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2 For more information and to buy this book click here ISBN: CICERONE Guides for walkers, trekkers, mountaineers, climbers and cyclists

3 WALK 5 Ouston and Urpeth Distance 5.5km (3 1 2 miles) Terrain Easy low-level paths and tracks through fields and woodlands. Start/finish St Benet s School, Ouston GR Maps OS Landranger 88; Explorer 308. Refreshments Pub and a couple of shops in Ouston. Transport Ouston is served by regular daily buses from Chesterle-Street and Newcastle. Ouston and Urpeth conservation volunteers have waymarked a short circular walk as part of Durham County Council s Parish Paths Partnership. The route also lies within the Great North Forest. Easy field paths and farm tracks, along with riverside and woodland paths, have been highlighted using eyecatching ladybird waymarks. The area is surprisingly rich in wildlife, despite being in clear view of urban Gateshead. The local conservation volunteers also manage a nursery to generate a constant supply of plants that are used to grace flowerbeds in the area. St Benet s School is on the southern edge of Ouston, where St Benet s Way branches off the main road. A mushroom sculpture stands near the road junction and marks the starting point. Walk along a grassy verge beside St Benet s Way, then turn left at a gate to follow a grassy track through fields. This passes a mobile phone mast and continues towards prominent, white-painted Urpeth Hall. Turn left along a road to pass farm buildings behind Urpeth Hall. As the road runs downhill, turn right and cross a stile, then walk straight through a field. Cross another stile and follow a path with steps into a wooded valley. The River Team leads downstream from woods into a meadow. Cross a flat, grassy bridge later 51

4 WALKING IN COUNTY DURHAM A peculiar mushroom sculpture stands halfway round the short walk at Ouston and Urpeth and continue along the foot of a wooded slope. The path eventually climbs up to a stile. Cross over and bear left to reach a road. Turn right to follow the road towards Riding Farm, then turn right again down a track. This crosses the River Team again and climbs to a road near the dormitory estate of Urpeth. Turn left down the road, then right, with views of tower blocks in nearby Gateshead. When the road reaches a dip, turn right into a field, passing another mushroom sculpture. Head towards Walter s Wood and cross a tiny stream in an easy stride to pick up a path on the other side. The path runs up through a pleasant, mature beech wood in a small valley couched between Ouston and Urpeth. When a tarmac path is reached, turn right to follow it, avoiding all turnings to left and right. The path later swings left and approaches houses on the edge of Ouston. On reaching these houses, turn right along a grassy path, then walk beside back-garden fences to return to St Benet s Way. Turn left to finish back at St Benet s School. Turn left again if you want to walk into Ouston to visit the pub or catch a bus. 52

5 WALK 6 Lumley Castle and Great Lumley Distance 10km (6 miles). Terrain Easy low-level paths and tracks through fields, woods and beside rivers. Start/finish Chester-le-Street GR Maps OS Landranger 88; Explorer 308. Refreshments Plenty of choice around Chester-le-Street. Pubs and takeaway at Great Lumley. Transport Regular daily buses serve Chester-le-Street from Newcastle, Durham and Consett. Regular daily buses link Great Lumley and Chester-le-Street. Some trains between Durham and Newcastle stop at Chester-le- Street. Lumley Castle rises across the River Wear from Chester-le-Street. A solidlooking edifice, the castle was founded in the 14th century. It stands on the brow of a low hill and is almost entirely encircled by rivers, forming a natural moat. The Weardale Way follows these rivers, looping round the castle. To gain a little extra distance and explore the country around Lumley Castle in more detail, this loop of the Weardale Way is extended through the village of Great Lumley and down the river to Chester New Bridge, to form a longer circuit. The town of Chester-le-Street can be explored at the beginning or end of the walk. Start in the centre of Chester-le-Street at GW Horners pub and follow the road marked No Entry, as signposted for the Leisure Centre and Riverside Park. Keep to the right-hand bank to follow Cong Burn to its confluence with the River Wear. Turn right to walk upstream alongside the Wear through Riverside Park. Cross busy Lumley New Bridge, then turn immediately left. A short detour up a road offers a glimpse of Lumley Castle, but return to follow a path beneath the busy road bridge. 53

6 WALKING IN COUNTY DURHAM Flowery riverbanks seen near Chester-le-Street where Cong Burn flows into the River Wear 54 LUMLEY CASTLE Although Lumley Castle dates from the 14th century it was largely reworked in Sir Ralph Lumley founded the castle, but lost it after joining a conspiracy to supplant Henry IV with Richard II. However, the castle later reverted to the family, who remained closely associated with it and the town of Chester-le- Street. The former estate associated with the castle has been broken up and the ground in front of the castle is now a golf course. The castle is now a hotel, with splendid furnishings, specialising in weddings, banquets and murder mysteries. See

7 WALK 6: LUMLEY CASTLE AND GREAT LUMLEY From Lumley New Bridge follow a path upstream along the wooded bank of the River Wear. The path later heads uphill, away from the river, and crosses a farm access road. Climb out of the woods and bear right round the edge of a field. The path runs almost to the farm of Lumley Riding, where a right turn leads away from the farm alongside a long field. At the far end of this field, a left turn leads to a hilltop village. Follow a minor road straight into Great Lumley, passing the Warriors Arms and the parish church, then pass a school before turning left along another road. Just as the road leaves the village, watch for a stile on the right, indicating a footpath across a field. Follow the path, but turn left back towards the road at the next opportunity. Walk along the road to cross the B1284 at a roundabout. A minor road leads down to the Smith s Arms, then passes beneath a flyover on the A1(M). Immediately on the left, while passing beneath the bridge, climb a flight of steps to cut out a bend in the minor road. Turn left and left again at the top to follow a farm access road. The farm road continues along to the right of the Manor House and runs down into Lumley Park Wood. The track leads through a richly wooded gorge to a stone bridge called Lamb Bridge. Don t cross the bridge, but look through the trees for the rear of Lumley Castle. Continue along the woodland track, which is heavy with the garlic scent of ramsons in spring. Keep to the right of Garden House, squeezing past on a narrow path. Further along the woodland path, look out for a clear turning off to the right and climb uphill out of the woods. A field path leads to a bridge across the A1(M), then a farm access road leads through an impressive gateway onto the A183. Turn left and follow this busy road downhill. Cross over Lambton Bridge, but note the fine view of 14thcentury Chester New Bridge. This is one of the access points for nearby Lambton Castle. Cross the road, away from Chester New Bridge, to follow a path running upstream alongside the River Wear. A loop of the river passes beneath the A1(M), before continuing past a sewage works hidden behind a screen of trees. Keep 55

8 WALKING IN COUNTY DURHAM following the riverside path to reach Cong Burn, and turn right to follow it back into Chester-le-Street. CHESTER-LE-STREET As the name suggests, Chester-le-Street was a Roman foundation, and the site of the old Roman fort is partially exposed alongside the Salvation Army building. The main roads that ran through the fort are thought to lie beneath the church of St Mary and St Cuthbert. The church was founded in 883 by monks fleeing Lindisfarne, and was one of many resting places for the body of St Cuthbert. A Saxon cathedral stood on the site and several phases of development can be seen around the building. An interesting annexe called the Anker s House an anchorite s cell from 1383 to 1547 is now a small museum. See The church of St Mary and St Cuthbert 56

9 End of extract from WALKING IN COUNTY DURHAM For more information and to buy this book click here ISBN: CICERONE Guides for walkers, trekkers, mountaineers, climbers and cyclists

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