Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle

Route: Barnard Castle

Area: County Durham

Date of walk: 29th August 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.4 miles

Ascent: 400 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny, clouding over later

Barnard Castle is a market town in Teesdale, County Durham. It is also the name of the castle around which the town is built. We’ve passed through the town on previous occasions but until today haven’t had the opportunity for a proper exploration. There are plenty of parking places in the town, and we parked in a residential street near the castle, making it our first port of call before setting off on today’s walk

Barnard Castle is owned by English Heritage (an entry fee is payable by non-members). It is set on a high rock above the River Tees and takes its name from its 12th century founder, Bernard de Balliol. It was later developed by the Beauchamp family and then passed into the hands of Richard III. We wandered around the well preserved ruins and admired the views over the Tees Gorge, but after an hour or so it was time to be on with the walk. We left the castle grounds and followed the road past Castle Bridge, which dates back to the 14th century. Shortly after this we joined a path through a field on the outskirts of the town, part of the Teesdale Way

The path hugged the north bank of the River Tees, and we followed it through unspoilt countryside as far as Abbey Bridge. We crossed the old road bridge and then walked along a lane to the remains of Egglestone Abbey, also owned by English Heritage. The abbey of St Mary and St John the Baptist, to give it its full name, was founded at Egglestone between 1195 and 1198 for Premonstratensian canons. Entry is free and it’s well worth making the very short diversion to visit this atmospheric place

We returned to the lane and then joined a footpath on the south bank of the River Tees. We took the higher of two possible paths back into Barnard Castle and after a short wander around the old streets we headed back to the car, just as it started to rain. It was a great little walk linking two ancient buildings steeped in history

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