Following the Coals, New Year walk from Tanfield Railway to Dunston Staithes, 11th January

Tanfield railway pic for blog

The walk ran from Tanfield Railway, near Sunniside Co. Durham, down to Dunston Staiths on the banks of the river Tyne, following the Tanfield Railway path. One of the oldest railways in the world, following the course of a 1725 wagonway, it fed early coal staiths on the Teams and later, the current Dunston Staiths.

The walk, on a cold, wet day, was attended by 5 people, with two friends travelling from Ripon. We met in the café at Tanfield, where Alan Thompson gave us a short talk on the history of the railway, including early railways and the Tanfield renovation.

(In 1965 when the railway closed, the rails and sleepers were lifted, Tanfield Railway founders/ volunteers relaying the track by sourcing it locally; many factories from Team Valley had historically been run on rail. I think this is an interesting link for the purposes of our project since the railway at Tanfield is also physically constructed from wider industrial artefacts from the region.

We set off alongside the heritage railway track to Sunniside, before joining the railway path, which is part of established walking/ cycling routes. The pictures below were taken along the route, beginning in a fairly rural setting near Sunniside but quickly becoming more suburban. Some of the route is quite scenic, some less so, with fly-tipping in sections backing onto back gardens. As it reaches Dunston it becomes a tarmac path, which is used by local people as a pedestrian route for shopping, rather than ‘going for a walk’.

A small group of people joined Michele for this walk in early January. For those who would like to do the walk, the route can be found on this link: dropsViews of low fell watergateld/tanfield-intro.hTyne aheadTop of Watergate parktmlNorward yard site

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