The English frontier zone, Northumberland played a key role in the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century, with many remains still left as stark reminders of its rugged beauty.
- Mileage 35.3 mi
- Elevation 2175 ft
Set against a vast open moorland this ride will offer remote riding and quiet village stops, industrial relics and stunning scenery.
Even this far into the wilds you’ll still find places to rest and maybe enjoy a coffee break. Parkhead Station opened in 1834 to transport limestone from the quarries above Stanhope in Weardale and coal from the various collieries in North Durham to South Shields right through until railway traffic ceased on this original Stanhope and Tyne route from 1 May 1969.
The engine house, built in 1846 by the Weardale Iron Company, is a legacy of the area’s mining history and a survivor of the railway industry in County Durham. Located at the top of a long slope, the building once housed a steam-driven engine that hauled wagons full of iron ore, lead and limestone for more than a mile up and down the hillside.
Dropping down from Bolts Law into the quiet village of Rookhope once the centre of lead and fluorspar mining in the Dale. The last mine closed in 1999.
A local landmark is the Rookhope Arch at Lintzgarth, a few hundred yards west up the valley; one of the few remaining parts of the 2 miles (3.2 km) Rookhope Chimney. This “horizontal” chimney (parallel to the ground, which actually rises steeply to the moors) was used to carry poisonous flue gases from the Rookhope lead smelting works up onto the high moor. Periodically, lead and silver carried over in the gases and deposited in the chimney were dug out and recovered, rather than going to waste.
Exploring a little further out of the village brings you to the remains of Groverake Mine… the ruins of an old lead and fluorspar mine in the Pennines with the headframe and some buildings still visible.
After exploring the abandoned mine its back up and over the Pennines towards Blanchland.
Set beside the river in a wooded section of the Derwent valley, Blanchland was formed out of the medieval Blanchland Abbey. It is a conservation village, largely built of stone from the remains of the 12th-century Abbey. It features picturesque houses, set against a backdrop of deep woods and open moors.
Leaving Blanchland along quiet country roads skirting past Derwent Reservoir and through the village of Edmundbyers with a quick stop off to check out the Viking statues (origin unknown?).
Places of Interest
- Bolts Law Engine House
- Rookhope Arch
- Groverake Mine
- Derwent Reservoir
Places to stop
- Parkhead Station
- White Monk Tearoom (Blanchland)