Hmmm, I can see you’re thinking ‘A walk in Consett? In February? Good luck with that!’
Well, I can tell you that it was astonishingly rural, full of unexpected views and took in a quiet corner of the North East that was once vibrant and industrial.
We started off at the very handy out of town car park near Consett that serves a multitude of big shops – Morrisons, Tesco and the like. It’s free parking and is handy if you’ve forgotten to pack sandwiches or fancy an egg custard before you set off.
Using the fantastic wagon way network, we were soon striding out into the nearby countryside, passing the stunning Terris Novalis sculptures on the way. Soon we were into woodland, having left the wagon way trails, and for the next few miles picked our way through the muddy paths and between silhouettes of deciduous trees against the bright blue sky. Descending to Allensford, by way of woodland sculptures, we stopped at a handy picnic table for lunch.
We crossed the Allen and struck further into the woodland, passing cottages and long forgotten industrial sites slowly being subsumed into nature. There is still a surprising amount of industrial heritage to be seen in this part of the North East and it is well worth seeking out.
We also spotted our first ‘wild’ snowdrops of the year.
Heading back towards Consett this walk had a sting in its tail – the steep calf-testing ascent of the site of the old steel works. However, once we got to the top we had superb view of the County Durham countryside to enjoy.