quilts of exceptional quality
town’s re-landscaped Market Place              and in the farm life of yesteryear,
on a Thursday or Saturday to soak              quilting was recognised as a part of
up the atmosphere of its traditional           the farm routine and an important
market. And then leave time to                 source of income for a farmers wife.
include one of Wear Valley’s must-             High House Chapel and Weardale
see sights the entrance to which is            Museum at Ireshopeburn has a nice
just a few paces away from the                 example of quilting as well as local
bustling market area. Auckland                 clippy or hooky mats.
Castle is everything you want from a
castle and has the added bonus of              This route has more to offer than
being the official residence of the            simply shopping opportunities. The
Bishop of Durham. Don’t miss out on            road from Eastgate to Rookhope
all that history or just stroll through        climbs steadily through a valley
the attractive Deer Park for gentle            pockmarked with the evidence of
exercise and fresh air.                        lead-mining activity and at
                                               Lintzgarth a single stone arch forms
The shops in the picturesque market            the remains of a once massive
town of Stanhope (Farmers Market               horizontal flue which ran from the old
taking place 4th Saturday each                 smelt mill into the hillside above.
month) offer a truly local experience          (Lay-by for cars/coaches and
where old fashioned customer                   interpretation board).
service is a high priority. Choose
from the Limetree Gallery or
Durham Dales Centre for local


                                          33
  tour 8                            in the footsteps of shopping delights....




A steep descent leads into the village             drive down the length of Weardale to
of Allenheads where the Allenheads                 Wolsingham (optional stop to visit
Heritage Centre offers more                        the craft/tearoom Serendipity).
refreshments and gifts at The
Hemmel Café and an exhibition                      The final stop of the day is a most
featuring a rare Armstrong Water                   unusual shopping venue! Harperley
Engine built and supplied in 1850 by               Prisoner of War Camp includes a
the Tyneside industrialist and                     1940’s style restaurant, a well
engineer, Sir William Armstrong. All               stocked farm shop, garden centre
fascinating stuff and a clue to what a             and a gift shop. Look out for special
hive of activity this little village was in        events on the site including German
those far off lead-mining days.                    Christmas markets.

The road from Allenheads leads to                  Happy shopping!
Cowshill and then a lovely scenic




                                              34
tour 9   in the footsteps of shopping delights....




                                                     Thorpe Farm Peel House




Retail Therapy 2
              35
 tour 9                    in the footsteps of shopping delights....




Retail Therapy 2
9.30am    dep   Bishop Auckland
                Route: A688-West Auckland-A68 (direction Darlington)-
                B6275-Piercebridge-A1 south-Scotch Corner-A66 west

10.15am   arr   Thorpe Farm Peel House
                Shopping and refreshments

11.00pm   dep   Thorpe Farm Peel House
                Route: A66 west-Greta Bridge-follow brown tourist signs
                to Barnard Castle

11.15pm   arr   Barnard Castle

12.30pm   dep   Barnard Castle
                Route: B6278-Eggleston-B6278-Stanhope

1.15pm    arr   Stanhope
                Lunch – various pubs/cafes and shopping

2.45pm    dep   Stanhope
                Route: A689-Frosterley-Wolsingham-A68 south-West
                Auckland-Bishop Auckland
                (Optional stops: Wolsingham or Crook)

3.30pm    arr   Bishop Auckland




                                  36
  tour 9                        in the footsteps of shopping delights....




R oute Information.....
A shorter trip through the Durham             Limetree Gallery or Durham Dales
Dales into Wear Valley offering               Centre for local crafts made by local
great scenery and tempting                    people. Lunch can be taken in one of
shopping.                                     the town’s cosy pubs or cafes but if
                                              the weather is warm on the day of
Thorpe Farm Peel House on the                 your visit then why not buy a picnic
A66 near Greta Bridge makes a                 from a local bakery or delicatessan
great beginning to the day with a             and take a seat in the Market Place
Farm Shop offering mouth watering             to watch the world go by.
local produce and good quality crafts
and gifts. Test out the produce in the
café before moving on to the historic
market town of Barnard Castle
where even more specialist shops
await.

This is a great place to browse
through antique shops where good
quality items and keen prices make a
bargain perfectly possible. For
culture vultures, the town is home to
The Bowes Museum with its
internationally renowned collection of
Spanish and French paintings and
ceramic and porcelain collections
and the museum shop offers an                                Stanhope
opportunity to buy souvenirs.
                                              The return journey through Weardale
Across the moors in Weardale the              leads to Wolsingham (craft/tearoom
picturesque market town of                    Serendipity) and to Harperley
Stanhope (Farmers Market taking               Prisoner of War Camp for optional
place 4th Saturday each month)                stops. The busy town of Crook is
offers a truly local experience where         also close by and from there it is a
old fashioned customer service is a           short return journey to Bishop
high priority. Choose from the                Auckland.



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