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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Stanhope in Weardale

Another lovely day on Friday made us decide to go for a walk. We haven't been on many walks lately and we haven't been to the gym at all. I would much rather go on a walk than go to the gym so I have decided to stride out again at least twice a week. DJ agrees heartily, so we packed a flask and drove up Weardale to Stanhope. Walks are published each Thursday in The Northern Echo and this was one we had done before with the County Durham Walks so we felt confident about finding our way from the printed instructions. We walked up the escarpment behind the church, across the limestone quarries which were Stanhope's lifeblood in the industrial days of the last two centuries. The limestone was sent over the top to the Consett steel works and the rail trucks were hauled by winding engines.
The view above shows the waste heaps. Each one would have had a rail track along it for the wagons to go on, to tip the waste over the edge into the used part of the quarry.
We had finished the steepest part of the climb but were still only halfway up! We alarmed dozens of grouse and partridge and a rabbit or two as we trudged up through the heather.

Yes it is a grouse, but digital cameras are slow to start and so most of them got far away before I could aim and focus.
Lead was also mined from seams running through the limestone. This old adit would have followed a seam into the hillside until the lead ran out. It seemed to have been a bivouac for more than one person over the years.

Much of the land and therefore most of the mining companies were owned by the Church of England and so Durham Bishops and church officials were wealthy men. It was very common to use lead for the whole roof of the churches. Some still have a good covering even though the price of lead has led to increased thefts.

Stanhope still has its lead roof! And here's some I found on the way near the old adit. Pretty stuff.

Cheers Gillian


carol said...

I'm impressed and love the photos so keep on walking!
Is that really lead? I thought it came in dull grey strips. That looks intruigingly crystaline and pretty.

Mary Ann said...

I have just found your wonderful blog and will join if you don't mind! Loved your pictures!

chillsider stitching and opinions said...

I do so miss the hills here in the flat South. We live in Hill Cottage, but it is a lie.