Thursday, 16 June 2011

Teesdale Way - Cotherstone to Romaldskirk

I haven't had time to make any Lakeland excursions recently, but that gives me the chance explore some of the great places on my doorstep. I recently returned to Cotherstone, where I had previously been on the way to visit the Teesdale Reservoirs of Hury and Blackton. Using my trusty Cicerone guide to walks in County Durham I headed off on this circular walk taking in a section of the Teesdale Way.

Starting off at Cotherstone it was dry but clouds were looking ominous overhead. The walk started off in fine fashion, where the River Balder spills out into the River Tees


The Tees at that point is wide and serene as it winds its was eastwards, flanked by wooded banks. The walk follows the riverbank through the trees for a short while  then climbs up a bank away from the river to cross some meadows before returning to the river. I passed the buildings of Woden Croft, which was originally one of the infamous Yorkshire Schools condemned by Charles Dickens. Along the river it was absolutely quiet and I had the place to myself. After a short while the path once again veered away from the river cutting though fields and a past old farm buildings heading up the hill towards Romaldskirk

Having gained a little height the views spread out with Teesdale resplendent even under grey weather. An alley of trees takes you into the village lined with colourful plants and the scent of wild garlic.

The path then enters Romaldskirk which is a picture postcard village complete with church, village green, pubs and a stream bearing the intriguing name of Beer Beck.

Definitely looks like a place to go for a pub lunch and quiet look about, or a stay in a holiday cottage. As usual I was on a tight schedule and so I didn't get much of a chance to look around the village and soon i was back on the trial, moving out of the village along a narrow footpath that ended with this arch of trees giving way to open fields.

After crossing a few more fields the path drops back down to meet the Tees, crossing this on the 17th century Eggleston Bridge.The weather took a turn for the worse here, with the light drizzle turning into a steady downpour and so I upped the pace a little and didn't have the opportunity to have a closer look at the bridge or the nearby Eggleston Hall and its gardens. Following the opposite river bank, the walk heads back towards Cotherstone before moving away from the river and up onto the fields and moors. There were some great views high over the Tees with the tops of Goldsborough and Shacklesborough visible through the drizzle.

With the weather not the best I unfortunately missed stopping to take in the recommended viewpoint at Percy Mere Rock. The path then dropped back down to the river crossing a footbridge and once again offering a lovely view of the river Tees.

At this point the walk completes the circle bringing you back to the bridge over the river Balder, a couple of hundred yards from the village of Cotherstone and the start of the walk. A lovely quiet part of Teesdale that is well worth exploring.

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