This is a nice circular walk which seems shorter than it is. The walk starts in Stanhope and explores Ashes Quarry before heading up to Crawleyside Incline, where the limestone from the quarry was taken on its journey to the Consett Iron Works. The walk then cuts away to pass beside Millstone Quarry and to the top of Collier Law, before descending around the rim of Fatherley Plain to Fatherley Hill Currick. The route then heads back to Stanhope via Shittlehope Edge and Burn.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Park in Stanhope. The GPX track shows the walk starting from the parking place in front of Stanhope Castle and the Pack Horse Inn. If full more parking is available at The Dales Centre (4 hour limit), plus some street side parking or there is more parking at point 4 on the walk at the top of Crawleyside next to the start of the incline.
(D/A) From the car park in front of the castle, cross the road to the Bonny Moorhen pub. Turn right and walk along the pavement until you arrive at the Weardale Hub.
(1) Turn left and walk up Martin Street, at the top follow the bend around to the right and look out for the cottage with the Darlek and Tardis. The road bends left, follow it uphill and look out for a gate on the left and information board for Ashes Quarry.
(2) Turn left and pass through the gate into Ashes Quarry, you will see two bridges ahead of you, and you will be crossing these. Walk through the quarry and drop rightwards to a level above the edge of the lake. Now follow the level towards a grassy spoil heap with a stone wall just poking out near the bottom, follow a track through a gully and this leads to the end of the wall. Keep going straight ahead to a gate in the fence.
(3) Pass through and turn right. Now walk up the track to the two bridges that span the quarry working. Follow a path slanting up leftwards to a wooden gate, pass through, then go immediately through a second wooden gate and walk leftwards again, ascending to the top of Crawleyside Edge. Keep walking towards the road, where you will see a house with solar panels ahead of you. The path bends to the right to pass beside a corrugated steel barn and house, then turns left to the start of the track leading up Crawleyside Incline.
(4) Walk up the incline, which still has some stone sleepers in place. About halfway up there is a metal gate on the right. You can walk to the gate and pass beside it, or take a diagonal shortcut to walk in front of it.
(There is alternative parking here at the start of Crawleyside Incline.)
(5) Now follow the track which is maintained with limestone chippings. The track will ascend to the disused Millstone Quarry where which provided sandstone for building and stone walling. As you ascend and just before a line of electricity poles, you will pass some shooting butts. The path ascends to the quarry, where it joins another track. Turn right and follow the stony track to Collier Law. Just before Collier Law and beside one of the last black and white poles is an obvious yellowish hard core track on the right. This descends to Stanhope and is a good shortcut back if the weather turns or you need a plan B/escape route; you will follow this track later, but only for a short way. Continue to the trig pint, you will have to step over the wire fence to get there, but the views across to the Clevelend Hills is worthwhile on a clear day.
(6) From the trig point, cross back over the wire fence. Then turn left and follow a track beside the fence line to a gate and junction with another track. Turn right and follow the track back, until it bends to the right. Now leave the track and cross the heather for a short distance to the obvious yellowish hard core track (mentioned above) ahead of you. Turn left and follow the yellowish track for just over a 100m. Look out for a track on the left leading over the moors and towards the fence line. This track has an earth surface and takes the form of two wheel tracks/ ruts, it is not covered in stone like the track you have been walking on.
Follow this un-stoned track on the left to the fence, then pass through a gate and turn right. Now follow the track with the fence on your right hand side, you will descend gently to meet another stone track coming in from the left and then ascend to the right of Fatherley Hill Currick. Turn left and take the path to the cairn on the top.
(7) Enjoy the views and scope out the way ahead. Descend back to the track, turn left and follow the track beside the fence line again. The transmitter will be ahead of you. Where the fence line turns abruptly to the right, stop following the track, turn right and follow a narrow path beside the fence. (Take care as it crosses a rabbit warren and there are many holes) The narrow path is short and leads to a gate.
(8) Turn right and go through the gate. Follow the grassy track which leads around following the line of the wall. The path shown on the OS map does not seem to exist, but always walk with the wall on your left, the wall bends leftwards and shortly after that the track veers away from it.
(9) Follow the track across the moor, descending with views of Stanhope ahead of you. You will arrive at Shittlehope Edge.
(10) From the top of Shittlehope Edge you will see a ruined house below you. Zigzag down the slope using sheep tracks (the path shown on the OS map does not exist) to a wooden stile on the right of the house. Cross the stile into a field and walk diagonally across the field (there may be livestock), passing another ruined house. You are aiming for the right hand end of a some trees, where there is a gap between a stone wall and a fence. Go through the gap and you will see another wooden stile ahead of you. Cross the stile and enter an area with tall bracken in summer and autumn. There is a beaten path through the bracken into the wood on the rim of Shittlehope Burn.
Once in the wood, there is an obvious path that descends via some steps to meet another path coming in from the left. Ignore that path and keep descending to a footbridge over the burn. On the other side of the footbridge there are some steps with a metal handrail, these lead you up to the edge of the fields. Turn left and walk along to a metal kissing gate.
(11) Pass through the kissing gate and head up to a stile leading into a field. Cross over (there may be livestock in the field) to the left hand of two gates. This is the metal gate. Pass through (again possible livestock) and ahead of you is a barn, cross over and walk with the barn on your right to a dry stone wall. Follow this to the corner where a wooden gate gives access to the road.
(12) Turn left and walk along the road, descending to (2) and then back down Martin Street, turn right and walk back along the pavement to the parking and your car. (D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 211m - Parking in front of Stanhope Castle
1 : km 0.2 - alt. 210m - Junction with Martin Street
2 : km 0.51 - alt. 245m - Entrance to Ashes Quarry
3 : km 1.12 - alt. 246m - Gate in fence
4 : km 2.55 - alt. 344m - Alternative parking and start of incline
5 : km 3.31 - alt. 371m - Metal gate
6 : km 5.91 - alt. 512m - Collier Law
7 : km 8.63 - alt. 452m - Fatherley Hill Currick
8 : km 9.41 - alt. 429m - Gate
9 : km 10.19 - alt. 392m - Track veers from wall
10 : km 10.91 - alt. 300m - Shittlehope Edge (Ruined building below)
11 : km 11.52 - alt. 261m - Metal kissing gate
12 : km 11.92 - alt. 276m - Wooden gate
D/A : km 12.68 - alt. 211m - Parking in front of Stanhope Castle
There are no places to shelter on this walk and in a prevailing westerly it will be open to the elements.
Check the forecast and dress accordingly, for example I walked this on a calm day but stopping at Fatherley Law we had to put on wind proofs as a cold wind arrived from seemingly no-where.
In dry weather, approach type shoes with a good sole will be sufficient, but parts of this walk can be boggy, particularly as after you leave the yellowish hard core track after Collier Law.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Ashes Quarry is a vast hole in the ground where the Great Limestone was quarried for use in the iron industry at Consett. Crawleyside Incline had fixed steam engines at the top and bottom for hauling a truck of limestone to the top before they continued their journey along the railway tracks to Consett. Those of you who enjoy mountain biking or gravel biking will enjoy riding these railway lines as they are now part of the national cycle network.
Millstone Quarry was used for building and stone walling, there are also smaller sandstone quarries in the area.
Shittlehope Burn contains a limestone cave and if you have time you could explore and find it.
Stanhope itself is a lovely rural market town and is well worth exploring. There are pubs and cafés to get refreshments after your walk.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.