If you look carefully at the river bank directly below you, you will see more massive blocks of stone.

The river levels we provide for each monitoring station are all relative to its site datum. John Leland, an historian in the 16th century, wrote “Hard under the clif by Egleston is found on eche side of the Tese very fair marble, wont to be taken up booth by marbelers of Barnardes (Castelle) and of Egelston, and partly wrought by them, and partely sold onwrought to other”. This jumble of rocks is all that’s left of another industry which owed its origins to the river – a marble quarry. These acts controversially forced the enclosure of common lands and transferred them to the ownership of wealthy landowners, often causing conflict and bloodshed. The path climbs up to a squeeze-stile in a wall and out onto a bridge. We collect data more frequently Look over the wall to see its shape still visible in the river. Egglestone marble had many merits over other building materials: it could be extracted in large blocks, had an attractive colour and was suitable for carving. Continue through two more fields, with wooden hand-gates, until a gap in a stone wall leads down some steps to a wooden footbridge, crossing a small stream. It is a beautiful stretch of the river, with a series of waterfalls. Egglestone marble had many merits over other building materials: it could be extracted in large blocks, had an attractive colour and was suitable for carving. Although the poem sold 10,000 copies in the first three months, it was not a great success and his hope proved to be in vain. Here, the primary purpose of the walls is to contain sheep and cattle and prevent them from straying. Later, the emerging coal and shipping industries, especially in Sunderland and Gateshead, increasingly needed paper for stationery, wrapping and packaging. Turn right across the bridge, watching out for passing vehicles and stop in one of the niches. The North Pennines then lay almost astride the equator and Teesdale basked in a tropical climate. Although the font is in three sections, it would have required both strong and highly-skilled men to hew, shape, carve and transport it a mile and a half from the quarry at along the banks of the Tees uphill to the church.

Notice its riverside location. You may also be able to see some slabs of rock slanting down into the river just beyond. The smaller central cobbles and larger outer flagstones helped the smooth running of cartwheels. There was another quarry sited on the opposite bank known as Mains House Quarry, which dates back to at least 1307. No cows but plenty of mud. This pile of stones  are part of what was once a lime kiln, a furnace built to extract lime from limestone.

Pause here to take in the view. Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, writing of a tour of Britain in 1724-27, referred to it as ‘.

Whilst it may now look somewhat placid, at times the Tees is one of the fastest-flowing rivers in Britain and the level can rise dramatically. Continue uphill to the end of the metal barrier and turn right at the footpath signpost marked “Teesdale Way”.

These are a clue to the building’s original use. Keep ahead on the stone track through the centre of the park. Turn right along this, heading downhill, and it will lead you into the Caravan Park. Over 350 pieces remain in existence. Very little road walking. We left the castle grounds and followed the road past Castle Bridge, which dates back to the 14th century. A throng of local people, workers and visiting dignitaries progressed across the newly-opened wonder of the Whorlton suspension bridge, accompanied by a ‘band of music’. Or In fact, at different times, this whole area alternated between swampy deltas and deeper seas. Scott wrote the poem in the hope that the proceeds would help to pay for the building of his new cottage at Abbotsford in his native Scotland. On a sunny Teesdale day, there could be nowhere better to relax or let off steam than Whorlton Lido. From the 1970s, it even had its own miniature, 15-inch gauge railway, which was very popular, especially with children. Durham: Durham Cathedral, 21.7 miles away. Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, writing of a tour of Britain in 1724-27, referred to it as ‘a terrible river, so rapid’.

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is a Registered Charity, No. 2.4K likes.

Today it is maintained by English Heritage and is refreshingly free of ticket booths and gift shops. And a couple of ghosts and a river sprite, just for good measure! John Leland on his tour of Britain in the sixteenth century wrote ‘About a quarter mile beneath Eggleston is a faire quarrie of black marble spotted with white, in the very ripe (edge) of the Tees.’.


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