Walking Routes in County Durham

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 County Durham Walks
Route NamePhotoDistanceDescription
Allensford Country Park3 miles (5 km)Enjoy riverside woodland walks and magnificent views of the Derwent Valley in this country park near Consett. The River Derwent runs right through the park, with riverside footpaths to follow. The park has picnic tables, a shop and a nature trail in Deneburn Wood.
Auckland Walk5 miles (7.5 km)A short cycle and walking route along a dismantled railway line from Spennymoor to Bishop Auckland. This is a nice, easy route ideal for families.
Balderhead Blackton and Hury Reservoirs5 miles (7.5 km)This walk visits these three reservoirs in Baldersdale. The walk starts at the parking area at the eastern end of Balderhead Reservoir where there are wonderful views over the water to the surrounding countryside. You then head around Blackton Reservoir to the western end of Hury Reservoir, before returning to Balderhead via the Pennine Way. It's a fairly easy walk with some waterside sections and wonderful views of the beautiful Baldersdale. The area around Blackton Reservoir is a nature reserve so look out for a variety of wildlife on your walk.
If you would like to continue your walk you could follow the Pennine Way north to the nearby Grassholme Reservoir.
Barningham Trail24 miles (39 km)Travel through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park on this circular walk around the pretty village of Barningham in County Durham. The walk passes through the stunning Arkengarthdale - the northernmost of the Yorkshire Dales where there are stunning views of the Pennine Hills to enjoy. Scenery on the walk includes waterfalls, moors, becks and forests while there is also a visit to the village of Langthwaite which was used for the filming of several scenes in the television series All Creatures Great and Small.
This is a very challenging walk with some steep climbs, but with the reward of some simply stunning views over this beautiful area.
Brandon - Bishop Auckland Walk9 miles (14 km)This is a nice easy cycling and walking path that follows a disused railway line from Brandon, near Durham, to Bishop Auckland.
You will pass through the villages of Brancepeth and Willington, shortly before joining the River Wear for the final stretch into Bishop Auckland. There are fine views of the surrounding countryside and of the Newton Cap Viaduct just before entering Bishop Auckland.
Consett and Sunderland Railway Path28 miles (45 km)A walk along a disused railway path from Consett to Sunderland. The path starts at Consett and heads east towards the coast passing Stanley and Chester-Le-Street before joining the River Wear and following it to Sunderland harbour.
Cow Green Reservoir and Cauldron Snout10 miles (16 km)This walk takes you along the beautiful Cow Green Reservoir to the spectacular Cauldron Snout waterfall in the North Pennines AONB.
You start off at the car park at Cow Green Reservoir and head 2 miles south to the waterfall, passing the impressive Cow Green Dam on the way. Cauldron Snout is a very powerful waterfall on three levels. At 200 yards (180 m) long, it is reckoned to be the longest waterfall in England. At the waterfall you have the option of heading back to the car park or continuing along the Pennine Way and the River Tees towards Langdon Beck. The path runs right along the river to Sayer's Hill and Harwood Beck with plenty of wild moorland scenery to enjoy.
If you'd like to continue your walking in the area you could head to the nearby , Cross Fell for spectacular views over the Lake District and Solway Firth. If you continue east along the Pennine Way you will soon come to High Force Waterfall. It's one of the biggest waterfalls in England and a spectacular sight with the water dropping 70 feet (21m) into a plunge pool below.
Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park3 miles (5 km)This country park in Billingham is the perfect place for a peaceful afternoon stroll. The park consists of grassland, a lake, a series of ponds and a beck flows which around the boundary of the park. The lake is fantastic for birdwatching - look out for coot, pochard, swans, grebes, herons and the tufted duck. For cyclists National Cycle Route 14 runs through the park.
Deerness Valley Way8 miles (13 km)This cycle or walk along a dismantled railway line runs from Stonebridge to Crook through the beautiful Deerness Valley. The path passes the villages of Ushaw Moor and Esh Winning and and woodland at Holburn and Woodhouses Wood. There are also lovely waterside stretches along the River Deerness to enjoy.
Derwent Valley Walk11 miles (18 km)This lovely railway path runs from Swalwell, near Gateshead, to Consett alongside the River Derwent and is suitable for walkers and cyclists.
You will pass the villages of Rowlands Gill, Hamsterley and Ebchester on the way. The path also takes you through Derwent Walk Country Park and there is a woodland section at Byerside Wood. Also of interest is the National Trust owned Gibside near Rowlands Gill. This is well worth a visit with its 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve.
Durham Coastal Footpath11 miles (18 km)This walk follows a beautiful section of the Durham coast from Seaham to Crimdon Park, just outside Hartlepool.
The path starts by Seaham harbour and heads south to Easington Colliery, passing Shippersea Bay and the lovely Hawthorn Dene Nature Reserve on the way. This delightful reserve is run by the Durham Wildlife Trust and consists of woodland and limestone hay meadows.
The path continues south, passing Horden and Peterlee with more stunning cliff top views, before finishing at Crimdon Park just north of Hartlepool.
Grassholme Reservoir3 miles (5 km)This circular walk follows the footpath around this lovely reservoir in upper Teesdale. The reservoir is surrounded by the Lune Valley countryside and woodland. Grassholme Reservoir is located a few miles south of Middleton-in-Teesdale.
The Pennine Way runs past the reservoir so you could pick this up and head south to Balderhead, Blackton and Hury Reservoirs to extend your walk.
Great North Forest Heritage Trail65 miles (105 km)This circular cycle and walking route takes you through the countryside of this former mining area in Tyne and Wear. The trail passes Pelton, Bournmoor, Hetton-le-Hole, the Penshaw Monument and Witherwack. The route includes a section along the River Wear in Sunderland and a delightful coastal section visiting Whitburn and Marsden Bay. You will also visit Lumley Castle - a 14th century quadrangular castle at Chester-le-Street with lovely gardens. Also of interest is the Penshaw monument - a folly situated on on Penshaw Hill dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham. The video below shows the splendid views from this most beloved landmark which appears on the badge of Sunderland Football Club.
The route is waymarked with a yellow and green disc.
Hamsterley Forest9 miles (15 km)Hamsterley Forest is a great place for exciting mountain bike trails, leisurely family cycle rides or peaceful woodland walking.
There are three colour coded, way-marked mountain bike trails in the forest. The blue trail follows purpose built cycle tracks and the Bedburn Beck through the southern part of the forest at a leisurely pace. It's suitable for families and people looking for a gentle introduction to off road cycling. The red trail goes further into the forest and climbs to a point with fabulous views of the surrounding area before descending on an exciting single track running along Euden Beck. The black trail is the most severe trail and suitable for experienced mountain bikers. Cycle hire is available from the start of route below.
