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A66 Greta Bridge, Mortham Tower, River Tees, Eggleston Abbey, Barnard Castle, Co Durham.
[16.3 km] Sun 12 Apr 2015

Lat/Long: 54.512839, -1.864331

I set off about 11am to drive to Greta Bridge just off the A66. Heading north along the M6 there was a hold up north of junction 36 due to two cars being in a crash. It was very windy during the morning and when I reached the A66 east of Brough a lorry was on its side on the westbound carriageway and debris on the east bound, the way I was going. I didnít have any problems. I parked in a short stretch of the old road that is now a dead end.

Mortham Tower

Walking back along the road I joined a path across fields near the original Greta Bridge. The path went under the A66 then across fields to Mortham Tower Buildings. It is a private residence and a Grade I listed fortified courtyard house and Pele Tower dating from around (1485-1509). It was all well looked after but I couldnít see anyone around. The access road took me down to an interesting bridge over the River Greta and I followed the road past Rokeby Park then joined a path by the bank of the River Tees.

By the River Tees

It was a pleasant walk all the way to the very impressive Abbey Bridge. Itís a grade II Road bridge built in 1773 for John Sawrey Morritt. It looked very impressive from the river bank but I then had to climb steeply up a muddy bank to reach the road.

Abbey Bridge

The I took the minor road to Eggleston Abbey whose ruins looked very impressive on the skyline. There is a small car park next to the ruins and although there are opening times shown I donís see how the times could be enforced as it isnít manned. I wandered through the impressive ruins and enjoyed the views across the Tees.

Eggleston Abbey

The Abbey was founded in the late 12th century at some point between 1168 and 1198. The founders were the Premonstratensians who wore a white habit and became known as the White Canons. Remains include much of the 13th century church and a range of living quarters, with traces of their ingenious toilet drainage system. It was such a nice spot I sat down to enjoy my late lunch of sandwiches.

Eggleston Abbey

Eggleston Abbey

Eggleston Abbey

I had the whole place to myself. Steeply down a bank to the north I descended to Bow Bridge a grade II Packhorse bridge from around the 17th century. It is hog-backed with a single segmental arch and low flat-topped parapets. Next to it is the current road bridge. Up the road I followed a path across fields and into a caravan park.

Bow Bridge

Barnard Castle approach

Barnard Castle approach

Although I was on a public footpath there were no markers and I only found the way out when I saw some walkers approaching the other way. The path took me to the B6277 which I followed to the bridge crossing to Barnard Castle. I didnít cross the Tees at this point but continued to the Aqueduct Bridge which also carries the footpath. To the right was a riverside footpath that took me to an interested area of seats and decorative flags.

Aqueduct foot bridge

It was the site of the Barnard Castle Gas Works but nothing remains today. It was fascinating looking up at the magnificent castle. I walked up the street to the ĎButter Marketí building then right to have a look at the front entrance to the Bowes Museum. I will have to return sometime to visit it properly.

Bowes Museum

I left the town by a path that took me past sports fields down to the bank of the Tees. Further along I was able to see the Eggleston Abbey Ruins high up across the river. I reached Abbey Bridge again and crossed it to follow the road all the way to the A66. It was quite busy and with no footpath it wasnít very enjoyable. Crossing the A66 I came to a short path that took me to the old road then down to the Greta Bridge and back to my car.

Eggleston Abbey across the Tees