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Tunstall Reservoir, Wolsingham North Moor, A68, old railway, Co Durham.
[15.7 km] Wed 30 Sep 2015

OS Grid Ref: NZ 06417 41349
Lat/Long: 54.767031, -01.901788

My drive to Co Durham was sunny at first but soon I was in mist and fog. Driving along the A689 I reached Wolsingham then turned north along the cul-de-sac road to Tunstall Reservoir and a car park in a wooded area. The reservoir was opened in 1879 as a water supply reservoir but is now only used to provide compensation water to the river below.

Tunstall Reservoir embankment

It was the first location where cement pressure grouting was used.

I walked back south along the road then along the track across the top of the reservoir embankment. Some work was being done at the far end. The track continued steeply up through Blackstone Bank Wood to the farm and houses at Blackstone Bank.

Blackstone Bank

It was still hazy with mist so my view down the valley was limited. A rougher track continued straight up the hillside to a gate where I turned right to follow a level path heading towards an area of heather. I was on another rough track which I left for a while to have a look at the trig post.

Trig post

View from the trig post

On Wolsingham North Moor

As I stated to descend Thistlewood Lane the weather improved a bit and I was able to see some sunshine.

At Thistlewood Farm I reached the tarmac road but soon turned left up a narrow track which originally was the access to a quarry area. At the top I followed a path across open fields and Dodd Hill to Wolsingham North Moor.

Climbing to Dodd Hill.

It was open and flat with wind turbines in the distance. I turned right and followed a track by Castle Hills to the road at Sandy Carr. I reached the B6296 and had to endure busy traffic for over a mile. I reached the main A68 where the traffic was even worse and much faster. It was a relief to reach the Greenfield Cottage area where I turned left on to a track that followed the line of the old railway.

Near Castle Hills

Line of the railway

Further along the railway

The rail line originated from 1845 but has been disused for many decades. The map shows the path running along the side but the rail route is a perfect route for walking. I now had much better weather and views and surprisingly good mobile data reception for my phone. I was able to post a picture to Facebook. After a mile the rail line was gated off and overgrown. The path continued by a wall which I followed to a gate and a farm track that descended down the hill, through the woods and back to Tunstall Reservoir. I found a narrow path running by the reservoir which took me back to the road and then the car park. There were many memorial bench seats around the reservoir with name plates to commemorate people. The water authority had placed notices on them asking people to register the seats and provide details. It was now a nice sunny day and I had a sunny drive home.

North end of Tunstall Reservoir.