Bow Lees to Cronkley Scar

This route travels along the Tees from Low Force to High Force then leads over and back around Cronkley Scar.

Circular  |  19.6km (12.2 miles)  |  Difficulty: Medium

Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.

This route does require some of retracing of steps later on but does make the walk a bit more straight forward.  Sections of route could be replaced with section from this other High Force route.

1: The starting point of this walk is at the Bowlees car park.  Its a straight forward walk from the car park’s bridge, through Bowlees, over the main road and down to the swing bridge across the Tees.

2: The route takes walkers right, along the Tees and past low force.

3: Eventually the route passes High Force.  Walkers along this section of the route will be able to see a large mining site on the right and at one point the beautiful Bleabeck force on the left.  The route carries on along the path and heads up the eventual foothill.

4: At the top of the hill the path splits (between the Pennine way stone markers).  Walkers can choose either left or right as the route loops round and returns to this point.  The left hand route is suggested as it takes walkers straight up to the top of Cronkley Scar.  Its steep but the path is good.

5: At the top walkers can look back and view the entire valley.  Also looking ahead gives views of Cow Green and its dam.  From here the route carries on following the path past the cordoned off preservation areas towards the descent.   When descending walkers should keep to the wall on the left to make the stream crossings easier in wet conditions.

6:  Walkers will now find themselves opposite the Falcon Clints on the other side of the Tees (a walk along the bottom of Falcon Clints is outlined in this post: Langon Beck to Cauldron Snout).  From here the route follows the path which heads towards the river then veers right.

7: For the next section of the walk the path can appear to disappear in some places.  Walkers should keep as close to the river side as possible when unsure of the where the path .  After a while the path becomes clearer and better maintained.  After some distance beneath the cliffs of Cronkley Scar the landscape then opens out to farm land.  Walkers should keep by the river till they reach a farm shed.

8: Here the route passes through two gates and keeps to the right of the next field.  The field here is sometimes full of cows and bulls so walkers may need cut diagonally across the field to avoid them.  This detour leds towards the bridge which crosses the Tees into Forest In Teesdale.  Here the route rejoins the Pennine Way and follow the road to the right of the bridge as it meanders its way up the small bank to a farm.

9: As walkers reach the farm they should go right, there’s a signpost indicating where  to go which leads to a path that skirts round the edges of the farm.  The path will then take walkers uphill through a small valley.  At the top of the valley’s slope looking back allows walkers to see the confluence of the Tees and Langdon Beck.  From here the route follows the path back to the two Pennine Way markers mentioned earlier.  From here walkers simply retread the earlier sections of route in reverse down towards High Force and back to the car park.

The last section is a long stretch of retreading.  However, this is a very vibrant stretch of the Tees and is well deserving of a second look .  Be warned this is a long walk and the path is quite often uneven so it will take a toll on walkers legs, however all the amazing views along the way make it well worth it.

Adapted from the Teesdale Way


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