47. A Blanchland Hike
Meeting Point: Blanchland Public Car Park, Blanchland, Consett, DH8 9TA
With some spectacular countryside ahead, this beautiful stage of The Big Smile trek begins in Blanchland with a looping stretch, much of which follows the River Derwent.
We then head back towards the village at Baybridge, before rising up onto the moors and following a track towards Slaley forest.
Staying on the fringes of the forest, we aim for Winnows Hill, before turning back on ourselves across the moor and dropping down Pennypie Fell, and then back into Blanchland.
From river to moorland, forest to fells, we are surrounded by a wide variety of flora and fauna. History and heritage is all around us in the shape of the old Shildon mines and, of course, in the village itself. Blanchland has straddled the Durham/Northumberland border since 1165, and is widely recognised to be one of the country’s prettiest villages.
Distance: 22.3 km (13.86 miles)
Difficulty Rating: ★★★☆☆