AboutAbbey Bridge to Whorlton via North Bank
DISTANCE: 5 Kms
GRADE OF WALK:MODERATE
From Abbey Bridge turn left up the road for 50m to a signposted stile on right to double back above the road and follow a wall on right to a hand gate. Soon the path enters the derelict wood, eventually emerging at an iron trough. Keep to the top of the wood, with the River Tees deep in its rocky gorge audible below. Over the second stile bear left across the field to a stone stile in line with a small wood. Continue on and cross a beck near a stone trough. Bear right to another stone stile, left of a hand gate, then along the top of the field, with a fine view down to the famed Meeting of the Waters. Cross a timber stile and keep to the edge of the woods. From the bank top Rokeby Hall and Mortham Tower may be glimpsed across the river. Keep to the field edge until a stone stile leads into Sledwich Gill, where Parish Boundary Markers link Westwick and Whorlton. Up the steep bank, keep along the field edge before bearing left around the top of an open bank of oak trees. Through an iron gate at a small plantation, the path leads high above the river to Whorlton. Turn right at the road, then to reach Whorlton Bridge go right again down steps to the old toll house. To continue on the North bank, the Way goes down the road and turns off left at the bend.
Wholton to Winston via North Bank
DISTANCE: 4.5 kms
GRADE OF WALK:MODERATE
From Whorlton Bridge the road climbs to a sharp L bend where a signpost points the way through the wall on the right. The high wood land path soon descends to stepping stones across Whorlton Beck. Once over the beck follow the banks of the River Tees as it pours over shelves of bedrock. Pass a ruined house to where the path meets the river edge; from these flat rocks a ferry once ran across to the hamlet of Wycliffe. Turn sharp left, climb a stony woodland track to a stile and turn right outside the wood. Way marked stiles now lead along the field edge above the wooded bank, with a view of Wycliffe's cottages nestling on the riverbank opposite. Go around Grafts Farm towards a steel gate but bear left keeping to the field side of a fence along the bank top. Soon the river below curves over a series of waterfalls to the foot of the steep slopes beneath the path. Cross an unidentified Parish Boundary hedge from Whorlton to Winston, and continue over a stile beside an ancient ash tree, where the Way leads into open pasture. High above the wooded banks opposite the rooftops of Ovington village may be seen. Keep to the fence and the path becomes a track along the top of a gorse bank. Where it meets the end of Holme Wood cross a stile on the right to follow its Ledge. The Tees may now seem a long way off, though it is still audible away beyond the trees. Just as the river draws near, the Way crosses a stile to turn left along a track by a chalet. Over a beck and past a shed, cross a stile on the right, then go left of a narrow belt of trees into an old wood. The sinuous path follows a fence before climbing to a stile into pasture. Turn right along the edge of a wood, with the river below and a caravan site on the far bank, to reach the road beside the grand Winston Bridge.
Winston to Piercebridge via South Bank
DISTANCE: 9.5 km
GRADE OF WALK:MODERATE
From Winston Bridge a signpost points the Way down past a wooden bungalow and across a field to an unmarked squeeze s tile by a gate. Go left between the cottages and follow the track to Hedgeholme, skirting left of the farm buildings. Continue along a riverside wood where a curved pond is evidence of a former course of the River Tees. Further on the track meets the river where mature riverbank trees have trapped debris in their lower branches, showing the height at which the river sometimes flows. Go up between an ash tree and a hedge, then go sharp right , but turn left before the gate to follow a hawthorn hedge. The path goes past the old railway from Darlington to Barnard Castle where it crosses briefly from the river' s North Bank . Contrast the now silent track bed with the intrusive drone of traffic from the A67 over the river. On approaching Barforth Hall head for a hand-gate across wet ground and a beck, then out through another gate to the farm road. Turn right for the farm yard but bear left in front of the silos along a track, rising to leave the valley bottom. Walk high above a wooded gill concealed by ancient earthworks, to come to a place once occupied by a medieval community. Across the beck the remains of St Lawrence Chapel can be seen, but at the gate be sure to bear right along the green track which then curves left over the old Chapel Bridge. With its ribbed arch and stone corbel is supporting the parapet, this is worth a close look. Go on up to explore the ruined chapel; now affording shelter for farm beasts, and the nearby dovecote standing proud above the surrounding fields. From here there is a fine view of Gainford village and the Tees sweeping below. Continue along the track as it bends away from the bank top and across pasture towards five big friendly trees at Boat Lane. Turn R, then left along a farm road across arable fields. The road bends right then left, but as it continues to bend left, take the unmarked public right of way through a gate on the right. Head across a small field to a gap in the hedge opposite and turn left along its far side. Along this hedge the route crosses the Boundary from Barforth to Eppleby Parish, and also rom County Durham into North Yorkshire. To get round the next hedge go through a gate on the left and after 25 metres back through another gate. Turn left and continue along the field edge to another hedge. Step through a gap and over a ditch and head for Chapel House Farm across pasture with pronounced 'rigg and furrow' undulations, a legacy from former ploughing methods. Past the buildings join the farm road and follow it to Low Field crossing the bndge over the old Forcett branch railway. Through the farm pass fields of soft fruit and a young orchard to a junction with a road and go straight on; thereby crossing from Eppleby to Cliffe Parish. The estate road goes through the old parkland of Cliffe Hall, and once over a beck is edged with wrought iron fencing. Just beyond the white sign for Cliffe CC a stile on the left marks the path down the field edge with the cricket field across to the L. Follow a line of old oak trees to a gate leading over Betty Watson 's Hill to find a white hand-gate into a wood. Here the path drops down through the trees above the river and emerges at Piercebridge.
Route information provided by DCC. Guidebook available from Cicerone.
- Distance: 10-20 Miles
- Grade: Moderate
- Theme: Breathtaking Views
- Theme: Long Distance
- Theme: Rivers / Reservoirs