Upper & Lower Teesdale
Upper Teesdale in summer and
Upper Teesdale is an area of amazing scenery dominated by purple heather clad moorlands and green
valleys and a unique landscape shaped by dark igneous rocks that have created magnificent waterfalls at Low and
High Force and cascades at Cauldron Snout. Renowned as the most northerly of the Yorkshire Dales upper Teesdale
lies within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Europe's first geopark.
Another of the North Pennines' oddities is that it is home to England's only
named wind, the Helm Wind It has caught out many cyclists traversing the climb over Harthope Fell.
Wildlife: The landscape in Upper Teesdale has been sculptured by glaciers from the last Ice Age that
ended 15,000 years ago. Since that time several climatic changes have influenced the natural vegetation and
wildlife in the area.
The rare Blue Gentian and Black Grouse
Some of the unique plants in the area are relics of the last Ice Age, one of these the Blue Gentian is
found solely in upper Teesdale.
Wolves, bears, wildcats, wild boar and wild cattle no longer wander these hills but the area is still home to roe
and red deer and numerous other wildlife as well as wide range of birdlife including the rare black grouse or
History: Upper Teesdale has been home through the ages to Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romans,
Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans each group having left their mark on the landscape.
Cauldron Snout Upper Teesdale & Kirk
Moor House - Upper Teesdale is one of England’s largest National Nature Reserves. It is
particularly well known for the plants that originally colonised the high Pennines after the last ice age, and
have survived here ever since. You can also see rare rock formations such as outcropping sugar limestone and
the Great Whin Sill.
The reserve encompasses an almost complete range of upland habitats typical of the North Pennines, from
lower lying hay meadows, rough grazing and juniper wood to limestone grassland, blanket bogs and summit heaths of
the high fells. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a diversity of rare habitats in one location.
Kirk Carrion - Dominating the Lunedale ridge, the pine-covered tumulus of Kirk Carrion is one of the
region's major Bronze Age burial sites. Thought to have been constructed sometime around 1400 BC, this elaborate
chieftain's tomb was excavated in Victorian times.
High Force & Low Force
From its rise as a trickle, high on the heather
covered fells at the top of the North Pennines, to the top of the Whin Sill rock at Forest -in-Teesdale, the River
Tees steadily grows and gathers pace, then it suddenly and spectacularly drops 21 metres into the plunge pool below
at High Force.
Bowlees Wildlife Visitors Centre
Open every day between 10.30am and 5pm
from Easter to the end of September, Bowlees is an ideal centre to explore Upper Teesdale, with footpath links to
High Force, Low Force, Newbiggin and the Pennine Way.
The centre that is part of the Durham Wildlife Trust provides a wealth of information on
the geology, wildlife and people of Upper Teesdale, together with maps, books and refreshments for
Barnard Castle & Lower Teesdale
Barnard Castle Ruins & Blagraves House
The castle was founded by the Normans shortly after the conquest, but enjoyed its heyday under Bernard
de Balliol during the latter half of the 12th century. The castle passed into the hands of the Balliol family (of
which the Scottish king, John Balliol, was the most important member), and then into the possession of
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, King Richard III who inherited it through his wife, Anne Neville, but it fell
into ruins in the century after his death. The remains are now in the care of English Heritage.
Walter Scott frequently visited his friend John Sawrey Morritt at Rokeby Hall and was fond of exploring
Teesdale. He begins his epic poem Rokeby (1813) with a man standing on guard on the round tower of the
Barnard Castle fortress. Charles Dickens and his illustrator Hablot Browne (Phiz) stayed at the King's Head in
Barnard Castle while researching his novel Nicholas Nickleby in the winter of 1837-38. He is said to have
entered William Humphrey's clock-maker's shop, then opposite the hotel, and enquired who had made a certain
remarkable clock. William replied that his boy Humphrey had done it. This seems to have prompted Dickens to choose
the title "Master Humphrey's Clock" for his new weekly, in which The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby
Bowes Museum & Silver Swan
The Bowes Museum housed in a chateau-like building, was founded by John Bowes and his wife and is of national
status. It contains an El Greco, paintings by Goya, Cannaleto , Boucher, Fragonard and a collection of decorative
art. A great attraction is the 18th century silver swan automation, which periodically preens itself, looks round
and appears to catch and swallow a fish.
John Bowes lived at nearby Streatlam Castle (now demolished). His Streatlam stud never had more than ten
breeding mares at one time, but produced no fewer than four Derby winners in twenty years. The last of these, "West
Australian", was the first racehorse to win the Triple Crown (1853).
Raby Castle Staindrop
Built for the mighty dynasty of the Nevills, this great fortress stands proud and defiant, its history
rolling back almost a thousand years. King Cnut (also known as Canute II the Great) owned the Estate, then known as
'Rabi' (derived from 'Ra', Danish for a boundary, and 'Bi', a settlement or dwelling) in the early 11th Century.
The Viking King and self appointed 'Emperor of the North' may well have built a manor house here, but it was the
Nevills who built the 14th century castle which still stands today.
Home to Lord Barnard's family since 1626, Raby is one of finest medieval Castle's in England. Built by
the mighty Nevill family in the 14th Century, Raby remained in the Nevill family until 1569 when after the failure
of the Rising of the North, the Castle and it's lands were forfeited to the Crown. In 1626, Sir Henry Vane the
Elder purchased Raby and the Castle has remained in the Vane family ever since.
Red Deer & Fallow Deer at Raby
The 200 acre (80ha) deer park surrounding Raby Castle has Red deer, the largest British wild land
mammal, and the smaller Fallow deer - both herds containing the descendants of deer preserved in this area since