Ireshopeburn to Rough Rigg - Durham Round Trail

The 12th section of the Durham Round Trail is one of the more challenging. Leaving the village of Ireshope burn behind begin the long climb up to the grouse moors. This is probably the wildest, most desolate section of the trail, but is still beautiful and well worth the effort.
⚠️A part of the route goes straight through grouse moorland so it may be closed during shooting season. An alternative route is available.

Technical sheet No. 31831931

A Stanhope walk posted on 20/03/23 by sarahhcfe. Last update : 10/05/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h05 ?
Distance Distance : 7.35 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 345 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 158 m
Highest point Highest point : 677 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 332 m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Stanhope
Starting point Starting point : N 54.742671° / W 2.208541°
Ending point Ending point : N 54.703271° / W 2.281324°
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Start : Centre of Ireshopeburn (Nearby postcode DL13 1ES) junction Causeway Road and A689. Grid ref. NY 866 386

(D) From the centre of Ireshopeburn, take the Causeway Road heading West. Pass the play park and cross Ireshope Burn, the path will turn South-West at this point and begin to climb. This is a narrow road with no path so watch out for vehicles.

(1) As you begin to reach the brow of the hill (about 1 Km) you will see a sign for Irestone Lane lane to your right and a public footpath to your left. Note the strange steps to your left. Continue straight ahead. The road will turn South-Westwards.

(2) After a further 1.2 Km the road will end at a gate in a wall. Go through the gate closing it behind you. Go through a second gate.

(3) As you continue to climb, look back to your right to glimpse views of Burnhope Reservoir. After a further 1Km, you should see a gravel area, here you will see a clear view of the reservoir. Continue to follow Grasshill Causeway up hill.

(4) At the next gate, go through the gate. To your left will be the cairn at Coldberry End. Look for a path to your left just past this heading in a South-East direction then South across the moors. This area is called Grasshill Common. Keep as close as you can to the South-Easterly direction for 1.8 Km. There is no clearly defined footpath here and to your right will be embankments and streams, stay to the right of these and head for the gate in the wall by the road.

Note: This route goes straight through grouse moorland so it may be closed during shooting season.

Alternative Route: After the cairn, stay on the gravel track. This joins the B6277 1 Km further along the road to the North. After passing through the last gate turn left and walk along the road to the white house (A).

(5) At about 1.4 Km into this section you should see some grouse butts (dips or walled areas where shooters are based). Continue in in the South-Westerly direction for the remaining 0.4 Km.

(6) When you reach the B6277, turn left (West) and walk to the white house. You will see a fingerpost opposite the house pointing to the next section of the walk (A).

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 332 m - Ireshopeburn Village Centre
1 : km 1.02 - alt. 387 m - Crossroads/Steps to Nowhere
2 : km 2.21 - alt. 444 m - Stone Wall with Gate
3 : km 3.29 - alt. 510 m - Layby/Passing Place
4 : km 5.28 - alt. 677 m - Gate/Causeway Hill
5 : km 6.75 - alt. 559 m - Grouse Butts
6 : km 7.12 - alt. 514 m - B6277
A : km 7.35 - alt. 520 m - White House on B6277

Useful Information

Start : Centre of Ireshopeburn (Nearby postcode DL13 1ES) junction Causeway Road and A689. Grid ref. NY 866 386

Transport: There is no transport at the end point of this walk, you will need to arrange a lift back to the start point of the walk if you have parked in Ireshopeburn. There is no dedicated parking here so please be mindful when parking on the street.

Facilities: There are no facilities on this route. It is extremely exposed and you should ensure you take everything you need with you including waterproof and windproof clothing and wear sturdy boots. You should also take a good map/compass with you as the final section of the walk is not defined and it is easy to get lost walking across the moors.

Accessibility: The initial route follows a road without footpaths and then a rough gravel track (follow the alternative route). It also includes a climb of 345m over the first 5km.

Accommodation: The closes accommodation is the Golden Lion in St John's Chapel. There are also numerous rental cottages in the area.

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

  • Weardale Museum and High House Chapel, Ireshopeburn - This small museum shows how people lived in this remote part of County Durham. The High House Chapel served the community for over 250 years and is preserved by the Weardale Museum. You can also see the Methodist Tapestries here.
  • Source of the Wear, Wearhead - Just to the left of the bridge in Wearhead you will see the point where the Killhope Burn and Burnhope Burn meet and become the River Wear.
  • Killhope Lead Mining Museum, Cowshill - Spend some time learning about the fascinating life high in the Pennines mining lead with a trip down the mine. A good diversion for a rest day. This is also the start of the Weardale Way if you would like to walk there.
  • Weardale Railway, Stanhope - A short distance away from Westgate is the town of Stanhope where you can pick up the Weardale Railway to Wolsingham. This line once served Westgate but is now maintained as a heritage railway terminating at Stanhope.
  • Weardale Adventure Centre, Ireshopeburn - For the more adventurous the adventure centre offers activities such as gorge walking and cave exploration.

Other walks in the area

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