Countryside - Coast - City
This is breathtaking. This is Durham.
Discover Durham’s great outdoors
A taster of walking and cycling trails in Durham
This is dramatic. This is Durham.
This short guide is a taster of some of the fantastic walking and cycling routes in Durham – the perfect way to experience our extraordinary county. The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is waiting to be discovered – with heather moors, dramatic dales, tumbling upland rivers, glorious waterfalls and colourful hay meadows. Or blow away the cobwebs and enjoy spectacular views on the Durham Heritage Coast, which boasts a dramatic landscape of beaches, rugged cliffs and imposing headlands. Explore the woodland of Hamsterley Forest, or spot wildlife from the water’s edge whilst enjoying the scenery at Tunstall, Grassholme, Hury or Derwent Reservoirs. Whatever your age, ability or energy level, you’ll find easy-to-follow route maps and a wealth of information to help you on your way.
The trails in this guide are just a few of our favourites, there are over 120 more for you to discover at: thisisdurham.com/outdoors Scan me
A walk around Low and High Force Waterfalls
Distance: 5 Miles Grade: Moderate This 5 mile circular walk takes you through the stunning landscape of Upper Teesdale in the Durham Dales, within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It includes Low and High Force waterfalls - the most spectacular natural features in Durham. The walk is an excellent way to discover the characterful River Tees and the Moor House - Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve. The high point of the walk (literally) is England’s highest uninterrupted drop of water, High Force. Drop into the visitor centre at Bowlees (reopens late April 2013) for the café and to discover more about the area.
Directions: From the Bowlees Visitor Centre, head south (crossing the main road with care) and follow the public footpath that crosses the old miners’ Wynch Bridge spanning the River Tees. Turn right and head upstream (this is the Pennine Way National Trail) to Holwick Head footbridge. This part of the route passes alongside Low Force and through the Moor House - Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, the wildlife of this area is some of the most important in the nation, and includes flower rich hay meadows and breeding wading birds. Staying on the same side of the river at Holwick Head Bridge and continuing up the slope will take you to impressive views of High Force, plunging 70 feet (21m) over the hard Whin Sill rock found throughout Teesdale (1.25 miles return). Cross the Holwick Head footbridge and turn left continuing on the other side of the river for a short distance before heading uphill through a woodland, emerging onto the main road at the hotel (for a small payment you can walk the 0.5 mile return path to the bottom of High Force waterfall). Follow the footpath behind the buildings of the hotel and turn right along an unmade track (with the car park on your right) to a field barn and then head north east across two fields to meet a minor road to the small settlement of Dirt Pit. Follow the track through Dirt Pit and back to Bowlees Visitor Centre. For a short additional extension to the route - at Bowlees, from the car park follow riverside footpaths to Gibson’s Cave and Summer Hill Force waterfalls (0.5 mile return). Route information provided by North Pennines AONB Partnership.
Map Key: Visitor Centre Picnic Area Parking
How to get there… DL12 0XF Follow the B6282 to Middleton-inTeesdale, take the B6277, Bowlees is on the right after 31/4 miles. Etters Gill Dirt Pit
High Force Quarry (disused)
White Hill Gibson’s Cave
High Force (Waterfall) Moor House - Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve
Bowlees and Gibson’s Cave Nature Reserve
Low Force (Waterfall) Newbiggin
The Bowes Museum Rose & Crown
Home to Lord Barnard’s family since 1626, Raby is one of the finest medieval Castles in England.
A magnificent late 19th Century French Château, housing internationally renowned collections of European fine and decorative arts.
