Durham riverbank via Maiden Castle

This short, relatively flat walk loops around the River Wear from the Boathouse to Maiden Castle and back along the other side of the river giving views of the castle and cathedral and plenty of places for a picnic. This walk is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

Technical sheet
No. 7180892
A Durham walk posted on 30/03/21 by sarahhcfe. Update : 06/04/21
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h15[?]
Distance Distance : 4.11km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 34m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 34m
Highest point Highest point : 55m
Lowest point Lowest point : 34m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Durham
Starting point Starting point : N 54.776284° / W 1.573689°
Download : -


Park in the Prince Bishops Car Park. To start the walk, go down the stairs (or lift) to the riverbank. The Boathouse will be in front of you.

(D/A) Turn left and walk underneath New Elvet Bridge, you will pass Bath's Bridge on your right.
Note: at the time of writing, the footpath under Elvet Bridge was closed for bridge repairs, these are due to finish in Autumn 2021. You will need to exit the car park at the shopping level, walk to the marketplace, walk past Next and then turn right. Walk down the bank and then walk up Leazes Road past the construction site. Take the cycle lane to your right down to Baths Bridge, then turn to your left.

(1) From Baths Bridge, continue walking along the footpath, Hild and Bede College will be on your left. There are also numerous footpaths which lead up through the woods if you wish to explore Pelaw Wood further, these are very steep. When you reach the bend in the river, the path forks, take the right-hand fork.

(2) Continue along the river bank. Cross the narrow wooden bridge and then walk past the remains of the railway bridge which carried trains to Elvet Station which no longer exists.

(3) You will then reach the Maiden Castle footbridge, cross the bridge. This is uneven so please be careful. There are some steps here which is a nice place to sit for a while and watch the river. From the bridge, turn to your right and go through the gate in the fence, bear right and follow the riverbank looking out for sculptures to your right. Stay right when you reach the fork with the mushroom sculpture. Continue to follow the riverbank until you reach the allotments. Follow the road to your left, this takes you to Green Lane. At the road junction turn right and continue to follow the road back to the riverbank by the Rowing Club.

(4) You will be back on the riverbank. Continue walking back towards the city center, you will see the castle and cathedral in front of you. Check to your left for any sports activities at the Cricket Club or Race Course. The river and bandstand will be to your right. Just past Baths Bridge turn left onto Territorial Lane, you will come out directly in front of Hotel Indigo. Turn right and walk to the junction, cross the road and walk past the Swan and Three Cygnets pub. As you walk up the old Elvet Bridge, you will need to either take the steps on the right-hand side back to the boathouse or just over the bridge, take the steep lane to your left which loops under the bridge back to the boathouse.

(5) Continue up Elvet Bridge towards Market Place and then turn right into the shopping area back to the Shopping Level of the car park with its lift.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 45m - Prince Bishops Car Park/Boathouse
1 : km 0.32 - alt. 41m - Baths Bridge
2 : km 1.25 - alt. 48m - Fork in the path, sign for Old Durham Gardens
3 : km 1.84 - alt. 34m - Maiden Castle Footbridge
4 : km 2.74 - alt. 36m - Rowing Club
5 : km 4.04 - alt. 55m - Elvet Bridge
D/A : km 4.11 - alt. 45m - Prince Bishops Car Park/Boathouse

Useful Information

  • There are numerous places to sit along the riverbank, seating and steps are available.
  • Refreshments are available at Elvet, there are cafes at the boathouse and on Elvet Bridge itself. Hotel Indigo serves cream teas in the afternoon.
  • Public toilets are located inside the Prince Bishops Car Park.

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

  • Hire a boat at the boathouse.
  • While away the afternoon with a picnic by the river.
  • Watch sports which are going on at Maiden Castle Sports Centre and along the riverbank, including cricket and rowing.

Other walks in the area

distance 2.8km Vertical gain +22m Vertical drop -23m Durée 0h50 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This loop will take you around the peninsula giving great views of Durham Castle, Cathedral and the River Wear. This relatively flat and therefore suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

distance 4.93km Vertical gain +54m Vertical drop -46m Durée 1h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This walk starts in Durham City Centre, but takes a more unusual path around the city affording views of the castle and cathedral from several view points. The walk descends from the Market Place to the river bank and then passes the law courts and prison, Durham University, Durham School, then passes the listed buildings on South Street before returning to the start via the new Riverwalk Development.

distance 7.7km Vertical gain +29m Vertical drop -67m Durée 2h15 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This walk, around Durham area, is easy to access allowing interesting heritage discoveries.

distance 7.13km Vertical gain +47m Vertical drop -51m Durée 2h10 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This is a relaxing walk around the River Wear in Durham City. The footpaths are mostly paved making this suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Where there are steps, alternatives have been provided. There are some lovely visitas from which the castle and cathedral can be viewed.

distance 6.06km Vertical gain +54m Vertical drop -59m Durée 1h55 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This circular walk around Durham takes in parks, old streets and a medieval hospital building. There are many viewpoints from which the River Wear, Durham Cathedral and Castle can be viewed. There are many steep climbs giving a really good feel for the hilly nature of Durham.

distance 2.55km Vertical gain +34m Vertical drop -34m Durée 0h50 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This short walk around the university showcases the best the campus has to offer. It is suitable for a lunchtime walk for staff and students, and for a longer walk taking in the Botanical Gardens and Oriental Museum. The walk is accessible, but be ready for a steep climb through the Botanical Gardens.

distance 6.15km Vertical gain +62m Vertical drop -57m Durée 1h55 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Durham

This walk takes in the main visitor attractions in Durham, starting from the Howlands Park and Ride, visiting the Oriental Museum, Botanical Gardens, Castle, Cathedral and Market Place. There are some steep hills, but a bus can be caught from Elvet back to the Park and Ride.

distance 7.62km Vertical gain +45m Vertical drop -44m Durée 2h20 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Brandon and Byshottles - Durham

On the western outskirts of Durham. Good pathways through a mixture of the farming and industrial landscape.

For more walks, use our search engine.

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