Walkers will find five way-marked trails of varying lengths and difficulty to follow. These include an easy, riverside stroll along Bedburn Beck and longer trails with climbs and a visit to Blackling Hole waterfall. The route mapped out below is suitable for both leisure walkers and cyclists looking for a fairly easy ride.
Hardwick Hall Country Park2 miles (3 km)This large ornamental park is located in Sedgefield in County Durham. Hardwick includes a 17-acre lake and a number of ornamental features, including temples, grottoes and follies. There are woodland trails and a lovely waterside path around the lake to enjoy. There is also a visitor centre, gift shop and cafe.
High Cup Nick9 miles (14 km)This spectacular glacial valley is one of the major highlights in the North Pennines AONB. The walk begins at the village of Dufton in the Eden Valley and begins by following the Pennine Way to Dod Hill and Peeping Hill. You continue your ascent to High Cup Nick where there is a waterfall and great views of the u-shaped glacial valley, the Eden Valley, Dufton Pike and Murton Pike.
The walk then descends through High Cup Gill where you will pass boulder fields on your way to High Cup Gill Beck. You continue along the beck through Middletongue Crag to Harbour Flatt where you join a country lane, taking you back to Dufton.
This is a special place with some spectacular geological wonders to enjoy. It is quite a steep and challenging climb but the footpaths are generally good for most of the walk.
An alternative route starts from Cow Green Reservoir, approaching High Cup from the east and following the Pennine Way to the summit.
If you would like to continue your walk you could head to the nearby Cow Green Reservoir and visit the wonderful Caulrdon Snout waterfall. You could also head to Cross Fell for more wonderful views of the area.
High Force Waterfall7 miles (11 km)Visit the spectacular Low Force and High Force waterfalls on this waterside walk in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The walk starts from the Bowlees Visitor Centre, where parking is available. A short walk from here takes you to the River Tees and the 18 foot (5.5m) Low Force Waterfall. Here you cross a bridge over the river and pick up the Pennine Way, following it west through riverside woodland to High Force Waterfall. It's one of the biggest waterfalls in England and a spectacular sight with the water dropping 70 feet (21m) into a plunge pool below.  From here you can return to the start point the same way or follow other bridleways and footpaths through the countryside.
If you'd like to extend your walk you could continue west along the Pennine Way to Cow Green Reservoir and Cauldron Snout waterfall.
Lanchester Valley Walk12 miles (19 km)This shared cycling and walking path uses the route of the railway originally built to carry iron ore to Consett Steelworks. The path runs from Durham to Consett passing Bearpark, Langley Park and Lanchester. Route highlights include the 13th century Beaurepaire Priory at Bearpark, Lanchester Roman Fort and some lovely views of the River Browney.
Pennine Way268 miles (431 km)This fabulous 268 mile path takes you through three of England's finest national parks. You start near Edale in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District and head north towards the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The final section takes you over Hadrian's Wall in the stunning Northumberland National Park before crossing the England-Scotland border and finishing in the village of Kirk Yetholm in Scotland.
Though the path is often challenging you're rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views in the country. Highlights on the path include the beautiful Malham Cove, Malham Tarn Estate and the stunning Kisdon Force waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. You'll also enjoy a waterside section along the River Tees in Teesdale which leads to Low Force Watefall and High Force Waterfall.
Raby Castle2 miles (3 km)Enjoy a lovely walk through the 200 acres of deer park and gardens surrounding this 14th century castle near Darlington. There are several well surfaced walking trails taking you through peaceful woodland, through the deer park and between Low Pond and High Pond. There are also the delightful 18th century ornamental Walled Gardens with Yew Hedges, trees, plants, fountains, statues and ornaments from the 18th and 19th century.
You can also enjoy a tour of the castle. With 600 years of history and fine collections of art and furniture it is a fascinating tour.
The castle is great for families too with a Woodland Adventure Playground for the children. There is also an excellent tea room.
Teesdale Way92 miles (148 km)Follow the River Tees from Dufton, in Cumbria, to Redcar on the North Yorkshire coast.
The first section takes you through the Pennine Hills, from Dufton to Forest-in-Teesdale. There is some spectacular scenery as you pass through Dufton Fell and then past Cow Green Reservoir before joining the River Tees near the village of Forest-in-Teesdale. This section is coincident with the Pennine Way National Trail and includes several beautiful waterfalls as shown in the video below.
From Forest-in-Teesdale you continue along the river passing Newbiggin, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Egglesdon Hall on your way to Barnard Castle. Here you will find two fascinating historical buildings in the 12th century Barnard castle and the ruined abbey at nearby Egglestone.
The next section runs from Barnard Castle to Darlington. This section very closely follows the banks of the River Tees, passing Whorlton and the Roman Fort at Piercebridge on the way.
From Darlington you continue east towards Stockton-on-Tees. This section takes you past Teesside Airport and the pretty town of Yarm.
The final section takes you through the industrial landscape of Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough, passing the impressive Infinity Bridge, Middlesbrough Docks and the Riverside Stadium before finishing on the outskirts of Redcar.
Tunstall Reservoir2 miles (3 km)Follow the footpath around this pretty reservoir and nature reserve near Wolsingham in Country Durham. It's a lovely place for an easy stroll with species rich woodland on the eastern side of the reservoir and a nature reserve at the northern end. Look out for a variety of birdlife including Great rested grebe, tufted duck, goosander, moorhen, coot, mallard and common sandpiper. Butterflies are also common in the reserve. Look out for admiral, small tortoiseshell, peacock and meadow brown.
The whole of this circular route is designed for walkers but cyclists can enjoy the lovely country lane on the western side of the reservoir too.
Waskerley Way10 miles (16 km)This is a shared cycling and walking path that follows the route of the old Stanhope and Tyne Railway line.
The path starts near Consett and runs to Weather Hill passing through woodland and open moorland. You will also pass the delightful Smiddy Shaw and Waskerley Reservoirs
Weardale Way77 miles (124 km)Follow the River Wear from the coast at Sunderland to Killhope Lead Mining Museum in the Pennines.
The walk can be split into the following stages:

