Another day, another reccy. This was for a proposed Durham County walk – probably in early November when the autumn leaves are very autumny. Like leaves.
This time, Bruno came too, and there was only one field of suckler cows – and they failed to notice us. So that was OK.
I put the knipemobile in somebody’s parking spot in Middleton in Teesdale and wandered up the Stanhope road, turning off into the Hudeshope woods. This little side valley has public footpaths, but it also has some very nice permissive paths – walks, really, provided by the Raby estate, which is the principal landowning estate in Teesdale on the North side of the river.
So, we followed the King’s Walk which does a loop through the woods and ends up at the end of the tarmac road close to some old limekilns.
My proposed route then continues through more woodland and pastures and reaches the main Hudeshope lead mining grounds. This is another one of those areas devastated by mining activity. I had intended for the walk to visit Coldberry mine, which has a restored mine shop (dormitory), offices and stables. But the place has been vandalised and the doors left open for the sheep to get in. This results in the raising of the floor level due to large deposits of sheep shit. There was an abandoned sleeping bag and a lot of litter and graffiti. Too depressing for a DCC walk, which are supposed to be fun fun fun… Its not even any good as a shelter if its raining, so I’m not going there. Glad I did a reccy.
The return (downhill) route goes through two flowery meadows of the very special Northern meadows type. One of the key plants in these meadows is the Yellow Rattle. When the Yellow Rattle rattles, its time to make hay. Its not rattling yet, so if you want to see Northern hay meadows in full thrash, best go now.
The route returns to the Hudeshope woodlands – lots of orchids today - and follows the river, ending up, in a narrow and unlikely passageway into Middleton. Bruno had a little paddle in the beck and destroyed some sticks. There are some quite deep pools in the beck – I shouldn’t wonder if there aren’t salmon running upstream at the right time. Today, there were lots of kids in helmets and yellow suits jumping down the waterfalls. What fun, wot?
I did 6.5 miles. The DCC walk will be just 6. Its a good walk and I’m happy with it, so I’ll submit it for the Winter walks programme. Bruno liked it too, specially the paddling in the beck.