Langdon Beck - Cauldron Snout - Widdybank Fell - Langdon Beck

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Langdon Beck - Cow Green Reservoir - Cauldron Snout Waterfall - Widdybank Fell - Langdon Beck

The hamlet of Langdon Beck nestles next to the B6277 road in the upper reaches of Teesdale in the extreme west of County Durham. The walk starts from the Langdon Beck Hotel and heads along a quiet, surfaced road followed by a riverside track, before rising sharply through rough and marshy fields to re-intersect the B6277. The route then turns north-west up the valley that is Harewood Dale, passing through fields and along quiet minor roads sandwiched between the main road and Harewood Beck.

A tiring pull up out of the valley on a good, wide track is followed by a stretch of flat road-walking before heading south on an old miners' track, to continue on the circumnavigation of Herdship Fell. The terrain to the west is the wildest and highest of the fells in the North Pennines and includes the three consecutive peaks of Great Dunn Fell with its distinctive golf ball-shaped radar station, Little Dunn Fell and the mighty, flat-topped Cross Fell, the highest point on the Pennine Chain at 2,930 feet. This is an area so remote and desolate that the sparsely populated, derelict stone buildings that are a throwback to the lead mining era of the 18th and 19th Centuries are the only evidence of any habitation.

Where the broad, stony track swings left (south-east), Cow Green Reservoir, fed by the infant River Tees, comes into view against a backdrop of the dominant Mickle Fell, the highest point in County Durham. The track continues along the southern slopes of Herdship Fell high above the reservoir, to emerge into the reservoir car park and viewing area.

From the car park the route heads south down the side of the reservoir on a good surfaced track to enter the Moor House National Nature Reserve, the largest and most important upland nature reserve in the country. The track passes the huge concrete and earth dam and soon arrives at the spectacular Cauldron Snout Waterfall, where the River Tees tumbles down the longest cascade in England over a series of eight ledges. From here the walk joins the famous Pennine Way long-distance walk. Great care is needed when descending the cascade as the rocks are often wet with spray.

The Pennine Way then closely follows the route of the Tees through the area known as Falcon Clints as it swings around the southern flanks of Widdybank Fell, a major area of the nature reserve. The path crosses marshy areas on duck-boards as well as negotiating tricky boulder-hopping over long sections of the riverside path.

The track finally emerges from the deep-sided gorge formed by the Widdybank and Cronkley Fells into very pleasant, flat, riverside terrain near Widdybank Farm. The final lap of the walk leaves behind the river and crosses marshy fields to intersect Harewood Beck, where the route bids farewell to the Pennine Way before concluding with a short riverside walk back to the Langdon Beck Hotel.

England - North England - Durham - North Pennines

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Lake/Loch, Moor, Nature Trail, Pub, River, Toilets, Waterfall

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