The Teesdale Way explores the course of the River Tees for exactly 160km, from its source on the high moors of Cross Fell in the Cumbrian North Pennines to its outlet at Middlesbrough on the north east coast. This is a delightful walk through unmatched river scenery including historic sites, SSSI's, pretty villages, woods, rolling farmland and wetlands. Passing as it does from remote Pennine moorland through traditional dales towns and finally to Teesside's industrial heartland, the Teesdale Way gives a facinating cross-section of the region's social, cultural and economic life.
At the start of the walk the young, but vigorous river passes through spectacular scenery including whinstone cliffs at Falcon Clints, limestone ridges and wild heather moorlands. The turbulent waters cascade down dramatic waterfalls at High Cup Nick, Cauldron Snout and High Force, the largest waterfall in England and with a 70ft fall. Downstream from Low Force cascades the river begins to calm and passes under County Bridge at Middleton-in-Teesdale as a broad smooth flowing water course between tree lined banks. Not far downstream is the confluence with the River Lune and at Eggleston Burn there are fine views and interesting ancient cultivation terraces. After the pretty farming village of Romaldkirk are the curious 'Fairy Cupboard' miniature river-cut caves and the superb viewpoint at Piercy Myre Rock. If you are travelling in May the Great Wood bluebells provide a stunning carpet of blue mist.
Shortly after the market town of Barnard Castle is the Meeting of the Waters, a lovely location at the confluence of the River Greta. At Piercebridge, where there are the remains of a Roman fort, Dere Street once crossed the River Tees. Close to Neasham, the Sockburn Meander or 'peninsula' was once home to Viking raiders. Down river from Yarm the Way passes through the industrial towns of Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesborough. This section of the Way provides a complete contrast, but provides a facinating insight into the shipbuilding and engineering heritage of the area as well as more recent works such as the Tees Barrage. The final stretch along the southern side of the estuary crosses Coatham Marshes where redshank, curlew and lapwing can be seen an on to South Gare Breakwater where seabirds and grey seals can be spotted.
As well as being a classic walk in its own right the Teesdale Way links with the Pennine Way to form part of a much wider network, the E2 European Long Distance Path from Harwich to Stranraer. The Tees Link (see Information Leaflet below) joins the Teesdale Way with the Cleveland Way providing another vital connection in this network.
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