Page Bank - Brancepeth - Holywell - Page Bank

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Page Bank was once a thriving mining community with a population of more than 1,000. Typical of many villages in the Durham coalfields, it comprised several streets of two-up and two-down terraced houses with a school, two Methodist chapels, an institute, a post office and shops and it mainly existed to house the workforce of the local pit and brickworks. The decline of the village started in 1931 with the closing of the 76-year-old mine that at its peak employed over 700 people. Then in the early 1950s, Page Bank was included on a list of County Durham villages that were categorised as 'D' Settlements, meaning that mainly through the general contraction of coalmining in the area, no future development would be permitted in those villages and that property would be systematically acquired and demolished and the population relocated to new housing. By 1967, with the population down to just 200, the final nail in the coffin came on the fateful night of November 5th that year, when the River Wear burst its banks and terminally undermined the foundations of most of the houses, resulting in eventual demolition. Today the vast majority of the village has been reclaimed by nature and only a handful of houses remain as a legacy to the once flourishing community. (Of the 121 villages that were identified for Category 'D' treatment, only three were fully demolished before the policy was scrapped in 1977. Unfortunately for Page Bank, nature intervened before this particular village could be reprieved).

From Page Bank the walk passes along wide lanes and farm tracks through the pleasant countryside of the middle Wear Valley to intersect the Brandon to Bishop Auckland Railway Path. A long, flat, well-maintained railway walk follows, that for much of its length passes through attractive, tree-lined cuttings. Near the outskirts of Brandon the walk leaves the railway path and descends very gently a surfaced road with barely any traffic, to reach the tiny, serene hamlet of Holywell, before passing through a sunken, leafy lane and emerging at the River Wear. The walk concludes with a final 1.8-mile ramble back to Page Bank through the fields adjacent to the river on a section of the Weardale Way Long-Distance Footpath.

This is a walk suitable for most seasons of the year, although the final section through fields next to the river can be muddy after prolonged rain.

England - North England - Durham - Wear Valley

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Mostly Flat, Pub, River, Tea Shop, Wildlife, Woodland

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5 Miles
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21.8 Miles
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21.8 Miles
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28.6 Miles