Tuesday, 2 February 2010

C-Walking: Durham Delights

Today's three walks were all located in the County Durham area. The A-walk and C-walk each started at Byers Green while the B-walk departed from the A690 road near Stockley Bridge. All walks finished in Durham City.

The C-walk set off at 10.05 am from near the centre of Byers Green {NZ 224 340}. Our route today was to take us towards Tudhoe Village, Sunderland Bridge, Croxdale Hall, Shincliffe and Durham City. There were 7 people in the group: MB, PB, SB, IG, MM, CP and SQ. PB led the walk.

From our drop-off point, we walked in a south-easterly direction along the main road to reach the war memorial {NZ 225 338} (see the picture below) where we turned left into Hagg Lane.

Byers Green
We followed Hagg Lane in a north-easterly direction to its junction with the minor road (Whitworth Road) at {NZ 235 346} near Whitworth Church. Turning right, we now followed the road in a south-easterly direction for about 380 yards to the entrance of Whitworth Hall Country Park. We entered the car park and lingered for a short while admiring the lake and the overall ambience of the location.

Leaving the car park, we followed the public footpath for about 200 yards and then had a short coffee stop. We sat on some conveniently located logs - basking in the glorious mid-morning sunshine.

After our coffee break, we set off along a north-easterly path towards Middle Burtons {NZ 244 347}. Turning left along a good track, we now made our way north - through a delightful woodland - to Lower Burtons {NZ 245 350}.

Returning to a north-easterly bearing, we progressed to a path junction at {NZ 247 353}. Turning right, we followed the path through the wood in an easterly direction in order to reach the bridge over Valley Burn at {NZ 253 355}. After crossing this, we made our way on a north-north-westerly bearing to the minor road near the sewage works at {NZ 252 356}.

We followed this road in a northerly direction to its junction with the westerly-going minor road from Tudhoe Village. Just after the junction, at {NZ 254 360}, we took a north-easterly track across the fields in order to reach Coldstream Wood {NZ 259 366}. We passed through the wood, reaching the footbridge over Nickynack Beck at {NZ 259 370}.

Now moving in a north-easterly direction, we maintained this bearing along a good track that took us to Croxdale Viaduct {NZ 264 376} and Sunderland Bridge {NZ 265 377}. We took our lunch break on the south side of the bridge, basking in the sun on the eastern bank of the River Wear.

Sunderland Bridge
After lunch we joined the Weardale Way (WW) at Croxdale Bridge and followed this in a north-easterly direction to reach Croxdale Hall {NZ 274 379}. We then made our way along the edge of Croxdale Wood and Butterby Wood in order to reach a footpath just beyond High Butterby Farm {NZ 289 388}. Now changing to a north-westerly bearing, we descended through the woods to reach the eastern bank of the River Wear {NZ 287 391}. We then followed the route of the river to Shincliffe Wood.

We continued along the WW, passing Shincliffe Hall {NZ 288 401} (on our left) in order to reach the A177 road {NZ 289 409} near the village of Shincliffe. From Shincliffe Bridge, we followed the Weardale Way along the bank of the River Wear to {NZ 285 417}. Staying on the WW, we then navigated a route to the footbridge over Old Durham Beck {NZ 286 418}. Making our way north, we re-joined the River Wear near Pelaw wood {NZ 286 422}. We stopped for a few minutes - watching the rowing teams honing their skills with their oars (see here).

From Pelaw Wood, our path now took us in a westerly direction towards the centre of Durham City. We left the river at {NZ 275 424} and climbed up a steep flight of stone steps to reach the road. Turning left, we followed the road through the centre of Durham towards the church near {NZ 276 427}. From here, we made our way towards The Sands car park {NZ 275 430} where our coach was waiting to take us home.

Durham City
Despite Saturday's fall of snow, the walking conditions today were really excellent. The cold weather meant that all the muddy paths (that might have been) were frozen solid. They were therefore and a 'pleasure' to walk on - considering what they might have been like had it not snowed yesterday.




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