Hamsterley - Harperley Hall - Witton-le-Wear

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Hamsterley - Harperley Hall - Witton-le-Wear

An exploration of the rolling countryside around the lower reaches of Weardale, crossing and re-crossing the River Wear.

From Hamsterley to the footbridge over the River Wear, the terrain is undulating through fields, woods and along farm tracks. East of the river the route almost immediately intersects the Weardale Railway line. Although there is little to show for it now, a station complete with stationmaster's house, waiting-room, platforms and signal box was built here in 1861, originally to serve as a private station for the nearby Harperley Hall and Estates. During WW2 the station was used to transport low-risk Italian and German POWs to the nearby Harperly POW Camp. (The camp, which still exists to this day, is now a museum). The station and signal box officially closed in the 1950s. The railway, built in 1847 was originally a branch line running from Bishop Auckland and terminating at Eastgate. The line is now privately owned by British American Railway Services and is operated for both freight and passenger services.

From the river the walk passes both Old Harperley Hall and New Harperley Hall (new, although built in 1785!). The latter is now one of the leading forensic police colleges in the country. The route continues to Witton-le-Wear, passing through mainly open fields on the way.

Just south of Witton the route re-crosses both the railway line and the River Wear followed by a little road walking. The final leg of the walk involves a climb up from the valley through a field a wood and a lane to return to the loftily sited Hamsterley village.

England - North England - Durham - Wear Valley

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Great Views, Pub, River, Wildlife, Woodland
21/02/2017 - ian langlands

At waymark 8 you should bear left down the field to the ladder stile, not right.Otherwise a great walk.

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12.4 Miles
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