Staindrop, County Durham DL2 3AH Tel: 01833 660202 Web: rabycastle.com
Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP Tel: 01833 690606 Web: thebowesmuseum.org.uk
Charming 18th Century coaching inn located in the picturesque Durham Dales village of Romaldkirk. Romaldkirk, County Durham DL12 9EB Tel: 01833 650213 Web: rose-and-crown.co.uk
Durham Heritage Coast Walk
Distance: 11 Miles Grade: Moderate The Durham Coastal Footpath is a superb 11 mile walking route from Seaham in the north to Crimdon in the south, leading through stunning clifftop scenery with links into coastal villages each with their own special stories to tell. The Durham Heritage Coast is one that has been affected by constant change, both natural and manmade, but it has always been a special place for nature lovers. The underlying geology is Magnesian Limestone with boulder clay above it which supports fantastic grassland with wonderful plants and other wildlife, including the very special Durham Argus butterfly that feeds on the rockrose and can be seen during the summer months. Coal mining was the dominant industry in the area throughout the 20th Century but following the closure of the pits in the early 1990s considerable effort has been put into restoring the coastal grasslands leading to a recreated coastal landscape. Along the route you will still see remnants of the colliery spoil that despoiled the beaches for over 100 years.
Directions: The walk starts in Seaham where the North Dock, created for the export of coal, is now under development and will become a smart new marina next to the vibrant working port in South Dock. The path follows the cliffs to Nose’s Point where there are superb views down to Whitby on a clear day. This was the site of the former Dawdon colliery but now a gateway to the most tranquil section of the Durham Heritage Coast. The airy route continues south taking in Hawthorn Dene, passing Beacon Hill and Easington Colliery down into Castle Eden Dene and on to Blackhall, where the final dramatic scenes of Get Carter were played out. Then on past the smugglers caves of Blackhall Rocks, the path runs on through a chicane of small gills to finish at Crimdon and its dunes, where little terns return from Africa every year to breed on the open beach. Along the way there are detours into local villages and onto the fascinating beaches, with some routes more challenging than others. Route information provided by Durham Heritage Coast Partnership.
Map Key: Picnic Area Parking
Visitor Information Point
SEAHAM HARBOUR Liddle Stack
Nose’s Point A19
How to get there…
Hawthorn Hive Beacon Point SHIPPERSEA BAY
SR7 7AG From the A19 take the B1404, it changes from Seaton Lane to Lord Byrons Walk.
Fox Holes Horden Point Warren House Gill Whitesides Gill HORDEN A19
Blackhills Gill DENEMOUTH
BLACKHALL COLLIERY B1281
Blue House Gill
Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Centre
Tweddle Children’s Farm
The biggest outlet shopping centre in the region with more than 60 outlet shops selling over 200 different brands.
A children’s farm and petting centre with a wide variety of animals, seasonal events, outdoor and indoor play areas, tea room and gift shop.
Dalton Park, Murton, County Durham SR7 9HU Tel: 0191 526 6500 Web: dalton-park.co.uk
Fillpoke Lane, Blackhall Colliery, County Durham TS27 4BT Tel: 0191 586 3311 Web: tweddlefarm.co.uk
Sharpley Golf Sharpley Golf with 18 holes and driving range with power tees. Sharpley Hall Farm, Seaton, Seaham, County Durham SR7 0NP Tel: 0191 581 8045 Web: sharpleygolf.com
Derwent Reservoir Multi-User Path
Distance: 2 Miles Grade: Easy Discover the wildlife and history of Derwent Reservoir along this 2 mile multi-user path, while taking in the stunning views. This is an easy, comfortable walk and is suitable for walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users and pushchairs.
Directions: The easy to follow linear trail runs around the shore of the reservoir from Millshield picnic area in the north, to Pow Hill Country Park in the south. The visitor centre is half way, below the dam. The route is ideal for tackling in smaller sections, with interpretation along the way explaining the fascinating history and wildlife of the reservoir. There is a shop and toilets at the visitor centre, which is a good place to get more information. Millshield also has public toilets. Pow Hill Country Park is a wildlife hotspot that boasts red squirrel, adder and rare bog plants. Route information provided by Northumbrian Water.
Map Key: Picnic Area Parking Visitor Centre
How to get there… DH8 9TT Follow the A68 to Caterway Heads, take the B6278 for 1 mile towards Edmundbyers.
