Phoenix Row - Low Greenfields - Brusselton Incline - Shildon

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This is an historical railway walk tracing most of the connecting line leading to the world’s first locomotive-hauled, passenger-carrying railway journey in 1825. Wagons carrying both coal and people set off from Witton Park Colliery along a five-mile-long track, negotiating two hills where the wagons were hauled up and then lowered down the hills using stationary winding gear to arrive at Shildon, where they were coupled up to George and Robert Stephenson's pioneering 'Locomotion No.1' steam train for the historical journey to Stockton. Unfortunately, only 3.3 miles of the original line is still currently accessible, but plans are in place to open the entire length by 2025 to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of the event. When this does happen, the walk will be updated, so watch this space!

The intention of the walk is to park up at Shildon, then catch a bus to Bishop Auckland Bus Station, where you change buses to one that takes you to Phoenix Row, the start of the railway walk. From Phonix Row the route heads gently uphill through Low Etherley to the first ridge before descending to intersect a road. From here the walk makes an unavoidable diversion from the railway walk through fields before returning to the original route at West Auckland. The route then crosses the River Gaunless alongside the abutments of the bridge that was reputed to be the first iron rail bridge in the world. Flat walking follows before the walk takes another unavoidable detour as the route heads up Hagg Lane to re-intersect the original route. A little field-walking then takes you to Brusselton Incline and up to the second of the ridges, where there are several relics of the original railway including stone railway sleepers as well as part of the building at the top of the incline that housed the huge winding gear. From here the route descends gently off the ridge to the end of the walk at Shildon, where the coal wagons were coupled up to the waiting 'Locomotion No.1' steam train.

England - North England - Durham - Countryside

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Flowers, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Public Transport, River, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland

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10.6 Miles
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26.7 Miles
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27.4 Miles
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24.3 Miles