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Discover the hills & high places

The River Tees flows from the highest points of the Pennines, tumbling down stunning, ancient waterfalls, into dramatic gorges, growing, slowing and meandering through the hidden gem that is Teesdale. 

Visit Teesdale brings you the best accommodation, places to eat and drink and visitor attractions throughout the dale. 

Upper Teesdale lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a recognised Unesco Global Geopark.

The high heather moors are a paradise for walkers and wildlife watchers.  The upland hay meadows provide habitat for a diverse range of species and are some of the least improved land in County Durham.

Observe the the jagged, majestic Whin Sill one of the key geological features on Northern England.  Visible from many Teesdale locations. and over which the mighty Tees flows to the sea.

Upper Teesdale

Upper Teesdale is dramatic, majestic and much admired by all who visit.  The source of the river Tees is high on the iconic Cross Fell , highest point of the Pennines and the highest point in England outside of the Lake District.

Walkers enjoy but beware the helm wind which blows down from the heights. Be prepared for the sudden mists and the flat top of Cross Fell, benign on a fine day can catch unprepared walkers out.

High Cup Nick lies at the start of the Teesdale Way although strictly not in Teesdale, it does lead across the Tees watershed and I am including it here because everyone should walk it at least once in a lifetime.  Walkers are afforded some of the best views in England. The U shaped glaciated valley is the stuff of geographers dreams and catching sight of the Whin Sill adds to the drama.

Cauldron Snout, Cronkley Scar and Langdon Beck, dramatic, seemingly untamed landscapes with the infant river cascading and tumbling through a most magical Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  

The magnificent, ancient Whin Sill, Teesdale’s rock of ages can clearly be seen at various locations throughout Upper Teesdale.

Botanists, ornithologists, geologists and those who simply want to breathe fresh air, take in the spectacular panorama, you will all find what you seek in Teesdale. 

 

 

Upper Teesdale | Langdon Beck to Middleton-in-Teesdale

Langdon Beck to Middleton in Teesdale, encapsulates some of Teesdale’s best loved visitor attractions.

High Force is world renowned, an iconic waterfall which forcefully tumbles 21 metres into the gorge below.

Low Force, an animated force of nature, a tumbling sequence of cascading waterfalls.  Perhaps not as dramatic as High Force but is free to visit and has the added attraction of Wynch Bridge.

Between Langdon Beck and Middleton several small roads rise immediately from the river giving access, directly up, across the Pennines into Teessdale’s northern neighbour, Weardale.  Choose from Langdon Beck to St John’s Chapel, across Ireshope Moor and Chapelfell Top.  The gated, Newbiggin to Westgate, across Westernhope Moor.  Or the old roman road, the B6278 from Middleton-in -Teesdale, or Eggleston to Stanhope.  Across stunning Bollihope common, the upland paradise.

These are the roads for drivers. Some of my favourite roads and surely some of the most scenic in Britain.  Do take care, there are sudden drops, twists and do not attempt to use these passes across the Pennines in poor weather, in snow or when they are clearly closed. 

The Meandering Middle Stretches

Some of the most accessible walking in Teesdale is along the upper-middle  and middle stretches of the Tees, from Middleton-in-Teesdale to Piercebridge. You will discover beautiful views, peaceful walks, history in abundance …and great pubs, restaurant and tea shops!

The sleepy market town of Middleton-in-Teesdale is a far cry from the bustling town it once was as the headquarters of the London Lead Mining company, the worldwide leading producer of lead.

Barnard Castle, bustling market town with all amenities is the biggest town in Teesdale.  Well worth a visit, the ruins of the castle, was once owned by Richard III .

His emblem, a boar can be spotted at several locations around the town including St Mary’s Church and  there is one in the collection at the magnificient Bowes Museum .

