Edmondbyers to Stanhope – 26 October 2019

It is a long time since we have finished at Stanhope, our records show that the last time we were there was in September 2012. We did the same walks that time as we are doing on this occasion but there will not be many people that remember them. All the walks start from Edmondbyers and loop out west and east before swinging south to Stanhope.

The 11.5-mile route goes the furthest west and heads down to Sikehead Dam before swinging south through Stewart Shield Meadow to cross Stanhope Burn. This route then stays on the west side of Stanhope Burn all the way south to the A689 road with Stanhope a short distance away.

There are two 10.5-mile routes, one of them also goes west but swings south as it reaches the minor road coming from Edmondbyers. Just south of the strange-sounding name of the Dead Friar’s Stone there is a disused railway path called Wilkinson’s Cut that the route follows until it reaches the route of the Waskerley Way and a bit further south the old engine sheds at Weather Hill. It is then a walk downhill into Crawleyside and then down into Stanhope.

The other 10.5-mile route goes out to the east after leaving Edmondbyers and goes over the moor to Smiddy Shaw Reservoir and then down to the route of the Waskerley Way. It does a slight detour to skirt the northern edge of Waskerley Reservoir but continues on the Waskerley Way to pick up the same route as the other 10.5-mile walk at the Weather Hill engine sheds.

The area of our walks is quite remote and there is extensive moorland all around, so we are fortunate that our walks are on reasonably good footpaths and tracks but it still takes us quite a few hours to cover the distance down into Stanhope. Imagine if there where no footpaths to guide us and you were never quite sure which direction to take.

This is what happened to an English Army in the year 1327 when it was chasing a large raiding party from Scotland that was harassing the area to the south of Durham. In July of that year, the Engish forces led by Edward III on his first campaign chased the Scots eastwards but lost contact with them so headed north to cross the River Tyne and camped at Haydon Bridge. The idea was that they would wait there with the expectation that the Scots would have to head north to cross the border back into Scotland, the expectation was wrong because the Scots did not appear.

After a week, around the 27 July, the English army began to move south sending out scouts to look for the Scots. One of them, Thomas Rokesby was captured and then released by the Scots on the condition that he would ride back and direct the English army to them. The Scots were camped was just outside Stanhope. Looking at the map the easiest way to get from Haydon Bridge to Stanhope is along the River East Allen past Allendale and Allenhead and southeast to Rookhope and down towards Stanhope. It has to be somewhere in the region of 25 miles and much of it across some wet and marshy moorland. The English did it within a few days and on the 1 August found the Scots camped on a hill with no intention of coming off of it to fight.

On the night of 3–4 August, the Scots led a night attack on the English camp in which Edward III was nearly captured. Several hundred English were killed. The English were forced to keep a constant improved watch after this. On the night of 6–7 August, the Scottish army quietly broke camp and headed back toward Scotland. The English did not pursue. The attack was eventually to be called the Battle of Stanhope Park. How the Scots got back to Scotland is not known, the English probably headed for Durham and then southwards.

After chasing the Scots across all that moorland it’s not surprising that the English decided not to pursue them when they got up and left. Fortuately for us it has become a lot easier to find our way to Stanhope even though we have not been there for quite some time.

If you would like a walk in an area where its likely you will see no one else all day, much like the English and the Scots you can get in touch with us from our Contact Page and you can download the walk descriptions here and the GPS routes here.

The image for this post was taken on our last visit to Stanhope was taken high on the moors above Burnhope Burn.

Stanhope Weather

Walk No. 22 Edmundbyers to Stanhope 26 October 2019
Area: Wearside Map: Exp 307

10.5 miles Moderate
Start: Edmondbyres
Burnhope Bridge – Limerick Edge – College – Pedam’s Oak – Belmount – Near Sandyford – Far Sandyford – Dead Friar’s Stone – Grid Red NY977447 – Permissive Path to Fell Haven – Waskerly Way – Weather Hill Engine – Crawley Engine – Crawley Edge – Stanhope

10.5 miles Moderate
Start: Edmondbyres
East Cot House – West Cot House – Lamb Shield Farm – Smiddy Shaw Reservoir – Waskerly Way – Waskerly Reservoir – Waskerly Way – Weather Hill Engine – Crawley Engine – Crawley Edge – Stanhope

11.5 miles Moderate
Start: Edmondbyres
Black Hill – Limerick Cottage – Swandale Head – Cuthbert’s Currick – Old Mans Grave – Sikehead Dams – Burnhope Dam – Dead Friar’s Stone – Stewart Shield Meadow – Hope House – Shield Hurst – Stanhope Burn – Stanhope Hall – Stanhope

Pub: The Bonny Moorhen Tel No. 01388 528877