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ROMALDKIRK

Walks from Romaldkirk

Hector C. Parr

1. PRIMROSE LANE AND EGGLESTON BRIDGE

From the far end of Low Green, a "Teesdale Way" signpost directs you along the narrow track known as "Primrose Lane". At the bottom of the lane an old stone footbridge takes you over Beer Beck, and fifty yards further on you cross a stone stile on the left. Climb almost to the top of the field, and over a stile just beyond a gate in the wall. Continue along the same straight line and you will reach a wooden stile near a corner of the concrete block wall.

Go over this, and you will find a track, high above the banks of the Tees, which brings you down to the road not far from Eggleston Bridge and the old Collingwood Corn Mill. The imposing Eggleston Hall looks down on you from across the road. Eggleston Hall
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Return to Romaldkirk by the same route, or by road; the whole excursion will take less than an hour.

2. OLD RAILWAY LINE TO COTHERSTONE

Take the road towards Barnard Castle, and quite soon turn right along the Hunderthwaite road. Three hundred yards further on you will see a gate on the left taking you onto the old railway.

Half a mile along the track there is a road to cross, and after a further half mile you will find yourself on a splendid viaduct. You can look down on the River Balder and on the tops of the trees which line its banks. Balder Viaduct
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A little further on, the next "level crossing" provides weary travellers with a short-cut to Cotherstone, but the intrepid will continue for another mile, coming out on the Moor Road near the church.

The whole walk is enjoyable, but if you find the interest flagging momentarily when the view is hidden by the sides of a cutting, why not imagine yourself on the footplate of one of the little engines which plied the line for almost a century? Sound your whistle at each farm crossing, and urge your fireman to throw on more coal as you approach each gradient.

3. OLD RAILWAY LINE TO MIDDLETON

Walk up the Fell Lane (see below) to a point just beyond the old station, and you will see steps leading to the railway track. You can follow this most of the way to Middleton (about three and a half miles each way), but there are several places along the route where you can exit, and return by road.

The most interesting part of the walk is over another impressive viaduct just past Mickleton village, offering fine views of the tree-lined banks of the River Lune more than a hundred feet below, and onto the junction of the roads to Middleton and Brough. Mickleton Viaduct
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4. FELL LANE

This walk offers numerous alternatives, and as it lies wholly on roadways you can wear whatever clothing and footwear suit the weather.

Fell Lane is the narrow road leading Westwards from the centre of Romaldkirk. In just over a mile it climbs 400 feet, providing fine views to the East, North and South, and exhilarating exercise if taken at a good pace. Fell Lane
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If you are then not ready to retrace your steps, various options are open to you. Turning left, and left again through the little village of Hunderthwaite, will bring you back to Romaldkirk, a round trip of about three miles. Alternatively, turning right past the aerial mast will bring you down to Mickleton, from which you can return to Romaldkirk either by road or along the old railway track. The total journey time will be about two hours.

On the other hand, if you have a whole morning or afternoon to spare, after ascending Fell Lane you can go straight on, to the old farm at Botany. Here you may either turn left, and left again onto the Baldersdale road, and back by Hunderthwaite (total journey time two and a half hours), or you can turn right, and right again, and home via Mickleton (about three hours in all). Whichever route you choose there are splendid views to enjoy.

5. SENNINGS LANE and the FAIRY CUPBOARDS

This is a delightful walk, but parts of it are quite difficult. You should attempt it only if you have a good pair of walking boots.

In the South West corner of Low Green you will see a "Teesdale Way" signpost pointing South. Follow this along the shady Sennings Lane, and when you reach the gate at the end, keep on the track through three fields as indicated by the yellow Teesdale Way markers. After passing the derelict Low Garth farm follow the left hand way-marker, which takes you down into the wood, and eventually right down to the river.

If the water is low you can clamber down onto the rocks and see the little cupboards which the fairies have made for storing their provisions. (Non-believers may try to tell you that these are just natural features, formed by the action of the water, but the local folk know better.) Fairy Cupboards
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You may then either return to Romaldkirk (total journey time about an hour), or continue for another mile along the Teesdale Way, passing in front of Woden Croft farm, and on to Cotherstone.

6. TO COTHERSTONE AND BACK

This splendid walk takes you to Cotherstone along the North bank of the Tees, and brings you back along the South bank. You will need almost four hours, and you should wear a stout pair of boots.

From the village proceed to Eggleston Bridge, either by road or across the fields as described in Walk No.1. Cross the bridge and immediately turn right along a metalled path past the cricket pavilion. At the end of the path you will see the outfall of the Kielder Tunnel, which was built in 1980 to transfer water from the River Tyne into the Tees. Just a few steps back is a waymarked track taking you up the Jubilee Steps, constructed to mark the Jubilee of the Ramblers' Association in 1985. Jubilee Steps
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Cotherstone
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From the top of the wood the path is well signposted and provided with good stone stiles. Cross the first field close to its right hand side, then diagonally left across the next one, and then pass in front of East Barnley Farm. Continuing in a generally Southerly direction, you cross four more fields, not far from an isolated oak tree in the third of these, and alongside a fence on your left in the fourth. Continue along with a fence on your right, and at the next stile it is well worth while making a small detour to the right, and onto Percy Myre Rock. From here you can look down on Cotherstone and the Tees far below, surely one of the finest views in Teesdale. Cross another field, and immediately after crossing the next stream go over a stile on your right, descend alongside the stream for a hundred yards, then over a stile on your left to cross another field diagonally, and down into the caravan park. Go straight across this, proceed a short distance along the lane, and strike off right to cross the metal footbridge over the river.

Here, if thirst or fatigue so dictate, you could turn left, over another footbridge, and up into Cotherstone, where there are two pubs (and, let it be whispered, a bus service back to Romaldkirk). But the true walker will turn right along the riverside path. When this emerges from the wood keep alongside the fence, and cross it again at the stile. Stepping stones will take you safely over Wilden Beck, after which you strike off up the field, pass a stone enclosure on your left, and up to Woden Croft, reputed to have been in the nineteenth century a school like Dickens' notorious "Dotheboys Hall". After passing in front of the house, take the gate on the right and proceed between the farm buildings. After skirting the next field you may, if you wish, take the lane on the right down to the Fairy Cupboards, which are described in Walk No.5, but the direct route inclines left, and past an old barn. Then you follow the waymarkers back to Romaldkirk, tracing in reverse the walk described in No.5.


(c) Hector C. Parr (1999)

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