Staindrop, a village 9 miles north-east of Barnard Castle boasts a wonderfully typical Durham village green but is home to Raby Castle, ancestral estate of Lord Barnard and a growing visitor attraction.  A visit to the walled gardens, the deer park and castle is highly recommended. If you are travelling past on the A688, pull over into a layby opposite and enjoy the view of the castle, dating back to medieval times and once home to the Rose of Raby, the only woman who has given birth to two Kings of England, Edward IV and Richard III.

The village of Whorlton with it’s historic suspension bridge enjoys another great village green and boasts beautiful  walks alongside the river on both banks.  Walk from Whorlton to the meeting of the waters, the rivers Greta and Tees for ever changing views.

Winston, perched above the river with superb views and walks in all directions from it’s much photographed bridge.

Take a trip to Ovington, Hutton Magna, Aldbrough St John and Forcett and discover peaceful villages nestled between the Tees and the hills.  Pretty pubs, cafe’s and seemingly endless miles of paths to walk on and lanes enjoyed by cyclists. Indeed between Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle and Richmond the miles of country lanes are a cyclists heaven.

To the north of the river, historic Gainford with it’s 12th century church, spa, cafe’s, pub and shop is worthy of inclusion on any visitors agenda.

Some of the most accessible walking in Teesdale is along the middle stretches of the Tees, from Barnard Castle to Piercebridge. You will discover beautiful views, peaceful walks, history in abundance …and great pubs, restaurant and tea shops!

The village of Whorlton with it’s very special suspension bridge and picture postcard perfection.

Winston, perched above the river with superb views and walks in all directions from it’s much photographed bridge.

Take a trip to Ovington, Hutton Magna, Aldbrough St John and Forcett and discover peaceful villages nestled between the Tees and the hills.  Pretty pubs, cafe’s and seemingly endless miles of paths to walk on and lanes enjoyed by cyclists. Indeed between Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle and Richmond the miles of country lanes are a cyclists heaven.

To the north of the river, historic Gainford with it’s 12th century church, spa, cafe’s, pub and shop is worthy of inclusion on any visitors agenda.

Staindrop boasts the magnificent Raby Castle. Fast becoming a major visitor centre with it’s medieval origins, history, deer park and increasingly major events and attractions, Raby Castle is a wonderful day out. 

Onwards to the Tees Valley

Both websites, Visit Teesdale and Made in Teesdale focus on Teesdale rather than the Tees Valley. The Tees Valley is generally considered to be the lower stretches of the River Tees, from Darlington to Teesmouth. This area has many attractions for visitors and no bird or wildlife watcher should miss a visit to the SSSI of South Gare or the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

Geologist? Botanist? Ornithologist? 

Teesdale is one of England’s hidden gems, with a fascinating history.

From geology, to botany, ornithology to the simple pleasures of admiring a beautiful view, taking a walk or enjoying a perfectly pulled pint.

No matter what your interests are beautiful Teesdale is the perfect place to visit.

Our Railway Heritage

The railway serviced Teesdale as far as Middleton in Teesdale. Sadly it fell victim to Dr Beecham’s mass rail closures and closed in the mid 1960’s.

In places the rail bed is now a footpath and with gentle gradients and firmness under foot, provides great space for walking, bird-watching and being away from the bustle of 21st century life.

How nice it is to imagine the chugging of the steam trains as they made their way along Teesdale delivering goods and passengers to the villages and providing a link with the market towns of Darlington and Barnard Castle. Read more about the history of this wonderful dale. 

Day trip or longer visit?

Why Visit Teesdale?

However long you have, take time to leave the car behind and discover the quietness, the peace and the secrets of Teesdale. 

What our visitors love about Teesdale

…it’s peace and tranquility

…the plaintive cry of the curlew over the fell

…the aerobatics of the Lapwing tumbling and falling towards the land

…the upland hay meadows

…the lek of the Black Grouse

…the blooming of the heather moorland

…the dramatic grandeur of the Whin Sill

…the archaelogical diversity

…the darkest of dark skies

…the perfect Spring Gentian

…walks beside the river

…our cosy pubs

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