We set off along the riverside and cross the river via the stepping stones beside the ford, through Unthank Park and up the woods above Crookley Crag. Turning left we circle round back across the River Wear to Shittlehope Burn. Following the burn on our left we head up by Hill Crest to Crawley Edge.
After lunch we headed toward the disused fluor-spar mine beside Stanhope burn, following Stanhope burn we headed downstream awhile before bearing left onto Crawley Side bank.
After a short walk uphill we turned right along the top of the disused quarry and then followed the path through the quarry and back into Stanhope.
Stanhope is surrounded by the remains of it's industrial past which nature has reclaimed and is now home to a viarity of fauna & flora, one of which is the wild strawberry, which despite being smaller than your little fingernail, has a deliciously strong taste.
Unfortunately we were there too early in the season to sample it’s delights.
I have spent many enjoyable days at Stanhope starting when I was a 'babe in arms'.
For as long as I can remember these quarries have not been worked.
I hope you enjoyed the walk as much as I did.
Our lunch stop was on Crawley edge, from this vantage point we got a fabulous view of Stanhope nestled in the Wear valley.
The walk is approx. 8 miles.
The photos above were taken in May 2006, as you can see it was nice weather and normally the ford & stepping stones would be full of kids having fun & parents stressing out, I mean eating ice creams & joining in the fun.
Roll forward a few years to December 2011 when the following photo was taken, probably not the best time to cross using the stepping stones.
As you can see in that photo barriers have been installed and were supposed to be closed in flood conditions only. Unfortunatly the council have decided to close them permanently, in my opinion a poor & shortsighted viewn as many visitors would go to Stanhope just to drive through the ford on a nice day.
The enjoyment of many spoilt be the few idiots who would attempt to drive across when the river was in spate and by the council.
Below is a photo of our members crossing and you can also see a car is driving over. The second photo (poor quality) shows the Height marker board.
As you can see by the height board the river level is above the 6ft mark.
The tops of the stones are approx. 1ft so the flood water would be at shoulder height (5ft) for most of our members.
I sat 3 mile down river & watched the level rise approx. 1 ft in 30 minutes before driving up to the ford and taking photos. The sheer power of the water was awesome to watch.
The next day the stones were again visible.
The water level must have been just short of max. point before serious flooding would occur, I have seen it higher once.
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