Ebchester and Blackhall Mill
Ebchester and Blackhall Mill is a 7 mile circular walk which takes in Ebchester and Milkwellburn Wood. It starts at Blackhall Mill and heads up the hill towards The Derwent Walk. It then follows the railway path and then down through Ebchester, close to the remnants of Vindomora Roman Fort. The last part of the walk is through Park Wood and Milkwellburn Wood, back to Blackhall Mill.
|Hills:||Some low hills|
|This walk is on OS map 307 Consett & Derwent Reservoir. Click on map image to buy this map.|
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Blackhall Mill to Ebchester
On leaving Blackhall Mill, we will follow a path along the river and then join a byway that leads up to the Derwent Walk. We follow the railway path until we take a path down to Ebchester.
The Derwent Walk
The Derwent Walk is a multi-use path that follows the old trackbed of the disused Derwent Valley Railway. This railway operated from 1867, until its closure in 1963. It stretches over about 11 miles, between Swalwell and Consett, over a very scenic route. As a result, The Derwent Walk is one of the most popular walks in the North East.
Ebchester and Vindomora
The name Ebchester is derived from the name Ebba and the word chester. Supposedly, St Ebba founded a nunnery here in 660 AD by , hence the Eb of Ebchester. Chester is the roman word for fortification. The fortification is, of course, the Roman camp of Vindomora, upon which the current village was constructed.
Remnants of the Roman fort are still visible in the village. However, much of the stone from the fort has been used in the buildings of Ebchester village. St Ebba’s Parish Church is a good example of a building constructed from the Vindamora stone.
Park Wood and Milkwellburn Wood
The main part of the walk is through Park Wood and Milkwellburn Wood. It follows the Mill Burn up to Lead Lane. We will cross this lane and enter Meirs Wood. On leaving this wood we will walk up to Hollings Farm and along the road to Hollings Hill Quarry. After passing the quarry we will enter Milkwellburn Wood.
Durham Wildlife Trust manage Milkwellburn Wood. The wood is open to the public all year round and is very popular with dog walkers. It was once dominated by ancient oak, which have slowly been overtaken by coniferous trees. The wood consists of steep sided gills and gullies, home to a range of flora and fauna, including many mosses and ferns.
The Trust are planning to return the wood back to native woodland, as it originally was. This involves the removal of conifers to allow native species to grow in their place.
Back to Blackhall Mill
Throughout the woods we will see various areas of woodland and streams. We will also see various man-made structures on our route. These are a result of the industrial history of the area.
At the exit of Milkwellburn Wood at Blackhall Mill, we will follow the river back to the Riverview Bakery for tea.
See you there
Julie & Martin x
Strolls with Poles – Nordic Walking for Fun and Fitness