Chester-le-Street to Finchale Priory - Way of Learning

This walk is part of the trek The Way of Learning - Jarrow to Durham.

This is the 9th section of the Way of Learning. Beginning in Chester-le-Street, the walk begins in the urban town centre, then retraces the route back to Riverside Park with a walk along the banks of the Wear. Passing by Lumley Castle again, the walk continues on the opposite bank of the river before climbing up through farmland to the village of Great Lumley. Leaving the village the route continues along country lanes before descending through woodland to Finchael Priory.

Technical sheet No. 30506673

A Durham walk posted on 07/02/23 by sarahhcfe. Last update : 15/03/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h05[?]
Distance Distance : 4.20 mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 200 ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 194 ft
Highest point Highest point : 243 ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 23 ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Durham
Starting point Starting point : N 54.855602° / W 1.572247°
Ending point Ending point : N 54.818327° / W 1.540999°
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Start: St Mary and St Cutbert's Church, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street (nearby postcode DH3 3QB) Grid ref. NZ 275 512

(D) From the church of St Mary and St Cuthbert, walk North along Church Chare. At the bend in the road, enter the park and bear left walking towards the trees. On reaching the circular path turn left and then right (East) at the next path junction, exiting onto the road. Turn left along Cone Terrace.

(1) On your left will be a gap between the terraced houses, opposite (on your right) this is a public footpath which doubles back, take this path and walk alongside Chester Burn on your left. Follow the path under Park Road Central (A167), then take then continue Eastwards with Chester Burn still on your left. On reaching the River Wear turn right (South) and follow the banks of the Wear until you reach Lumley New Road Bridge. Turn right and walk to the road.

(2) Turn left (South-East) and cross the bridge, turning into Lumley Castle driveway. Turn left through the car park and rejoin the riverside path, turning left again (South) to walk back under the bridge you have just crossed. Continue walking South-Eastwards along the riverbank, Durham County Cricket Ground will be across the river. After approximately 400m the path will turn away from the river.

(3) Cross the stile and the access road which leads to the pumping station, cross the stile at the other side of the road. The path continues through the trees then exits at the edge of a field, continue walking Southwards to the corner of the field. The path turns left (East) to continue around the edge of the field.

(4) Cross the stile and turn right (South). Continue unitl you reach Lumley where the path turns left around the end of the field to the wooden art sculpture at Back Lane.

(5) Turn right onto Back Lane and follow the road around the bend. Turn right (South) into Cambridge Drive. Follow the road around to the left.

(6) Look out for Exeter Close on your left, opposite this you should see a footpath heading South on your right-hand side. Cross the road and take this path Southwards. You will emerge onto Cocken Lane, turn right continue walking South until you reach Cocken Road.

(7) Turn left (East) and cross the road. Either take the steps down to the River Wear or take the woodland path, turning right at the bottom to reach the footbridge. Cross the footbridge to Finchale Priory. (A)

Waypoints :
D : mi 0 - alt. 75 ft - St Mary and St Cuthbert's Church
1 : mi 0.24 - alt. 46 ft - Cone Terrace
2 : mi 1 - alt. 33 ft - Lumley New Road Bridge
3 : mi 1.72 - alt. 52 ft - Access Road
4 : mi 2.02 - alt. 138 ft - Double Stiles
5 : mi 2.57 - alt. 230 ft - Wooden Art Sculpture/Back Lane
6 : mi 2.92 - alt. 226 ft - Exeter Close
7 : mi 3.93 - alt. 144 ft - Cocken Road
A : mi 4.2 - alt. 79 ft - Finchale Priory

Useful Information

Start: St Mary and St Cutbert's Church, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street (nearby postcode DH3 3QB) Grid ref. NZ 275 512

Transport: There are lots of car parks in Chester-le-Street and on road parking at Cocken Road. There is no public transport to Finchale Priory. Buses 71 and 78 leave from Front Street in Lumley so you will need to retrace your steps to Lumley to return to the start. Otherwise you will need to book a taxi, e.g. Riverside Taxis are based in Chester-le-Street. Alternatively, if you are walking more than one section, continue to Durham where transport back to Chester-le-Street is plentiful.

Facilities: There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and takeaways in Chester-le-Street, a cafe and toilets in Riverside Park then little else until you reach Finchale Priory where there is a cafe and toilets.

Accessibility: This walk includes steep slopes, steps, stiles and dirt paths which can be very muddy after rain.

Accommodation: There are a number of hotels in the area including the Lambton Arms at the end of the walk, Travel Lodge, Lambton Worm pub, and of course Lumley Castle.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Lumley Castle - It is worth having a look around the castle too, you may even see Lily of Lumley the resident ghost whilst having tea in the Library Bar. There is an Escape Room here based around Lily of Lumley.
  • The Anchor's House and Church of St Mary and St Cuthbert, Chester-le-Street. Details of services. Worship has taken place here for centuries, being a stop on Cuthbert's journey to Durham Cathedral.
  • Finchael Priory (English Heritage) is a beautiful ruin on the banks of the River Wear. It can be first glimpsed through the trees from the Cocken Woods footpath.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.