Barnard Castle & Teesdale Way – 5th October 2019

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Us on a bridge over the River Greta

When we checked out this walk from Barnard Castle and along the Teesdale Way back in April, we knew that it had to go onto the programme. It was lovely and varied but never straying too far from the River Tees. It also had the bonus of allowing us to visit Egglestone Abbey on the way back.

The start

We started by parking at Bowes Museum and then walking into town. Some of us had to go buy some lunch for later. This was mainly due to the fact that the lovely pub, at Whorlton, which we had promoted in the walk description, had now closed.

Lunch in hand, we set off towards Demesnes, a little area of grassland by the river. This is where we joined the Teesdale Way.

Walking along the Tees

Before long we reached the old mill buildings beside a natural weir that spans the entire width of the river. This weir was the reason the mill is situated here. These buildings are now private residences.

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The old mill buildings from the riverbank opposite

The river is wide and calm at this point. The path is also easy. It stays this way all the way round. There are also expanses of pasture where cattle graze.

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The path along the river

A little further and there is a view of Egglestone Abbey across the river. This would be somewhere we would visit on the way back up the other bank of the river.

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View over the Tees to Egglestone Abbey

The pasture quickly turns to woodland, as we get further from Barnard Castle. The river also changes. It narrows and runs faster here. The rocks in the river form rapids that are and attraction to adventurous kayakers.

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A rapid on the River Tees just South of Barnard Castle

As we exited the Tees Bank Plantation, just down river from Abbey Bridge, we enter more fields. This time they were being grazed by sheep, rather than cattle. We crossed the fields and headed down to the Meeting of the Waters.

Lunch at the Meeting of the Waters

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Lunch at the Meeting of the Waters

The Meeting of the Waters is where the River Greta joins the River Tees. The Greta has its source up on Bowes Moor. The geology that has formed here makes it a lovely place to sit and enjoy view. There is even a permissive path down to this spot and a stone seat, showing how popular it is.

We sat and had lunch here. We could see the effect of the recent rainfall, as the river level was clearly higher than when first came here. It was difficult to drag ourselves away but we had to move on.


The journey into Whorlton is along the edges of fields. Remarkably, we found a sweet chestnut tree. This was the first one some of us had ever seen. Maybe we’d seen them before but didn’t recognise them. Regardless, we enjoyed discovering it.

On reaching the outskirts of Whorlton village, we admired the lovely gardens. Also, we found another plant that none of us had seen before. John informed us that it was a wineberry. It is an introduced species, similar to a raspberry.

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Whorlton Church

We could have walked straight down to Whorlton Bridge but decided to take a stroll through the village. By the old church hall there was a tree with some fruit on. Initially, we thought it was a plum tree but on further investigation it turned out to be an apple tree of some sort. We can say that the fruit was sweet and delicious.

The path leads through the churchyard and back towards the river. We followed it to Whorlton Bridge. This is a chain link suspension bridge, with a wooden roadbed. Recently, the bridge has been closed to traffic, as it’s no longer safe for cars.

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Whorlton Bridge

Mortham Tower

From Whorlton Bridge, we climbed up high above the river on the South bank. and headed towards Mortham Tower, near Rokeby. This is where Martin demonstrated Nordic skipping and running and, soon after, developed a rather painful calf strain. There was still a couple of miles to go, so we just carried on.

Egglestone Abbey

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Egglestone Abbey

Soon after Mortham Tower we reached Egglestone Abbey. Here we could explore the remains of the Abbey while Martin rested his leg and Julie massaged it.

Back to Barnard Castle

The last part was simply over fields back to the caravan site at Barnard Castle. The route goes straight through the site and emerges by the river, where we cross the footbridge back into Barnard Castle. We searched for a tea room that was still open and found Clarendon’s. A nice cuppa was very welcome and the cakes were great.

Good to see you all on this one and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Julie and Martin x

If you liked the Barnard Castle and Teesdale Way walk why not take a look at our other walks.

Gallery – Barnard Castle and the Teesdale Way

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