Durham City - along the Wear (approx 5 miles)

This walk is available to download as an e book in Kindle format from Amazon - take the route description with you on your mobile device.

Map: Sheet 308 Durham and Sunderland
Start: NZ 275 424 - the steps at the north west of Elvet Bridge
Route: the route takes in clear, riverside paths, open fields, woodland and city streets. Note, the spikes in the elevation graph are probably caused by GPS inaccuracies when walking in the steep-sided river valley.

This route is a variation of an earlier version
Links to Route Files: Ordnance Survey OS Maps online (may only available to OSMaps subscribers) or .gpx (exported from OS Maps app on Android device - can be imported into many devices).

More info:

route profile
Refreshments: We were too early to call in for a drink at the Rose Tree at Shincliffe, but we enjoyed refreshment at BizR, an independent coffee shop just off North Road.

There is a wide selection of cafes and bars at either side of Framwellgate Bridge - and plenty more close to the start/finish of the walk.

steps down from the north west corner of Elvet Bridge, Durham Take the steps down from the north west corner of Elvet Bridge down to the riverside walk. At the bottom of the steps go left to pass between the modern shopping centre and the Boat Club bar. Walk under New Elvet Bridge and …
riverside path by River Wear, Durham … follow the path alongside the river.
riverside path by River Wear, Durham About 0.8 mile (1.25 Km) from the start the path divides - take the right hand fork to stay close to the river. A little further on continue past a footbridge across the river (to shorten the walk, you can cross this bridge to pick up the route again).
Rose and Crown pub, Shincliffe The path comes out on the A177 at Shincliffe, opposite the Rose and Crown pub. Turn right to cross the bridge …
A177 at Shincliffe … then right again, following the footpath on the opposite bank of the Wear.
footbridge over River Wear Continue until you reach the footbridge.
path leading to Maiden Castle Wood At the bridge turn away from the river, to follow the wide path pictured, then bear right through the wooden gate and immediately left to walk through Maiden Castle Wood until …
Maiden Castle Wood … the path divides - take the right-hand fork, walking uphill. At first the path is clear, but on the winter day on which we followed this route, the path became hidden under fallen leaves.
leaving Maiden Castle Wood Leave the woods by climbing over the stile pictured …
Whinney Hill … heading towards the left hand tree (which was decorated with pairs of training shoes hanging from its branches). When you reach the tree, pause to admire the view of the cathedral on your left.
Whinney Hill Turn right, following a faint path …
Whinney Hill … towards bushes at the north east corner of the field …
Maiden Castle Wood ... where a wooden stile …
Maiden Castle Wood … leads to a narrow path with a steep drop on the right and bushes on the left. The bushes gave way to a building site, before the path turned sharp left. Follow the path to meet a road which takes you to …
near to Whinney Hill and Durham Prison … the edge of Durham Prison. Turn left in front of the houses pictured - then first right, passing prison buildings on the right (including the listed Tithe Barn, now used as the prison officers' club).

At the end of this street turn right on to Halligarth Street. Turn left …
Victoria pub, Halgarth Street, Durham … down the cobbled lane by the Victoria pub. At the end of the lane, cross the road and bear left to …
war memorial, outside St Oswald's Church, Durham … follow the path to the right of the the war memorial, through the graveyard. This leads down to a riverside path.
Prebends Bridge, Durham As you round the bend, you will catch a first glimpse of the Grade 1 listed Prebends' Bridge (more details of this and Durham's other historic bridges).
'Revealed', a sculpture by artist Richard Cole Close to Prebends' Bridge you will pass this stone column - Revealed, a sculpture by artist Richard Cole. It was installed in 1997, commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral and is constructed from stone pinnacles from the cathedral.

If you wish to shorten the walk, you can cross Prebends' Bridge to pick up the route again.
river, weir and cathedral, Durham The path continues, passing the weir and providing great views of the cathedral.
Framwellgate Bridge At Framwellgate Bridge, climb the steps …
Framwellgate Bridge and Durham Castle … and cross the bridge (or, as we did, stop at one of the nearby café/bars for refreshment). Once across the bridge look out …
Silver Street, Durham ... for the narrow passageway on the right (between the 2 A-boards in the photograph).
riverside path, Durham Steps lead down to the path on the opposite bank - continue along this, heading down to the river on your right.
The Storyteller's Chair, riverside path, Durham You pass another sculpture, The Storyteller's Chair, before walking under Prebends' Bridge, pictured in the background.
the Count's House, riverside path, Durham Shortly after Prebends Bridge you will see the Count's House, a Grecian style folly built around 1810. An information board nearby provides more information (or see the sculpture trail leaflet).

Continuing around the bend of the river …
Dunelm House,Durham … you walk under the listed Kingsgate footbridge and a view to Dunelm House on the opposite bank. The future of brutalist building is currently subject to controversy, with the University seeking to demolish it, whilst the 20th Century Society are attempting to have it listed.
Elvet Bridge, Durham The next bridge is where we started the walk …
walking towards Elvet Bridge, Durham … instead of retracing our path up the steps, we walked under one of the bridge arches to emerge through the gates pictured.

Other walks near here:

All text and images ©Graham Dean, January, 2019.

Back to: