1. Start by leaving the car park, cross the road and turn left through the trees along the tarmac path. Presently you will see the imposing entrance of Beamish Museum ahead of you. Cross the road once more and head towards the 18th century Shepherd and Shepherdess public house. Turn left by the pub.
2. Turn right at the signposted footpath into the woods. The stone building on your right was a thatched barn in the 18th century. Further on, well hidden by the trees, are the remains of a quarry.
3. When you reach a metal gate follow the footpath leading off to the right. Continue until you reach an open area, with a footbridge on the right. Take the broad path between the large oak trees and continue through a tunnel of holly trees. Further along, climb a stile then turn left onto another track.
4. Turn left at the next signpost and return into the woodland. Continue downhill, on what used to be an old packhorse route. The path crosses a shallow valley with a footpath at the bottom going off to the left. Ignore this and continue up the other side where open countryside comes into view on your right.
5. After a further 250 metres, past some gorse bushes, turn left and follow a waymarked path down a long, steep flight of steps. When you reach the bottom you can see the remains of stone buildings. This was the site of a thriving paper mill which used waterpower and coal from the exposed coal measures to produce brown and blue paper.
6. Cross the footbridge, turn left and go through a metal gate. On the right of the gate you can see the entrance to an old drift mine. Continue on the wide track alongside the burn. This drift mine was opened in 1895. Coal was transported along the path you are now following. Some of it was used to power a steam pump further along, whilst the remainder was taken back underground down a vertical shaft and lifted via a second shaft at Eden Place. The 'wheel' situated on the side of the path is made out of old railway sleepers and serves as a reminder of the valley's industrial heritage. Continue on the track following the course of the stream. Continue past the interesting wood and stone seats shaped like pine cones.
7. Follow the curve of the stream and cross the footbridge. Before the footbridge was built, people used to cross by the old ford which you can see next to the bridge. This was the site of Middle Forge which was water-powered. From 1740 to 1780 tanning of leather was carried out using oak bark. Later it became a shop and finally became a tea room.
8. Continue for about 250 metres on an old waggonway. When you reach the road cross with care. On the other side, join a public footpath through a gap to the right of the gate and walk down a grassy slope. Climb a stile. Forge workers used to live in the cottages on the other side of the stream. Climb another stile on your left. After crossing another stile the footpath soon becomes a well surfaced track. Continue, between old stone posts, until you can see the red roof of the 12th century Flint Mill in the distance. This is the earliest building recorded in the valley.
This route passes near to the following Taste Durham establishments:
Black Horse - Beamish, The Stables - Beamish Hall Hotel and Dainty Dinah Tea Rooms and Davy's Fried Fish and Chip Potato Restaurant at Beamish Museum.
9. Just before reaching Flint Mill, turn sharp left and follow the track uphill. Join another track and pass the cottage gardens. Where the track widens out, take the broad track to your left. On the hillside is Pockerley Manor, based on a medieval fortified manor house.
10. Turn left when you join the Pockerley Farm track and walk uphill. Hammer Square House comes into view. This house once housed a community of outworkers from the forge. Follow the road to the right keeping to the footpath. At the Shepherd and Shepherdess, cross the road and take the footpath near the bus stop to return to Eden Place Picnic Area car park.
- Distance: 1-5 Miles
- Grade: Moderate
- Route Surface: Off Road
- In countryside
- Walk Distance - 3 miles.