Distance: 10.5 KM (6.5 miles)
Grade of walk: Moderate
Time: 3-4 Hours
Explorer Map:OL 31
Feel the gentle upland breeze and invigorate your spirits on this walk through the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route takes you along one of Britain's most spectacular rivers, the Tees, to the breath taking High Force, England's largest waterfall. You can also discover the area's rich and important flora, rare bird life, ancient juniper woodland and fascinating geology.
Bowlees Visitor Centre and picnic site, off B6277, near Middleton-in-Teesdale OS Map Grid Reference NY907282
From the car park at Bowlees countryside site (signed from road), cross the footbridge across the Bowlees Beck and head up the steps to the Visitor Centre (refreshments, information, displays). From the Visitor Centre head down the small lane to the main Teesdale road, crossing at an angle and passing through a kissing gate onto the public footpath. Follow the well-made path to the squeeze stile and walk down through the woodland to Wynch Bridge.
Turn right over the bridge and follow the Pennine Way National Trail past the sheep sculpture and alongside the River Tees at Low Force. The flowers alongside this section of the route are very important and include the globe flower and birdseye primrose. Continue along the path, which is within the Moorhouse - Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve to Holwick Head footbridge.
Do not cross the bridge but turn away from the river, climbing the steep steps into the juniper woodland. Continue along the well-made path until you reach the spectacular High Force waterfall, which pours over the hard Whin Sill, a dolerite rock, which formed 295 million years ago. Continue along the Pennine Way, parallel to the river, to the bridge just beyond Cronkley farm.
Cross the river but do not turn left on the Pennine Way, instead heading straight along the track and straight on at the bend across the stepping-stones and up the bank. Follow the fence line to the field gate turning right across the field and left beyond the next gate. Walk beyond the disused house/barn to a wicket gate in a wall. Head up the hill between the fence and the house to join the track to the main road beyond the metal shed. Turn right for a short distance along the road to Hanging Shaw picnic site/car park.
At the picnic site take time to look at the sculpture. Head up the lane behind the picnic site, turning right, around the small school and follow the track and footpath to Dale Cottage. Follow the lane to Middle Moor Riggs farm. Enter the field along the left side of the wall, passing through four field gates in total. After passing through the final gate (just beyond the ruined house), turn diagonally left toward the white cottage in the far corner of the field and reach the lane beyond. Continue right along the lane to the turning to Dirt Pit.
At Dirt Pit continue forward and follow the track to the Visitor Centre at Bowlees. Or for the opportunity to walk to the bottom of High Force, follow the footpath to the right (signed as a public footpath from the lane) to the High Force Hotel (refreshments, information) and pay to walk to the bottom of High Force. Return along the same footpath and follow the track on the right back to the Visitor Centre at Bowlees.
This walk was supplied by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
For more information visit www.northpennines.org.uk
- Stiles on Route
- Distance (6-10 Km)
- Distance (more than 10 Km)
- Grade (Moderate)
- Time (2-3 hours)
- Time (3-4 hours)