39. The Barnard Castle Loop
Meeting Point: Bowes Museum, Newgate, Barnard Castle, DL12 8NP
Steeped in history, the Bowes Museum is the start of this stage of The Big Smile, once again giving us the chance to enjoy the spectacular County Durham countryside.
Heading eastwards out of Barnard Castle, we follow the River Tees, before crossing it to arrive at the ruins of Egglestone Abbey which was founded in the late 12th century by the Premonstatensians, or ‘White Canons’ as they became known.
From here we head back to Barnard Castle on the other side of the Tees, before crossing it again to pick up the Teesdale Way, winding its way below the remnants of the castle. We follow a riverside path through gentle woodland with some short, hillier stretches, all the way to the scenic village of Cotherstone.
Turning at Cotherstone, the walk heads back by the river once more, before rising up through meadows and woodland, heading through Barnard Castle and finishing at Bowes Museum.
Distance: 19.3 km (11.9 miles)
Difficulty Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Sponsored By: North Star