Piercebridge - Ovington - Eppleby - Piercebridge

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Piercebridge - Barforth Hall - Winston Gate - Ovington - Caldwell - Eppleby - Piercebridge

Piercebridge lies on the site of a Roman settlement that probably came into existence to guard the bridge carrying Dere Street across the River Tees. There are extensive remains of the fort just to the east of the road running through the village and they are well worth a visit, time allowing, at the end of the walk.

The route alternates between Durham and North Yorkshire with the terrain at most times being fairly flat. From the Durham side of the River Tees at Piercebridge the walk crosses the river into the hamlet of Cliffe in North Yorkshire. Next to the bridge in Cliffe is The George Hotel, made famous as the home of the grandfather's clock that was the inspiration for the well-known ditty of the same name. The story goes that during the nineteenth century the hotel was owned and managed by two brothers who had an upright longcase clock in the entrance of the hotel. The clock had the reputation of keeping perfect time, until that is, one of the brothers died, after which it alarmingly began to lose time. When the other brother died at the age of ninety the clock stopped altogether. As a mark of respect for the brothers the clock was never repaired. In 1875, while visiting the hotel, an American songwriter heard the tale of the clock and wrote the famous song 'My Grandfather's Clock' that was based on the story. The song was so popular that longcase clocks became known thereafter as grandfather clocks.

After passing through a delightful wood high above the river with great views looking across to Piercebridge, the walk passes by the historical Cliffe Hall. From Piercebridge to Ovington the route mirrors the meandering path of the Tees as it runs south of the river along surfaced lanes, stony farm tracks and fields. On the way the walk intersects the ruins of the 12th Century St Lawrence's Chapel, close to the hamlet of Barforth, mentioned in the Domesday Book as Bereford.

From Winston Bridge to Ovington involves road-walking on roads without pavements. The pleasant village of Ovington is known as the Maypole Village due to the fifty-foot-high maypole sited on the village green. This is likely to be the only village in the North East with a permanent maypole. The village pub in Ovington also has the unusual name of The Four Alls. The pub sign explains the meaning of the name as it reads: 'I govern all', 'I fight for all', 'I pray for all' and 'I pay for all'.

From Ovington the route swings east for the return leg of the walk, passing along lanes and through fields with a little road-walking. On the way the walk intersects the pleasant small villages of first Caldwell and then Eppleby, with its large village green. The final leg from Eppleby is almost all flat field-walking, with a short section on a very quiet minor surfaced road with hardly any traffic.

England - North England - Durham - Teesdale


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Wildlife, Woodland

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17.4 Miles
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