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Barningham, Greta Bridge, St Mary's Church ruin, River Greta, Brignall Mill, Co Durham.
[19.6 km] Wed 08 Apr 2015

OS Grid Ref: NZ 07864 10090
Lat/Long: 54.486092, -01.880123

The weather forecast was good. I had a pleasant drive along the M6, Tebay and A66 to the Barningham. Itís the first time Iíve visited this part of the countryside and I had a couple of objectives to check out. I left my car in a small unsurfaced car park to the west of the village then walked back to the village and down its main street. The houses were well cared for but the old Post Office is now a private residence.


The old Post Office and Green Room

Inside the Green Room

Outside was a green telephone box, now called the green room. It is used for various displays. Further along I came to the bus shelter which had various current newspapers piled on the seat. It looks like they are for collection by the locals. As I left the village I passed the Milbank Arms on my left. I couldnít figure out if it was in use or not.


Outside the Church of St Michael

Church of St Michael

Outside the Church of St Michael

I took a minor track round the church of St Michael and joined the road north to return to Greta Bridge. Though the road is now a dead end it used to be the main route through before the current A66 was built.

By Greta Bridge

The buildings adjacent to the bridge were tidy and impressive. The bridge had nice parapets of stone columns.
There is a nice painting of Greta Bridge by John Sell Cotman c. 1806. Over the bridge then over the wall on the left I entered the field and walked along the path that follows the River Greta.

Greta Bridge

Greta Bridge

Greta Bridge by John Sell Cotman c. 1806

The fort was occupied from the early 2nd century to the late 4th century.

I made a short detour to look at the Roman Fort embankments up to my right. The fort was occupied from the early 2nd century to the late 4th century. I followed the path up above the river then made another detour down through the trees to see the Scotchmanís Stone, which is a large stone half in the river. It appears to have two artificial cuts in it.

Scotchmanís Stone

I returned to the main path then followed it to the old St Maryís Church down by the river. It is surrounded by a wall and is long abandoned and in ruins. Apparently it was dismantled and rebuild in Brignall up the hill.
The A History of the County of York North Riding says the following.
The ruins of the old church of ST. MARY, on the bank of the River Greta, are sufficiently preserved to show that it had an aisleless nave and chancel, the latter being of the 13th century, about 24 ft. by 12 ft. There were originally three lancets in the east wall, which in the 16th century were replaced by a squareheaded four-light window. In the south wall is a 13th-century piscina, with signs of a widely-splayed window, which was probably a lancet, though now it has a square head; there are also some remains of a low-side window at the south-west. The north wall shows nothing earlier than a 16th-century doorway, but a piece of stone with interlaced ornament is built into it. A 14th-century grave slab with a large pair of shears carved on it lies in the chancel.
Its replacement church was opened in 1833.

Original Church of St Mary

St Mary's and graveyard

The path then headed into the woods and was a very pleasant walk in the warm sun. Below Brignall Banks I came to a small cave on my right. It didnít go in very far but had manmade stone columns build inside, presumably to keep the roof up. There is mention of it in Sir Walter Scots writings.

Brignall Banks cave

A little above Greta Bridge is the cave where 'Bertram Wycliffe' met 'Guy Denzil' and listened to 'Edmund's' song and the chorus of revellers.
Poetical works, Volume 5, by Sir Walter Scott
'Oh, Brignall banks are fresh and fair, And Greta woods are green; I'd rather range with Edmund there Than reign our English queen.'

Brignall Banks cave interior

I reached the access road to Brignall Mill and followed it down to the buildings. They are in very good condition and seem to be holiday homes. The path is signposted round the property but it is possible to see the old water routes. After the buildings I crossed the footbridge over the River Greta then started to head downstream on the far bank.

Brignall Mill

Brignall Mill

Footbridge over the River Greta

I was now on the same route Iíd walked when last here. After half a mile I came to Henning Wood and decided to turn right and follow the path up to Scargill Castle, which is a converted gatehouse and how a holiday home. I joined Chapel Lane and past the faint remains of the old chapel to Gillbeck Bridge.

Up through the woods to Scargill Castle

I turned right to head upstream through the woods. It was a pleasant walk and there were some interesting wooden footbridges to cross. I left the woods and across open land to Woodclose Gill. The path crosses the stream here and there is no footbridge. Fortunately the water was low.

Scargill Castle

The continuing path route had been diverted and there had been a lot of planting. The diversion took me up to the track that crosses Scale Knoll. It was unsurfaced and unadopted to Haythwaite. Here I came to the tarmac and had an easy and pleasant walk back to my car.

The old Church ruin site