Westgate to Ireshopeburn - Durham Round Trail

The 11th section of the walk follows a ridge above the River Wear affording stunning views down to the villages and river in the valley below. This walk is covers a relatively short section but can be extended by returning to Westgate via one of the alternative routes which allows exploration of the route or by joining with other sections of the route. There are a number of attractions in the area so this may be a good place to use as a base for a few days.

Technical sheet No. 31831520

A Stanhope walk posted on 20/03/23 by sarahhcfe. Last update : 10/05/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h00 ?
Distance Distance : 5.66 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 138 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 81 m
Highest point Highest point : 382 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 275 m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Stanhope
Starting point Starting point : N 54.737645° / W 2.143787°
Ending point Ending point : N 54.742644° / W 2.208555°
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Start : Hare and Hounds, Westgate (DL13 1RX) Grid ref. NY 908 380

(D) From the Hare and Hounds, walk West along Front Street (A689) until you reach the Methodist Chapel. Turn right (North) and walk up the track for 130 m, then bear left through the farmyard and continue North along the track. The field boundary will be on your left. Cross the stile and head towards the farm.

(1) Pass the farm which will be on your left and join the more well-defined track, still heading North. You will now have the Crooked Well (stream) on your right. You will cross the stream and pass a ruined building (High Crooked Well) on your right, continue following the track North-West. The track will reach a gate by a building.

(2) Go through the gate and turn left (South-West) onto Side Head.

(3) After 600 m or so, at the cluster of buildings including Ashbrow Cottage, Side Head will turn Westwards.

(4) When you reach the ruined building and layby on your left, look for the wooden fingerpost and gap in the wall. Turn left through the gap and walk South-Westwards down the hill. Join the track for 100 m then go through the gate and cross the road. Look for a gap in the wall and continue South-West on grass footpath until you reach the track junction with the Weardale Way near the banks of the River Wear.

(5) Turn right and follow the Weardale Way Westwards, St John's Chapel will be visible on the other side of the river. When you reach the Pennine Lodge Campsite, ignore the bridge and continue on the north bank of the River Wear.

(6) At Coronation Bridge go through the gap in the wall. At this point, you can cross the bridge to visit the Weardale Museum which is to your left as you cross the bridge. Return across the bridge after your visit. Rejoin the Weardale Way on the left-hand side of the bridge.

When you reach the next bridge, leave the Weardale Way and turn left to cross the bridge and walk South down Anita's Wy to the A689. Turn right (West) and continue along the road until you reach the centre of Ireshopeburn where you will find the bus stop (A).

Alternative Route 1: From the Hare and Hounds you can follow the Weardale Way all the way to Iresheope Burn. From the Hare and Hounds, turn south and cross the River Wear. Cross the stile at the bottom and turn left following the path to the south of the River Wear. On reaching the ford at Burn Foot, turn left and cross the footbridge. When you reach the junction turn left and walk around the bend, look for the fingerpost on your left. Rejoin the route at (5).

Alternative Route 2 (Accessible): From the Hare and Hounds follow the A689 all the way to Ireshopeburn passing through the villages of Daddry Shield and St John's Chapel which has a number of shops. Although this follows the main road, there is a tarmac footpath albeit narrow in places and this allows an opportunity to explore the villages.

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 275 m - Hare and Hounds, Westgate
1 : km 0.98 - alt. 338 m - Crooked Well Farm
2 : km 1.44 - alt. 371 m - Side Head/Building
3 : km 2.05 - alt. 382 m - Ashbrow Cottage
4 : km 2.95 - alt. 374 m - Layby
5 : km 3.39 - alt. 301 m - Track Junction with the Weardale Way
6 : km 4.75 - alt. 314 m - Wellbank/Coronation Bridge
A : km 5.66 - alt. 332 m - Ireshopeburn Village Centre

Useful Information

Transport: Park in the layby on Front Street, Westgate. Weardale Bus 101 connects Ireshopeburn and Westgate (not Sunday).

Facilities: There are public toilets in St John's Chapel and Wearhead (next village after Ireshopeburn). Refreshments can be taken at the Hare and Hounds in Westgate, as well as the Golden Lion, Blue Bell Inn and Chatterbox Cafe in St John's Chapel.

Accessibility: The official route includes very small gaps in stone walls as well as grass paths and inclines. An alternative route has been described above.

Accommodation: The Golden Lion in St John's Chapel provides accommodation and there are a number of cottages and bed and breakfasts in the area if you wish to base yourself here.

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.