Millshield A68 Blanchland Moor
Derwent Reservoir B6306
Pow Hill Country Park
Visitor Centre & Shop
Hamsterley Forest - Red Cycle Trail
Distance: 12.5 Miles Grade: Hard
Suitable for proficient mountain bikers with good off-roading skills. Suitable for better quality off-road mountain bikes.
Hamsterley Forest is a magnet for mountain bikers. A thousand acres of woodland, streams, sloping valleys and high plateau between Weardale and Teesdale in the Durham Dales.
Directions: Starting on the forest drive from the visitor centre, turn left after the play park, then right after crossing the river to follow The Grove link. After the Grove house the trail turns left over the stone bridge then first right up the track to the Descend downhill facility. At the cabin turn right along a forest road, which leads to a single track section with a ford, before descending to Blackling Hole. From here the Red route heads up to the top edge of the forest overlooking Eggleston Moor then returns to The Grove via the Euden Beck. Most of this section is on forest roads. From The Grove the Forest Drive takes you back to the visitor centre. This trail is graded red because it is long with a lot of hills and is mostly at a low technical grade. It is a good trail to do if you want exercise and superb views. Route information provided by the Forestry Commission.
Map Key: Bike Shop & Hire Picnic Area Parking Downhill Uphill Visitor Centre
How to get there… DL13 3NL Nearest major road is the A68. Follow brown ‘Hamsterley Forest’ signs from A68 North of Bishop Auckland.
Low LowRedford Redford Wood Wood
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HAMSTERLEY HAMSTERLEY COMMON COMMON
BlackHill Black Hill
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HAMSTERLEY HAMSTERLEY FOREST FOREST FiveFive Lane LaneEnds Ends Pennington
Pennington Cottage Cottage Pennington Pennington Plantation Plantation
Blackling BlacklingHole Hole
Spurlswood BeckBeck Spurlswood
The The Grove Grove
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Lunton Lunton Hill
The Loop Brain Freeze
Windy WindyBank Bank
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Useful Information There are three categories of public rights of way in the county - please remember that you can only cycle on Bridleways and Byways, and not on Footpaths. Please remember that most public rights of way cross private land, often farmland, so follow the Countryside Code. All routes featured in this guide have been verified prior to publishing, however, problems can occur from time to time such as fallen trees, broken gates and plants obscuring signposts. If you do encounter any difficulties whilst exploring Durham’s great outdoors, please report them to [email protected]
Listen for cyclists or horse riders who may be approaching Be prepared to let cyclists or horse riders pass you, step out of the way if you can Take extra care in areas with poor visibility Keep your dogs under control when cyclists or horse riders are nearby, remember horses may be spooked by loud or sudden noises
Do not... Obstruct the passage-way for other users by taking up the full width of the path
Please take care when other walkers and cyclists are around, and be aware of their needs. Be polite and courteous to other users, a nice wave and a ‘thank you’ goes a long way to keep everyone happy.
All users should take their rubbish home with them, and should leave all gates as they are found.
Give an audible warning and slow down when overtaking other users
If you have a dog with you, please clean up after it and take the waste to the nearest bin.
Take extra care when approaching children, horses and dogs
Take care in areas with poor visibility
Do not... Ride too quickly, brake hard, skid or do anything else which is likely to damage the path.
Please ask us if you would like this document summarised in another language or format.
For more information on how to enjoy Durham’s great outdoors safely, see the visitor information page on thisisdurham.com/outdoors.
03000 26 26 26 or for a pdf version visit: thisisdurham.com/publications Disclaimer – The information in this guide has been produced for promotional purposes and was correct at time of production. Inclusion in the publication does not imply recommendation and you are advised to check details before travelling. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this publication is accurate, we cannot accept responsibility for any error or omission. The maps in this guide contain Ordnance Survey Data © Crown copyright and database right 2013.
The information on this page has been provided by Durham County Council’s Countryside Service and Access and Rights of Way Team.