Sunderland to Durham - Starting on the coast at Roker, follow the river past the Sunderland docks and through the city. You'll pass the Wearmouth Bridge and the Stadium of Light before heading into the countryside around Great Lumley and arriving at Durham soon after.

Durham to Bishop Auckland - After passing the magnificent Durham cathedral you continue along the river to Willington and then onto Bishop Auckland.

Bishop Auckland to Stanhope - A lovely section passing Marston Lake, Witton-le-Wear and Wolsingham

Stanhope to Killhope Lead Mining Museum - The final section throuh Rookhope and Weardale. This section takes you through the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Weardale with some truly stunning scenery and more riverside walking.

The walk is waymarked with a green and yellow disc.
Whitworth Hall Country Park3 miles (5 km)Explore 73 acres of parkland surrounding the Grade II listed stately mansion of Whitworth Hall in Spennymoor. You can hand feed the resident fallow deer, stroll around the ornamental lake and then follow the peaceful woodland walk. There is also a pretty Victorian garden containing England's most northerly vineyard.
The Weardale Way walking route runs along the River Wear just to the north of the park. This is a great option if you would like to continue your walk.
Wynyard Woodland Park2 miles (3 km)Formerly known as the Castle Eden Walkway this country park in Billingham has numerous woodland footpaths and a visitor centre.

 County Durham Walking Links
County Durham CCLots of informationon walking and cycling from the local council
North Pennines AONBLots of useful information for this beautiful region

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