Local area

Looking for information on Barnard Castle and the rest of Teesdale? Then pop into the Witham, the official Visitor Information Point for our town. This service is staffed by volunteers who will go the extra mile to help visitors make the most of time spent in the historic, ‘must-see’ market town of Barnard Castle.

Call in to pick up maps, walking guides and other literature about where to go, what to do and what to see in this beautiful area. We have an array of tourist leaflets and visitor information. Our friendly volunteers are always ready to offer advice to ensure you make the most of your visit.

We want you to love this place as much as we do, so we have produced a curated collection of walks to help you find your way around. A collection of routes brought together by local volunteers. Walked, tested, checked and authorised.

Two are in Barnard Castle itself, capital of Teesdale. Then there are twelve more walks, ranging over the dale, by streams, through woods, across moors. Want to know where the locals walk? Look no further.

Each of these walks is available in leaflet form at the shop in the Witham, for a small charge, or you can download a PDF below.

Around Barnard Castle town

Barnard Castle’s Yards – This is a wander through the town itself, using the narrow alleyways (known locally as ‘Yards’) of this ancient place. Stretch your legs and do a bit of history too. 

1 hour, 1.7 miles

Flatts Wood & Percy Beck – Two short circular walks in what was known as the ‘green lung’ of Barnard Castle when it was a thriving centre of the mill trade. History, flora and fauna, and a good stretch of those legs.

The King’s Walk; 45 minutes, 0.7 miles. The Cleveland Walk; 1 hour, 1 mile.

The Walking in Teesdale Series

 Twelve walks stretching further afield. Best take a map!

Walk 1 Barnard Castle and Abbey Bridge Circular ­– A picturesque, leisurely walk along lanes and across fields by the banks of the River Tees to Abbey Bridge and back. On the way you will pass the ruins of Egglestone Abbey. 

2 hours, 3.75 miles

Walk 2 Abbey Bridge and Whorlton Circular – A circular walk following the Teesdale Way along the River Tees downstream from Abbey Bridge past Meeting of the Waters and picturesque Dairy Bridge, made famous in the painting by Joseph Turner, through fields to Whorlton suspension bridge, returning on the much higher north bank, also designated as Teesdale Way, back to Abbey Bridge.

(Due to the closure of Whorlton Suspension Bridge, this route can now only operate as a ‘there and back’ walk on either side of the river from Abbey Bridge.)

3.5 hours, 6.5 miles

Walk 3 Barnard Castle and Lartington Circular – A leisurely walk, with one steep short hill, through the everchanging woods of Deepdale Wood Nature Reserve; through Lartington Estate with its large Hall; along open fields and finally back through the pine woods. These lead down towards the beck, which is heading for the River Tees, and takes you back to Barnard Castle. 

3 hours, 5.5 miles

Walk 4 Barnard Castle to Cotherstone – A walk through woods and fields, with a steep climb to the path high above the river and final descent through the trees back to the river. There are pleasant, pretty views, whatever the season, particularly of the castle. Crossing the two bridges at the end, there is the option to walk back to Barnard Castle or walk into Cotherstone. 

2.5 hours, 4.25 miles

Walk 5 Cotherstone to Barnard Castle – A leisurely walk which rises high above the River Tees, then leads through fields and woods, with several becks on the way. You will pass a disused quarry, a fishing lodge with lake, and one of the abutments of the old Tees Railway Viaduct, before finally crossing the River Tees and back to Barnard Castle. 

2.5 hours, 4.25 miles

Walk 6 Cotherstone East Circular – This circular walk has views of the River Tees, and the possibility of seeing deer and other wildlife. The walk passes the Quaker Meeting House, the tombstone of Abraham Hilton, founder of local charities, and The Hagg, former common pasture, with Hallgarth Hill above, site of a 12th Century Castle. 

1.5 hours, 2.25 miles

Walk 7 Cotherstone West Circular – This is a moderate circular route up Baldersdale, over fields, along a quiet road and a bridleway along the edge of Cotherstone Moor. There is a shorter option by returning before the moorland section.  

3 or 1.5 hours, 6 or 3 miles

Walk 8 Staindrop Circular – This is a leisurely circular walk from the attractive village of Staindrop, with one short steep bank with steps. First mentioned in 1050 as “Standropa”, it retained its charter for a weekly market and annual fair until 1796 when Barnard Castle became the market town for the area. Nearby is Raby Castle, the home of Lord Barnard, which is open to the public. 

2.5 hours, 4.5 miles

Walk 9 Bowes East Circular – A leisurely walk along lanes and across fields in the valley of the River Greta. In the churchyard of St. Giles, up the hill on the left, is the grave of William Shaw, headmaster of the old school in the village known as Shaw’s Academy. This became Dotheboys Hall in Dickens’ ‘Nicholas Nickleby’.                           

2.75 hours, 4.3 miles

Walk 10 Bowes West Circular – A walk through the picturesque village of Bowes, past Dotheboys Hall, and across the moors above the village. The return is via God’s Bridge and fields and lanes on the south side of the river. Boots are essential and the route should not be tackled in poor weather conditions unless you are an experienced walker. 

4 hours, 7.75 miles

Walk 11 Barnard Castle and Stainton Circular – A leisurely walk from Barnard Castle through woods and across fields to Stainton village, from where there are extensive views both up and across Teesdale. On a clear day the famous Tan Hill Inn can just be seen to the south-west, atop a Pennine ridge. The return is along a historic minor road, across fields, and along traffic-free footways back to the town centre.              

3 hours, 6 miles

Walk 12 Barnard Castle West Circular ‘The Bridges Walk – A long, leisurely walk through the ever changing Deepdale Woods Nature Reserve; through open fields to the historic and picturesque Nabb Bridge over Deepdale Beck; down to the village of Boldron; past the ruins of Egglestone Abbey and back to Barnard Castle.                             

6 hours, 11 miles

Other interesting places nearby

Other sources of information

For accommodation bookings and assistance with county-wide enquiries, please call the Durham Visitor Contact Centre on 03000 262 626

Visit County Durham

Visit Teesdale.com

Thanks to Professor Pete Redgrave for the use of his photographs. Copyright The Witham.