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Beamish Park and Causey Arch

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Beamish Park and Causey Arch
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 18 Jun 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guidestar1 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guidestar1 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guidestar0 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guidestar0 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide
County Durham, Stanley
Walk Type: History trail
Beamish Park and Causey Arch
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide boot Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide boot Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide
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A 4 mile circular walk from the small village of Causey in County Durham. The walk follows farm tracks and local lanes to reach the nearby woodland within Beamish Park before crossing open countryside to reach the beautiful gorge with Causey Burn flowing at its base. Here you will have chance to explore some of Britain’s most important industrial heritage, visiting Causey Arch, the oldest surviving single arch railway bridge.

The walk follows a mixture of lanes, tracks and paths through woodland and fields. Whilst some of the paths are surfaced with stone, others can get fairly muddy and some of the fenced field-side paths can also get overgrown in the summer. Good boots and long trousers are a must. There are a couple of steady climbs and descents plus an optional steeper section into the gorge bottom. There are several sections of walking along roads and, whilst the main roads have pavements, the smaller roads do not, so take care of traffic at these points. You will need to negotiate five stiles (all of which have open fence surrounds for dogs to pass through) plus a number of flights of steps and a few wooden footbridges. Approximate time 2 hours.

Causey is located a few miles south west of Gateshead in County Durham. The walk starts and finishes from the Causey Arch car park and picnic area which is signed with a brown sign from the A6076. Turn west off the A6076 (opposite the Causey Arch Inn), go over the level crossing and the car park is immediately on the left. Continue past the first parking lay-by (by the tea room) and you will come to the main large free car park. Approximate post code NE16 5EG.

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Walk Sections

Start to Woodland Gate
Start to Woodland Gate

Start point: 54.8997 lat, -1.682 long
End point: 54.8941 lat, -1.6711 long

From the main car park, continue along the access lane and follow it out via the marked vehicle exit, passing under the railway bridge. You will reach the main A6076 ahead. Cross over with care to reach the pavement on the opposite side. Turn left along this and follow it past two bus stops.

Take the first turning on the right (immediately before the pub) and follow this uphill (taking care of traffic). At the top of the short slope you will come to a T-junction with Beamish Burn Road, with a hotel opposite. Turn right along the road edge (using the right-hand verge to avoid any traffic). After just a short distance take the first track on the left, signed as a public footpath, a stone track with concrete wheel tracks.

Follow this uphill and, where it swings right, keep ahead to join the narrow path between hedgerows. At the fork take either branch (they both merge again shortly), although the left-hand branch is often less muddy. You will emerge out to a farm track, keep left along this heading downhill. At the bottom of the slope fork right onto the smaller path between hedgerows. The path will lead you to an old metal gate at the edge of a belt of woodland.

Woodland Gate to Beamish Burn
Woodland Gate to Beamish Burn

Start point: 54.8941 lat, -1.6711 long
End point: 54.8862 lat, -1.6769 long

Pass through the gap alongside the gate and then bear right to follow the track through the section of woodland. Follow the track gradually downhill and, some way along, it will lead you between a number of properties. At the bottom you will emerge to a crossroads, with the entrance gates for Beamish Hall Hotel opposite.

Turn right along the road between pretty old stone walls, taking particular care of any occasional traffic along this stretch. Follow the road for about half a mile, passing Longmeadow Hall on the right. A little further along, as the road bends right, turn left into the entrance for Beamishburn Picnic Area.

Follow the access lane and, at the end of the parking area, keep straight ahead on the tarmac path. After just a few yards you will come to a footbridge over the large stream, Beamish Burn.

Beamish Burn to Great North Forest Trail
Beamish Burn to Great North Forest Trail

Start point: 54.8862 lat, -1.6769 long
End point: 54.8868 lat, -1.6885 long

Cross the bridge and then follow the path which swings right, following the burn on the right. At the next fork, take the right-hand branch still closest to the waterway. Soon you will pass a small weir within the burn (with a stone bridge and bench ahead). Turn left here, onto the path which leads you up some wooden steps within the woodland.

At the top you will emerge to a T-junction with a wider path. Turn right along this and follow it for some distance. This woodland is part of the larger Beamish Park, once the grounds of Beamish Hall. The hall was home to the Shafto family one of whom, Bobby Shafto, was made famous in the nursery rhyme.

The path will lead you out (alongside a vehicle barrier) to reach a T-junction with Beamish Burn Road. Turn left, following the right-hand edge of the road. After just 50 yards turn right on to the signed footpath, the stone track for Mole Hill Farm. As you reach the wooden gate ahead, cross the stile or use the handy gap to the right-hand side, and continue on the track ahead. The track climbs first steadily and then more steeply.

