The Grey Panthers
22 April 2015, - Bishop Auckland, Escomb & Witton-le-Wear

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11.8 miles

Explorer Map 305, - Bishop Auckland

Keep this walk for a dry, sunny day and you will be well rewarded. There is riverside scenery to enjoy, the wonderful Saxon Church at Escomb, and the pretty village of Witton-le-Wear. Additionally there is the parkland at Witton Castle, with its beck and waterfall and plenty of wild flowers in the Spring.
Navigation is straightforward, utilising the Weardale Way for much of the route.
However, the footpath between Bishop Auckland and Escomb can be VERY muddy in parts, and in the scrub woodland near the River Wear can be tricky in parts.
There was a section of the footpath between Witton Park (the village) and Witton-le-Wear where the path descends to the River Wear and follows the river for about 100 yards. This section is quite tricky, first using a narrow concrete wall and then crossing some uneven and slippery rocks. If the River Wear is running high you will have additional problems at this point.

Memory Map
For a Memory Map overlay of the walk described, please select the above link.
(Overlay made with Version 5 of Memory Map)

Some new mapping software is now available which you may want to try, - QUO mapping. You can download the software for free from the link below, complete with demonstration maps. Having installed QUO, you can import and export Memory Map overlays. Thus YOU DON'T NEED Memory Map to use any of the overlays provided on the Grey Panthers web site, - just use QUO!!

Quo logo

Start from Batts the car park near the river in Bishop Auckland (NZ21074 30352).
Walk beside the River Wear towards the Newton Cap Viaduct and the Newton Cap Bridge.
At the Newton Cap Bridge, turn left on the road and head uphill for about 100 yards. Now turn right down the road that leads to the Rugby ground, and continue until you come to the stile at a the ground that overlooks the River Wear.
Head up to Broken Bank, some scrubby woodland, and look for the path that follows the River Wear.
Follow this path, either beside the river itself, or across fields, to Escomb.
In Escomb, find the Weardale Way footpath South of the Saxon Church. Follow this footpath to the village of Witton Park.
At Witton Park, walk under the railway line, then turn right and walk past the Methodist Church. At the ned of this street, turn right and continue along the road until you see a stile on your left which takes you onto the Weardale Way footpath.
Follow the footpath until you meet the track North of Witton Castle. Continue along the track to Witton Bridge.
On the North side of the bridge, take the Weardale Way footpath to the village of Witton-le-Wear.
Return to Witton Bridge by the footpath in Witton-le-Wear that is signposted just past the Methodist Chapel.
Retrace your steps from Witton Bridge to where the footpath joined the track, but at this point turn right to take the track uphill through the woodland.
Almost immediately this track splits. The right hand track, - the Long Walk, takes you past the caravan park to exit at the road by the gates that were once the main entrance to Witton Park and Castle. The left hand track leads to the same point, but allows you to take a field footpath to the village of Witton Park.
From the gates at the entrance to Witton Park and Witton Castle, head Eastwards along the road, past the villages of Witton Park and Woodside.
Just past Woodside, take the field footpath back to Escomb, and thence return to Bishop Auckland.

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