There are some stonking views in Weardale – a green patchwork of vast moorland interlaced with dry stone walls and dotted with cosy looking villages. Too often the Tyne valley and even Swaledale and Wensleydale… . . even Arkengarthdale get all the plaudits for stunning landscapes. However, this lovely walk from Stanhope can rival those well-known walking destinations and it has a spectacular hole to add to the attractions. Read on!
Starting from the excellent Dales Centre we were soon heading out into the surrounding countryside and walking by the Stanhope Burn on a bright and blustery day. It is still high Spring in this part of the UK in May and so we were treated along the way by carpets of bluebells and primroses enjoying the sunshine as much as we were.
Lunch was taken on a sunny bankside by the crystal clear waters of the Stanhope Burn – fabulous!
After lunch we struck outwards and upwards, following footpaths narrowed by springtime fecundity and ended up at a fine limestone cave in a deep narrow gorge of the Burn. After a scramble down to explore we set off once more and were soon on a path overlooking Stanhope with superb views of the valley and the jumble of houses. Here we encountered the awesome Ashes Quarry on the outskirts of the town – an enormous scar hewn out of the side of the hill to provide mineral ore. It is truly an impressive sight.
Our walk took us back into town through a narrow pathway and back to the Dales Centre.