A walk combining the rugged moorland of Harter Fell and Crossthwaite Common with the beauty of Holwick Scars and the pastures alongside the River Tees.
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.
(D/A) From the market place, turn down Bridge Street and cross the old county bridge over the River Tees.
(1) Walk up the hill and take the first road to the right (signposted Holwick). Almost immediately take the footpath (signed Pennine Way) through a wooden gate to the left. Follow the track up the hill, ignoring two paths that angle off to the left towards the end of the ‘field’ as you rise. Pass through a green metal gate and continue to and over a stile ahead. By now there are superb views back down the hill over Middleton. Ignoring the path to the left, keep right, following the track parallel to the fence. The path swings back up the hill finally reaching a waymarked metal gate. Keeping well over to the right you will see a distinctive mound topped by a clump of pine trees. This is ‘Kirkcarrion’; thought to be a bronze age burial mound.
(2) Now head across to the middle of the wall opposite. Cross it via a way marked metal gate with a ruined byre to the right, keeping fairly close to the wall on your right through into the next field until you come to a gate with a stile beside it. The path now swings round slightly left towards a cairn and a ruined wall and passes through it. Look out for a fallen post with a waymark sign. Beautiful views of Grassholme Reservoir and the smaller Selset Reservoir open up. Follow close to your right until you reach a galvanised gate with a stone stile beside it. The track continues passing below a few trees to your right and on down to an old byre on your left. Pass over a stone stile by a gate and head for the farm in the distance. At the next gate, the path descends to a track that passes through a waymarked gateway. Continue on this track for about 50 yards and then branch off on a faint path to the right, reaching the next gateway and stile.
(3) Cross to the bottom right hand corner of the next field, crossing the stream by stepping stones and in the next field drop down to ford 'Carl Beck' and join the track heading towards Wythes Hill Farm. Just before the farm, the track bears left, go through a waymarked gate on your right. Now follow the wall on the left with the beck on your right. The path through this section of the walk is very faint and it is important to refer to your O/S map which will show your position in relation to the walls. After a wooden gate, the track bends off to the right to cross the small tributary of Merry Beck a little to the left of where the wall crosses the Beck. Soon afterwards cross the beck itself close to the remains of a shed. Now make for the stone ruins visible roughly to north west. After a short steep climb, a wall comes into view on the left, and the path drops down to the valley of 'Rake’s Gill' with its shelter, shooting butts and a toilet for the Shoot’s guns.
(4) Climb up out of the valley on a track heading north west to a fence. Pass through a gate and follow a path to the right of a flat topped hill. Superb views of Teesdale soon appear. When you come to a metal red gate pass through it and descend over 'Crook o’Green Fell'. On your left you can see rocky crags. Continue to a wall and then turn right to follow it down to cross 'Easter Beck'. From here there is a narrow path on to a gate at the bottom on the left. The path becomes clearer.
(5) Cross Rowton Beck and head for the stile below. Follow a series of white posts, white marked stones and cairns, passing a sheep fold and swinging right to a steep and narrow valley. Head towards what seems to be the top of a crag. At the last moment you will see a stile. Scramble down the path keeping the stream on your left. At the bottom find a crossing point over the stream and climb up the bank on the far side to join a track.
(6) Turn right towards Holwick. The track soon becomes a road. After about 400m yards (soon after the telephone box) there is a signed footpath path off to the left (a short detour down the road takes you to the Strathmore Arms - open each day but Tuesday). Head down towards the Tees, crossing a stile at the end of the first field. Near the bottom of the next field cross the stile in the wall to your right ...(not the one directly ahead).
(7) Continue down to reach the Pennine Way alongside the River Tees. Turn right along the path which follows the River Tees closely for most of its route back, but cuts across three of its biggest meanders near to Middleton and for a while follows an ancient sunken lane.
(8) Finally, near East Crossthwaite, it leaves the riverside for the last time and continues as a clear track to the end of the field and on through the next two to the bridge at Middleton.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 229m - Market place
1 : km 0.55 - alt. 241m - Hill
2 : km 1.89 - alt. 363m - Wall
3 : km 3.95 - alt. 375m - Field
4 : km 6.23 - alt. 502m - Valley
5 : km 8.2 - alt. 398m - Rowton Beck
6 : km 9.6 - alt. 323m - Holwick
7 : km 10.19 - alt. 282m - River Tees
8 : km 12.76 - alt. 245m - East Crossthwaite
D/A : km 15.63 - alt. 229m - Market place
Parking : Please use one of the two long stay car parks (on Bridge Street or on Alston Road).
Refreshments : There is a selection of pubs, cafes and food outlets in Middleton-in-Teesdale as well as a pub in Holwick .
Equipment : We would recommend taking a compass and an O/S map on this moorland walk - weather can change and effect visibility.
Dogs : Please keep dogs under close control & follow the countryside code.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.