46. Durham Dales
Meeting Point: Demesne Mill Picnic Area, Wolsingham, DL13 3DG
The region’s lead mining industry is in evidence again on this stage of The Big Smile, when we’re back in County Durham. Beginning and ending in Wolsingham, we start by leaving the town and climbing up onto high ground above the Wear Valley, reaching a high point of 480 metres, before dropping down towards Bollihope.
We follow the Bollihope Burn until it meets the River Wear beyond Frosterley. From here, we follow a track between the river and the Weardale railway which leads us back to our starting point in Wolsingham.
This is a true dales walk, with a tough uphill section at the beginning, compensated by a gentle, flat, finishing stretch. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, there is plenty of wildlife to be seen over the dales, along with the littered remnants of Weardale’s lead mining heritage.
Distance: 24.2 km (15.04 miles)
Difficulty Rating: ★★★★☆