Bowes Museum to Egglestone Abbey: Circular walk beside the River Tees

A short and enjoyable walk from Bowes Museum to Egglestone Abbey, following the River Tees. At the time of writing (July 21) Bowes Museum is still operating a time ticket entry. If you time your visit correctly you can combine a visit to the museum followed by the walk or vice versa. Please note the gates to the museum close at 5:00. If you think you will arrive back later then park your car outside the museum grounds.

Technical sheet
No. 12166267
A Barnard Castle walk posted on 26/07/21 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 05/08/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h50[?]
Distance Distance : 5.99km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 44m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 53m
Highest point Highest point : 166m
Lowest point Lowest point : 128m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Barnard Castle
Starting point Starting point : N 54.541506° / W 1.91719°
Download : -
Egglestone Abbey Plan of Abbey


(D/A) From parking on the grounds of Bowes Museum. Walk to the gates, turn right and follow the path into Barnard Castle. As you get to the church on your right, cross the road to a driveway, follow this driveway to a gate leading onto an open meadow/grassland (Demesnes).

(1) Ahead of you are some fenced off allotments. A path crossed diagonally over the meadow to meet the right boundary of the allotment. (Alternatively, take the path on the right which skirts the edge; this is the path followed on the way back) From the edge of the allotments, the path descends a short steep bank to flatter ground below with a play area on the right. Descend to a good track.

(2) Turn left and follow the good track to pass the buildings of Mill Farm (look out for the old millstones). Continue following the obvious path, passing through gates as necessary with the River Tees on your right. You will see the waterworks ahead of you, the OS map shows the path curving away from the riverside and then back towards it to avoid the remains of a ruined barn. You can take this way but we stuck to the riverside path by crossing a wire fence via a rickety wooden stile. (The wire fence had also been climbed over and damaged so it is low enough to easily step over; July '21) Continue past the waterworks and then through a gate and into woodland with the path rising to meet the road beside Abbey Bridge. Cross the bridge; traffic crossing the bridge is controlled by lights and the bridge has places on either side to stand in should you meet traffic while crossing it, but take care. On the other side of the bridge turn right and follow the minor road to some stone houses and a track on the left leading up to Egglestone Abbey.

(3) Turn left and walk up to the abbey. Entry is free, have a good look around (good place for a picnic) and then return to the road (3). Turn left and walk along the minor road. Soon you will come to a bridge with the old Bow Bridge on its left. It is still possible to walk over the old Bow Bridge but in summer the vegetation can be intrusive at the start. Continue along the road which starts to ascend and bend to the left. Look out for an opening on the right, next to a hedge with two upright stones to squeeze through.

(4) Turn right and squeeze past the stones to gain a good path. Turn left and follow the path above the River Tees, crossing grassy fields. Pass above the caravan park and arrive at a road leading down to it.

(5)Turn right and follow the road into the caravan park. The layout looks complex and the path is not well signposted. As a rule of thumb, you are heading down and leftward to the bottom left hand corner of the caravan site. There are usually people about to ask if you get lost. (More detailed directions are: at the first split in the road take either road to the Reception, I went first right and then left to get there. From Reception keep heading down and then turn left into a cul-de-sac. At the end of the cul-de-sac you will pick up the path beside the River Tees again) Follow the path to a pedestrian bridge.

(6) Cross the bridge into Barnard Castle. Walk up the street on the right hand side. Look out for a narrow passageway between the houses which leads via a lane flanked with stone walls back to the Demesnes or, if you miss it; just before the main road through the town, there is a turn right along a street (Gray Lane) (Note the GPX route shown goes via Gray Lane)

(7) Turn right and walk to the Demesnes, Ascend the obvious path that slants up and across the grassy bank back to (1)

(1) Follow the lane to the road, cross over, turn right and walk back to Bowes Museum.:/A

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 166m - Bowes Museum
1 : km 0.3 - alt. 157m - Fenced off allotments
2 : km 0.54 - alt. 136m - Mill Farm
3 : km 3.16 - alt. 135m - Egglestone Abbey
4 : km 3.53 - alt. 137m - Stones
5 : km 4.28 - alt. 153m - Caravan park
6 : km 5.07 - alt. 140m - Barnard Castle
7 : km 5.28 - alt. 141m - Demesnes
D/A : km 5.99 - alt. 166m - Bowes Museum

Useful Information

Not many shelters but there is one part of Egglestone Abbey which has its vaulted ceiling, so if it was raining you could get shelter here.

The museum has a cafe (great tea and cakes), or taking a picnic to have on the grounds of the museum or at the Abbey is also a good choice.

Mainly easy walking with the only bits to think about are picking up the path off the road at point 4 and the navigation through the caravan park.

I have timed this at 1:30 but we had been to the Abbey before and had to get back for 5:00 to make sure our car was not locked in. First time visitors and those who walk more slowly than me will want to take 2:30 to give enough time for the walk and to explore the abbey.

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

This is a great way to spend a day with the family. The time you tickets correctly and you can enjoy the museum, have some food in the cafe or a picnic and enjoy an easy walk to explore the remain of an Abbey.

Information about Bowes Museum can be found here: -
Information about Egglestone Abbey can be found here: -

Barnard Castle is a great place to spend a few days. The castle itself is worth a visit and the surrounding areas are good for walking.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.67/5
Number of opinions : 3
Description quality : 4.33/5
Routemap quality : 4.67/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Tue 26 Oct 2021 19:04:28 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 26/10/21
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

A lovely fairly short walk with lots of interest.

on Mon 11 Oct 2021 10:04:11 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 11/10/21
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

A lovely walk. Some little points about the instructions:
(a) START: "Walk to the gates, turn right and follow the path..." It should have said "pavement" (Amer.: sidewalk), as there is an actual footpath just inside the gates, labelled Woodland Path (which initially we took, but then turned back). I don't think most people call the pavement beside a road a "path"!
(b) (Same para): "Cross the road to a driveway...." This "driveway" is actually named "Parson's Lonnen", on a prominent sign. It would be helpful to mention that!
(c) Para 5: In the caravan park: yes, it is confusing, but NOT helpful to say "take the road to the Reception", as Reception is at the opposite end from the exit! We went there, having been at the opposite end, and then had to walk all the way back. It would be helpful, I think, to say "take the cul de sac by No.92".
Otherwise very helpful.

on Sun 03 Oct 2021 16:36:11 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 02/10/21
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Apart from one bit right at the start of the walk where we had to ask for help because it was further to walk to the path down than we'd realised, the walk was well explained, very interesting and we couldn't have asked for better. In fact at the end of our holiday, a week later, we were still talking about how good this walk had been

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