Egglestone Abbey & Barnard Castle

Walk Summary

A nice and easy walk on both banks of the River Tees visiting the remains of Egglestone Abbey and the superb fortress of Barnard Castle.

Distance: 3.8 miles
Total ascent: 630ft
Walk Rating: ****
Parking: Car park, Egglestone Abbey
Route: Download Route [GPX]

Photo Gallery

Walk Report

My daughter Rhiannon is not always the easiest to persuade to go for a walk. This is a shame, not only do I enjoy sharing walks with her but the vast majority of the time she does enjoy herself. On this occasion, as it was Father's Day, I didn't have too many complaints about going for a walk. I don't like to push my luck though so I rarely take her for a walk more than 3.5 - 4.5 miles. I also like to plan walks with her that contain many features of interest and that is what attracted me to this short walk featuring the remains of an abbey and a castle that I'd long wanted to visit.

The walk could just as easily have started in Barnard Castle but instead I decided to make use of the small car park at Egglestone Abbey. As a result we visited the abbey remains at the very start of the walk. Owned by English Heritage, entrance to Egglestone Abbey is free of charge. Founded by Premonstratensians from Easby Abbey in 1196 the abbey survived until 1540. As with many abbeys the ruins are picturesque and are well worth a visit.

From the abbey we dropped down to the road. Turning right a short way we then crossed the River Tees at Abbey Bridge. On the other side we joined the Teesdale Way path to head upstream towards Barnard Castle. It was all very pleasant and easy going but all too soon we reached the outskirts of Barnard Castle.

The town is named after the large castle that is situated on cliffs high above the River Tees. I've driven past Barnard Castle many times on my visits to Teesdale so it was about time that I finally paid it a proper visit. As with the abbey the remains of Barnard Castle are also managed by English Heritage. At the time of writing the entrance charges are £5.40 for an adult and £3.20 for a child.

We spent quite some time exploring the ruins of the castle and had our picnic on one of the lawns. Eventually though it was time to go. Leaving the castle we dropped down the road to cross Barnard Castle Bridge. Turning left we walked a short distance along the pavement before taking a path on the left back along the riverside.

The highlight of the return was the lovely waterfall below Demesnes Mill, which is situated on the opposite bank. Although no more than a modest ledge in the river the waterfall made a nice place to halt for a while and enjoy the scenery.

Returning to the path we continued for just a short distance in the company of the river. Passing briefly through a caravan park the final section of the walk was along a field edge on the outside of some woods above the river. This soon led to the minor road leading to Egglestone Abbey and back to the start of the walk.

As expected Rhiannon enjoyed the walk and my wife Lisa got a photo of Rhiannon and I walking together which I think is particularly lovely. It should be noted that Rhiannon also spent most of the walk begging to be allowed to have a Maltese dog and speculating on what she would call a dog if she got one. I didn't give in to her imprecations but forever after this walk will be remembered as the 'Maltese Walk'.

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