Leader : Dawn Proctor Distance : 12 miles
Thanks to Dawn for the Walk Report.
Starting from the old four-arched bridge, we made our way along the left side of the Wear, under the impressive Croxdale viaduct and then up through Coldstream Wood. A programme of tree felling is underway, to increase daylight through the wood and the unintended obstacle course was no match for our agile group. In May, a wonderful carpet of bluebells is usual through the wood, though this year, with the churned ground from the felling machinery, this seems unlikely.
After the wood, a walk along a higher ridge at Coldstream Farm. The polythene clad tower of Durham Cathedral could be seen and also views south, across the river, to Brancepeth Castle. After crossing Valley Burn and following the path running beside the housing estate, we reached Whitworth Hall, totally rebuilt in 1877 after a fire. This was the ancestral home of the famous Shafto family, where Bobby Shafto lived.
Taking the footpath down Whitworth Road to Page Bank and crossing the river Wear here, before joining the track towards Page Bank East and then ascending towards to A690. Group members were spurred on by the promise of breakfast buns and cake at the café, but unfortunately the café was closed and we tucked into our packed lunches instead.
After lunch, a relatively easy second half back along the old Brandon to Bishop Auckland railway path. In 1635, 1,400 trees were felled in Stockley Gill Wood, to build Britain’s first three-decked warship at Woolwich. The old station platform still exists at Brancepeth station; hidden now behind the garden fence. Just short of Brandon, the route crosses the A690, to Scripton Lane, eventually cutting left towards Hollywell Hall, where St Cuthbert’s body is said to have rested on its travels. A short walk along the narrow lane, to reach the track to take us under the viaduct and back to the cars.
Left click on map to enlarge