This route combines country tracks across fields, through wooded areas and along sometimes muddy riversides. It leads walkers past Lumley castle on the way from Chester-le-Street to Great Lumley, then returns via the woods on the other side of the castle. The way is mostly flat with only one large climb which is gradual and a short sharp climb later on.
Circular | 11.5km (7.18 miles) | Difficulty: Easy
|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.|
It is recommended to start the route from Chester-le-Street due to the public transport links and parking available. There are plenty of places in the town to stop for refreshments either before embarking or when completing the walk.
1: From the Chester-le-Street High Street the route follows the road High Chare to a roundabout and along a footpath on the other side. This footpath will take walkers to a footbridge across the A167 and into Chester-le-Street’s riverside park. Walkers can make their way through the park however they like as there are several paths to reach the riverside path. They should follow this path South till it is about to pass under the road bridge where they will need to turn right to reach the roadside path.
2: From here walkers should use the roadside path to cross the bridge to the far side. Here the route heads through the Lumley castle golf club car park to the path that runs along the riverside which it then follows South for some distance. At one point the track crosses an access road next to a gate, walkers should continue straight across the road and follow the track as it climbs uphill into some fields. The route then sticks to the West side of the field as it continues South until the first hedge row is met. Walkers should follow the hedge row East (keeping to its North side) until they reach a style which they should cross. There is another stile to the right to cross, then the path continues South towards Great Lumley along the edge of the fields. Walkers should remember to look back along this section for great views of Lumley Park and Chester-le-Street.
3: After the track turns left and reaches Front Street of Great Lumley, walkers should head right and follow the street. There are several shops along this stretch for refreshments if needed. After passing a school on the right the route heads left up Scorer’s Lane.
4: The route follows this lane for some distance on the roadside path until a roundabout is reached. Walkers should take care crossing here to the right due to the speed of the traffic and head down Forge Lane. Along here walkers can visit The Smiths Arms, a quirky pub selling real ale, for refreshments. The lane along here snakes under the A1 and over the Lumley Park Burn.
5: There are some sections without roadside paths so walkers should take care here. After crossing the river on the road there are two flights of stairs to the left. Walkers should take the rightmost of these to the top. At the road at the top the route goes left for a short distance before following the first track to the left which will lead walkers over the A1 on a footbridge. Walkers should follow this track as it leads into the Lumley Park Woods. The route sticks to this track all the way through the woods, sticking to the North side of the Lumley Park Burn.
6: Eventually the track comes to an end when it reaches another track, here walkers should turn right and head up out of the woods and across the field towards the gate. On the other side of this gate is another footbridge across the M1 which the route follows till it reaches Chester Road.
7: Walkers should cross the road here with care to reach the roadside path on the other side which they can then follow down Newbridge Bank. They should stay on this path till they are on the other side of the Wear, then they will need to take care again when crossing back over the road to the footpath on the other side next to the bridge over the river.
8: From here the route follows the path up river alongside the West side of the Wear back into Chester-le-Street. Walkers should stay on the river’s side till they reach the park. Here they can head back to the high-street a number of different ways, such as cutting right as soon as they reach the park (after crossing a small footbridge over Cong Burn where it joins the Wear), heading under the A167 and into the town. Or alternatively walkers could continue to the footbridge into the park crossed at the start of the route to cross back into the town.
The biggest challenge on this route is mud. During the winter some parts will take time and care to cross due to the mud but none of it should become impassable. The route could be followed clockwise as opposed to the directions provided – heading this way will result in the climb being spread through-out the walk.
Route adapted from the Walking in County Durham