Sunderland Bridge - High Butterby - Shincliffe Village

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The walk starts from the ancient Sunderland Bridge (not to be confused with nearby Sunderland Bridge Village). The old bridge, which includes sections of 14th Century stonework, straddles the River Wear just north of Croxdale and once carried traffic from what was originally the A1 London to Edinburgh Great North Road until its closure in the 1950s. From the bridge the route follows the delightful wide, tree-lined driveway that leads to Croxdale Hall, the family seat of the influential Salvin family since the early 15th Century. Adjacent to the hall on the route of the walk is the lovely old 12th Century chapel that originally served the local community but is now the private chapel of the Salvin family.

The walk then continues along a wide dirt track along the edge of both the Croxdale and Butterby Woods before descending through Shincliffe Wood to intersect the River Wear. A riverside walk follows through woods and open fields before the route briefly re-enters Shincliffe Wood and passes Shincliffe Hall before emerging along a hedged lane into the ancient village of Shincliffe.

From Shincliffe the walk once again follows the route of the River Wear as it skirts the Durham University playing-fields. Crossing the river delivers you into Maiden Castle Woods, from where a short but unmissable diversion takes you up to a rarely visited hill overlooking Durham City to survey the cathedral and castle from a seldom-seen viewpoint.

Returning to the woods, the walk then enters the magnificent old Great High Woods bordering the extensive grounds of Houghall Agricultural College. The Great High Wood, comprising mainly beech and oak trees, was endowed to the university by the Bishops of Durham. The walk emerges from the woods onto the line of an old colliery railway before ascending to open fields.

The final section of the walk passes through lush meadows and along a riverside path before intersecting a main road for the last easy lap back to Sunderland Bridge.

England - North England - Durham - Countryside


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Castle, Church, Flowers, Gift Shop, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
22/07/2020 - Tonya Marston

Did this walk in dry warm conditions. Route popular with walkers, runners, cyclists and fishermen. Nicely varied walk . couldn’t follow the instructions between 16 and 20, not sure if this is because the instructions were not detailed enough or because the nature reserves and tree plantations in that section have been developed since the walk was written. Did not ruin our enjoyment of a great walk though.

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