At the top you will come to the private property gate ahead. Turn left onto the narrow path through thick balsam. Cross the stile into the field. Keep ahead along the right-hand boundary and the stile at the top leads you to the grass slope down to the A6076. Cross the road with care and take the path opposite, the Great North Forest Trail.

Great North Forest Trail to Railway Bridge
Great North Forest Trail to Railway Bridge

Start point: 54.8868 lat, -1.6885 long
End point: 54.8904 lat, -1.6973 long

Follow the path up the slope and ahead (this section can get overgrown). As you reach the brow of the hill you will have great views to the left of the town of Stanley with the distinctive tower of St Andrew’s Church visible above the trees.

Continue along the fenced path with (vigorous!) hedgerow to the right and a paddock to the left, passing over a pair of platform stiles along the way. Keep your eyes peeled here, you may be lucky (as we were) to see a lapwing or skylark. The narrow path descends steadily and, about half-way down it dog-legs through the hedgerow to continue down the left-hand edge of the adjacent crop field.

The stile at the bottom of the field leads you out to a T-junction with a road. Cross over with care and turn right along the pavement. Follow the road for about half a mile, crossing over the side road for the industrial estate along the way. You will see some old railway gates on the right, the first sign of this area’s industrial heritage that you are about to explore.

About 100 yards further, cross over the main road to turn right onto the access lane by the Tanfield Railway sign (marked as a public footpath). Follow the access lane past the vehicle barrier to reach the gravel parking area. Down to the right you will be able to see the old East Tanfield Station. This is the southern terminus of the heritage Tanfield Railway which claims to be the oldest working railway in the world. It was built in the 1720s to transport coal from the County Durham collieries to the River Tyne where it could be transported by ship to London. Today it operates steam services for passengers on Sundays and demonstration freight services.

Keep straight ahead to join the stone path into a section of woodland. Some way along, a single step leads the path right and you will come to the point at which the railway crosses Causey Burn. This iron girder railway bridge is the only remnant of the colliery, coke ovens, brickworks, railways and reservoirs of East Tanfield.

Railway Bridge to End
Railway Bridge to End

Start point: 54.8904 lat, -1.6973 long
End point: 54.8999 lat, -1.682 long

Continue on the stone path with the large stream, Causey Burn, flowing to the right. Ignore the footbridge over the water, simply stay on the path along the left-hand bank. The path gradually swings left away from the burn, climbing steadily and then levels off.

The path is the remains of the old wagonway where wooden rails were used for horse-drawn wagons to transport coal from the collieries. Gravity carried the loaded wagons downhill (with horses behind to stop the wagons from going too fast) and then the horses pulled the empty wagons back up the hill. In its heyday (from 1726 to 1740) a wagon would be passing every 20 seconds. From this elevation you will have unusual views of tree tops, the trees growing from the base of the gorge far below.

Continue for some distance further and eventually the path swings left up a flight of steps. At the staggered T-junction at the top, turn right. A short distance later you will pass an information board on the left and then pass between black railings as you begin to cross the old stone bridge across the gorge, Causey Arch. Continue just half way across and take time to enjoy the views into the gorge below. This arch carried the wagonway over the gorge, 85 feet below you and, built in 1725-6, it is the oldest surviving single arch railway bridge in the world.

Here you have two choices:

For the short cut which excludes the trip to the base of the gorge, continue along to the opposite side of the arch where you will see a wooden wagon. Keep left here and follow the path back to the car park.

For the full walk, to see Causey Arch from below, retrace your steps back to the start of the arch and (where the railings end) turn right and follow the steps down into the gorge base. You will have a great view of the imposing structure, an incredibly impressive engineering feat of its time which relied on Roman construction methods.

The path swings left and leads you over the first footbridge. The water quality of this section of Causey Burn (part of the River Team) has improved greatly over the years since industry has ceased. Watch out for signs of kingfishers, water voles, otters, herons, dragonflies and damselflies.

Keep ahead along the woodland path and cross the second footbridge. Keep right and you will pass a large rock face to the right which is popular with climbers. Cross the third footbridge and swing left. Do NOT cross the fourth footbridge, instead swing right onto the stone path up the steps. At the top of the first flight of steps, turn left along the level path. This will lead you back to the car park where the walk began.

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6 images to "Beamish Park and Causey Arch"

3343_0craigsuperkev1453652890 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide Image by: craigsuperkev
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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3343_0craigsuperkev1453652917 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide Image by: craigsuperkev
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3343_0craigsuperkev1453652940 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide Image by: craigsuperkev
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3343_0craigsuperkev1453652964 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide Image by: craigsuperkev
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3343_0craigsuperkev1453652992 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide Image by: craigsuperkev
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3343_0craigsuperkev1453653025 Beamish Park and Causey Arch Walking Guide Image by: craigsuperkev
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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