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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Hudeshope Reccy and the Crook Alps (aka Park Wall Opencast Mine)

a steep bit in the woods

Next Friday is the day for leading a Durham CC guided walk “Walking with Kings”, so yesterday, in cold sunshine, me and Superdawg did the reccy for this.

The title comes from a permissive path in the woods at Hudeshope (compliments of Raby Estate) which forms the King’s Walk – a pleasant, if muddy splodge through the woods. It was muddy the last time I did this – last November, and it was pretty muddy today. But then it’s been chucking it down for several weeks, culminating in a bit of a climax over the last few days which resulted in the becks being high yesterday, but not quite in spate. The whole of the Hudeshope woodland is Raby estate land and is accessible to the general public. Which is good.

hudeshope

I reccied a couple of escape4 routes on to the road which circles the woodland because there’s a beck at the “top” end of the walk which could be tricky to cross if it was in flood. I’ll make that judgement on the day based on the river level in Middleton in Teesdale, to avoid back-tracking. Yesterday, the crossing was just OK. Bruno enjoyed it.

Basically, the walk is fine, though and is graded “medium” although feedback from the Council (they give feedback from walkers based on what people say on pre-paid cards that are dished out by stewards) – feedback said that some people thought the walk should be “hard”. But it was muddy, and, it’ll probably be muddy next Friday. Ho hum…

hudeshope reccy 009

a new hole

I also noticed a new hole – a wet level with a surface collapse around it. maybe this has just uncovered due to Wednesday/Thiursday’s floods… who knows… it looks a bit wet and scary inside..  just the kind of place old blokes with not much to live for any more might have a little excitement….  maybe…

park wall mine

And today, based on comments by Yasmine, I directed my daily doggy walk to investigate the paths affected by the Park Wall opencast mine – a huuuge hole complete with massive spoil heaps that will be working for the next couple of years or so, providing high quality coking coal for the steel industry in Lincolnshire.  This whole area has been mined in the past and is riddled with old tramways and so on, and has been opencasted more than once in the past. The result of this is a landscape which is smoother than it should be. On the upside, old spoil heaps and tips, which were massive, have been landscaped away and extensive woodlands planted and footpaths laid out.

new woodland plantations

This process has started at Park Wall and there are new plantations filing in the gaps between the hawthorn hedges and, in ten years time, the new tips and spoil will have disappeared. In the meantime, it seems that its not possible to penetrate the paths and bridleways around the site. Well, it wouldn’t be would it..?  There are no “public footpath” signs around the place and most stiles look a bit tired. Its very difficult to know where its possible to walk. I think I should ask the rights of way peeps for more info about this, really…

Norrabad dog walk, though……

Right- time to boil an egg for some Cumbrian walkies tomorrow..

 

4 comments:

Dawn said...

Looks as if there is some good walking country. Beware troglodytes before exploring strange holes in the ground!!!??

Mike Knipe said...

Ah yes, the Trogs - reminds me of a party in Earby in 1968...

Yasmine Hamid said...

I'm surprised Park Wall has stumped you Mike - I would have thought you'd have had the whole place remapped by now !!

Some of the paths are obviously closed (as there's a ruddy great hole in the ground and 'danger' signs and barbed wire) but I know there are some new paths on the North side. I just can't bring myself to walk all the way round to see where the new paths exit the site on the Crook side.

I emailed the Rights of Way peeps at the council but didn't get a response. Maybe a follow up email is needed...

Enjoy your walk with kings.

Mike Knipe said...

Yasmine - I may have been a bit diffident about approaching the huuuge chasm over the barbed wire and danger signs. You should get replies from rights of way. Have a look at the DCC website for contact names (if you haven't already done that!) I'm off on a long walk shortly, but I'll try this again when I get back.