Frosterley Marble Walk
Tel: +44 03000 265342
Distance: 2 kilometres (1.3 miles)
Grade of walk: Moderate
Walk 1 is a 2 km or 1.3 mile route and takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. This short walk is a circuit through fields and along tracks taking in some of the old quarrying sites, a visit to Frosterley Church and points where you can view Frosterley marble in its traditional worked and raw forms.
Distance: 5.5 kilometres (3.6 miles)
Grade of walk: Moderate
Walk 2 is a 5.5km or 3.6 mile route and takes about 2 hours. It gives great views across Weardale and a fascinating return via an excellent exposure of Frosterley marble in its raw form in the riverbed of the Bollihope Burn.
Distance: 7.5 kilometres (5 miles)
Grade of walk: Moderate
Walk 3 is 7.5km/5 mile and takes about 2 hours 30 minuntes. This route follows Walk 2 but incorporates a simple there-and-back extension and gives the chance to explore a quiet limestone valley with close up views of water worn limestone, ancient yew trees and an abundance of beautiful flowers in spring and summer. You rejoin Walk 2 and see the excellent Frosterley marble exposures. Please keep to the path when at the quarry.
Walks 1, 2 and 3:
Start at Frosterley Station. Leave the station and at the road (opposite the Black Bull Inn) turn left to cross the bridges over the railway line and River Wear.
Pass the Old Sunday School and Primitive Methodist Chapel on your left and take the next left in front of Old Bridge House (look out for the finger post on the right hand side of the road). Follow this track in front of Old Bridge Farm. Keep left, passing the large modern barns and then fork right through a gate (with a yellow footpath waymarker).
The path climbs gradually and goes through a second gate. After about 250 metres, where the track turns right, turn left along the footpath, following a fence on your right.
Take care as this path can be slippery.
Go through a kissing gate and into an area of old spoil heaps. You will notice an old railway track bed which is cut off by the river (the abutments are still in place). Follow the old railway track bed towards a cutting ahead (the entrance to a disused quarry). Do not go into the quarry, instead keep left on the stony path that climbs up to a kissing gate.
Walk 1 leaves Walks 2 and 3 at this point.
For Walk 1, go through the kissing gate and follow the footpath to a memorial bench. Carry on for 100 metres to a track junction. Turn left down to a footbridge across the River Wear. Then follow the directions from back to the start.
For Walks 2 and 3, don’t go through the kissing gate but turn right to head up through the hawthorn grove to overlook the old quarry on your right and a working quarry (Broadwood) on your left. Go through a second kissing gate and then turn right along a fence running along the top edge of the old quarry.
After 200 metres, go through a gate and drop down to a surfaced farm track. Turn right to pass an old brick building, and continue on the track as it curves left then climbs to the road. Turn left down the road, past the ‘White Kirkley’ sign, over the river to a gate on your right signposted Weardale Way.
For Walk 2, now follow directions from back to the start.
For Walk 3 only; Go through this gate, (if you find yourself crossing a road bridge, you’ve gone too far). Follow this track up the valley of the Bollihope Burn to a footbridge.
Follow the path as it leads through a rock gap. Here you can see the effects of thousands of years of water dripping onto and sculpting the sides of this rocky gorge. This was probably once the river course until it found the route to your left. Limestone rivers are notorious for changing their courses, leaving riverbeds dry once the water finds an alternative route through cracks and fissures in the rock.
Head up the valley past a series of pools (remnants of the quarrying operations here) and head to a second footbridge. This is the turning back point. As you head back down the valley you will probably notice more of the quarrying evidence, such as the stones lining the banks of the Bollihope Burn beside one of the pools.
Return to the road and turn right.
Stay on the road, and cross the bridge into the hamlet of White Kirkley, turn left (opposite White Kirkley farmhouse) through a kissing-gate marked with a finger post, ‘Weardale Way’.
Go straight ahead for 30 metres and then keep left past a gate. Now head half-left, down the hill (towards a large tree) and through a gate in the bottom field corner. If you look to your left over the Bollihope Burn you can see the ruins of Bishopley Lime Kilns.
Follow the river passing through another two gates.
Where the path climbs away from the river, look for a kissing gate ahead next to a field gate. Go through the kissing gate into shrubby woodland, where there are some of the building remains of Harehope Gill Lead Mine. Climb to go through another kissing gate and follow the fence to a stile on your left marked ‘Permissive Footpath’. Go over this stile. To your right is Harehope Quarry.
Go down the hill to a footbridge. Take care as there are steep, uneven stone steps which can be slippery when wet.
Cross the bridge and follow the path as it sweeps left, go over a stile and immediately turn right to go through a metal field gate. Head up hill, past some old workings on your left.
At the wire fence bear RIGHT, go through the kissing gate next to a six bar gate. Stay on the track to where it meets the road, opposite Broadwood House. Turn left and follow the road down to a junction just before it crosses the railway line.
Turn left here, along a road towards the quarry. The footpath keeps to the riverbank; just before the ‘Danger Quarry’ sign is a public footpath sign which leads you to the right, along a narrow precipitous path above the River Wear (parents need to supervise children closely here). The path emerges from the woodland and joins a quarry track. Where the track forks, turn right, through a gate and down to the footbridge across the River Wear.
Cross the bridge and go through the double gates to cross the railway line, taking care to follow the safety instructions. You will pass the old mill and mill cottages which make this a pleasant return route. Follow Mill Lane to the main road and turn left in front of a row of houses. To visit the church, look for the track to the church on your left between the houses. Return to the road, turn left and in 200 metres, turn left at the road junction to return to Frosterley Station.
Route courtesy of The Access & Rights of Way Department at Durham County Council.
- Distance: 1-5 Miles
- Grade: Easy
- Grade: Moderate
- Route Surface: Off Road
- Theme: Heritage
- Theme: Nature
- In countryside