A leisurely climb of the hills overlooking the village of Wolsingham which can offer stunning views of Weardale on a clear day. The route mostly comprises of crossing fields and following riverside paths but also includes some woodland and moorland tracks too.
Circular | 10.2km (6.34 miles) | Difficulty: Easy to 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.|
The route starts from the free car park in Wolsingham that sits next to the bridge over Waskerley Beck but could be started from anywhere in the village which is easily accessible through bus or the Weardale railway when it is running. The route can be hard to follow in places with lots of field crossings, relying on you spotting the next gate or stile in the first half (though there are plenty of yellow arrow markers along the way to help you keep on track). Also muddy conditions can make some parts of the route much more difficult than they would be otherwise.
1: For the first part of this route head right when leaving the car park and follow the road into the village centre. Once there head Westward along Front Street to a road named The Causeway, follow this road until it leads you over the River Wear.
2: Continue following the road as it crosses the Weardale railway line and winds uphill. Immediately after passing a private road on your left look for a footpath through the wooded area, follow it until it leads you into a field. Head South East, aiming to head between the two electricity pylons. From between the pylons you should see a stile on the Southern fence – cross it and continue South Easterly across the next field towards the gate in the corner. Already at this point you’ll have climbed enough to get a good view over the village of Wolsingham (when the weather is clear). Follow the road past the farm until you reach a gate on your left.
3: Go through the gate towards the farmyard, but at the opening to the yard look towards the beck on your right, you should spot a small stone bridge and path down to it. Cross this bridge and head South through the next field, heading down a track on the far side which puts you between the farm houses on your right, and animals sheds on your left. Head diagonally across the next field, just after halfway look for a gate with a marker on your left. Go through this gate and head straight forwards in this next field to the ruined buildings. Go though the right hand gate head leading you into the ruins, then go through the next gate on your right again to head further uphill. Follow the track through this next field until it leads to another field. In the next field keep to the track on your left, rather than following the one up hill. Keep following this track, keeping the stone wall to your immediate left until you get to the next field, where again the route keeps to the same track heading forwards.
4: You should now see the abandoned building of Crowsfield to the left – there is a stile here to cross on the left. Follow the markers around the abandoned building then follow the track Westwards as it skirts the top of this field and the next. In the field following this look for the stile to your right, cross it then head South to the far side of the field where there is another stile onto the moorlands. Follow the track on the other side until it reaches a larger track, the routes goes to your left along this track. Along this section of track you should eventually see the viewpoint cairn. Keep this in sight and continue along the track until you pass a path that leads up to it.
5: Once you’ve had enough of the view double back to the larger track and double back further until you see a track to the right heading towards the woods. Follow it where it’ll lead to a stile which crosses into Black Banks plantation. Follow the path through the trees downhill, then head left at the gravel road, looking for a marker which points right, taking you on another path downhill through the trees. On the next gravel road head right. Ignore the gravel road heading off to your left that you pass (this is someone’s driveway) and continue forwards.
6: Eventually you will find a track heading off to your left, follow it as it takes you through the trees and down to the riverside. Now follow this path upriver until it eventually takes you into a field. Cross the next three fields keeping to the North-side of each. Eventually the route crosses a stile putting you on a lane. The route heads right at this lane, crossing over the railway line.
7: After the railway line is crossed, follow the lane to your left. It will eventually take you back to point 2 in the route, where you can head right and back into Wolsingham.
The route could be followed anticlockwise. Doing it this way makes the climb steeper but shorter. Going anticlockwise also delays the climb until about halfway through the walk. The village of Wolsingham at the start and end of the route is full of great shops, bakeries and cafes for food and drink and are definitely worth checking out.
Adapted from this Wolsingham circular walks leaflet.