Sunday, January 06, 2008

6 January: A walk in East Durham

East Durham - land of pit villages and closed pits, poverty and poor health. The place for our country walk on this bright sunny January Sunday.

We set off along an old wagon way, and then turned into fields with the remains of ancient hawthorn hedges -

One of the fields sloped down to this limestone outcrop covered with beech trees -

The sheep have prevented any natural regeneration of the trees, so there are only old ones to be seen. The path wound between trees above a sunken trackway -

Further on we got confused, as the leaflet describing the walk had clearly been written several years ago, as gates, fences, and stiles had changed or disappeared, and we had just walked off the edge of the Ordnance Survey sheet we took with us.

Eventually we found the right path, with only a small trouser tear and several hands covered in muck from clambering over fences, and in an overgrown tussocky area we sat on mossy logs in the sunshine and ate our lunch.

More fields, lots of clarts, and as the boots grew heavier with the accumulating mud, we reached a lane, where we turned towards the main road; we crossed this, then took a bridleway through another wood, past a small lake where members of the local angling club were enjoying gazing at a bit of dark water; onto a tarmac path (EU investment in economically depressed areas), and up another bit of wagon way, back to the car.

I used to drive through here on my way to work for several years, but had never explored it on foot. From the road there is no hint of how pleasant the landscape is. We plan to return and explore further another time.


Murph said...

You should alwatys return to your roots stitch. In this case they look like something from Hansel & Gretel.

KAZ said...

Those leafets describing walks eh?
How often does a Sunday afternoon stroll turns into a death defying struggle of epic proportions because of a broken bridge, a new quarry or an unexpected landslide?

stitchwort said...

Hansel and Gretel? Oddly enough, we had gingerbread with our tea when we got back.

Not as dramatic as a broken bridge - a log-pile replaced by an abandoned car seat and a gate, and a stile replaced (long ago)by a barbed wire fence. Plus a not very precise map on the leaflet.

But we need small adventures.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a lovely place for a walk. I enjoyed reading about it.

stitchwort said...

Hello wildgarlic and thank you.

Lucy said...

Wildgarlic, now there's an interesting name...
I rather miss those kind of beechwoods.