The day started out wet at the Derwent Walk. It would continue in the same vein. However, we were all determined to be outside regardless.
We started the day in the usual way by having breakfast at the Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre. The Centre only recently opened and, as well as providing information about the history and heritage of the area, has a very nice restaurant.
On leaving the Heritage Centre, we headed towards the River Derwent. We crossed at the Rainbow Bridge. One of the best viewpoints of the River. This led us over to Clockburn Lonnen, an ancient track that was once the main highway from the North to Durham. From here we climbed up onto the old railway line.
Right across the railway line we saw the sign for Hollinside Manor. This is a 13th Century Manor House and is an Ancient Monument. The ruins of the house are interesting. An added bonus is that there is an amazing view of the railway and the Nine Arches Viaduct. From here it is easy to imagine the railway as it was, with steam engines pulling minerals up the line to Consett.
We returned back down to the railway and followed it up to Rowlands Gill. This is the end of the first part of the Derwent Walk and as far as we were going. After a short rest and a look at the information board, we headed back the way we had walked.
Thornley Visitor’s Centre
For a little variation we diverted into Thornley Woods. There are some interesting wooden sculptures carved out of dead tree stumps. The most of these impressive is the otter.
While we were in the area we decided that refreshments were in order. The Thornley Woods Visitor Centre was convenient and got us out of the rain for a short period.
Refreshed, we followed the path back down to the Rainbow Bridge. We crossed it for a second time and then joined the railway again. This time we went North towards Swalwell.
We crossed the river again, near the cricket ground. This path took us to the Dam Head. Here we were rewarded with a view of a rather large Heron on the far side of the Dam.
The Land of Oak and Iron
It was only a short walk further, back to The Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre and a welcome cuppa.
A wet but wonderful walk. See you on the next one.
Julie and Martin