C2C - Route 7
Route Section: Alston > Consett
From Start: 160km (100m) | From Finish: 62km (39m)
Consett 16km (10m)
Newcastle 45km (28m)
Sunderland 54km (34m)
The Waskerley Way is a beautiful 9.7 mile route starting after mile marker 100 (Parkhead Station, a tea room, restaurant and B&B).
You cross moorland then wooded sections before arriving at brightly coloured smelt wagons at Lydgetts Junction on the outskirts of Consett.
Just before Consett you will pass the remarkable Terris Novalis sculptures.
About the Way
It is made up of tarmac, gravel and cinder for the most part and is fine for touring bikes and hybrids, though not so good for road bikes, particularly on the occasionally muddy section that runs past Bee Cottage, a splendid and isolated guesthouse.
It runs through a varied landscape, from exposed heather moorland and upland sheep farms through to urban fringe. You will pass through one of the most impressive railway structures in North East England at Hownsgill Viaduct.
The WW follows the course of the old railway line, carrying coal and limestone between Stanhope and the dockyards in South Shields. It ends at Lydgetts Junction, west of Consett.
Robert Stephenson, no less, was consulting engineer to the industrial Stanhope and Tyne Railway (S&TR), built over two years from July 1832 to transport limestone from Stanhope to Consett. And from Consett it would move onwards with a cargo of coal to Tyne Dock in South Shields. However, the company was unable to afford a bridge over the 49 metres (161 ft) deep and 244 metres (801 ft) wide dry valley, Hown's Gill.
However, until the bridge was built in 1857-7 wagons had to be placed in cradles and hoisted and lowered by a stationery steam engine to get across the valley. This was slow and unprofitable so a bridge was commissioned. Designed by Thomas Bouch and overseen by Stevenson, the bridge was built by John Anderson using 12,000 tonnes of material and 3,000,000 white firebricks.
The railway was closed to regular passenger services on 23 May 1955. The line was fully closed in the early 1980s, with the tracks lifted by 1985. Owing to an average of one suicide a fortnight in the first half of 2011 and a further five between January and August 2012 the local authorities decided to implement anti-suicide fences.
Where To Sleep
Bee Cottage Guest House
Run by: David Blackburn & Irene Mordey
One of the favoured watering holes of seasoned C2Cers, Bee Cottage is a 4-star licensed guesthouse with stunning views across Co Durham. On a bend in the Waskerley Way just beyond Park Head Plantation, it is on the edge of a pretty little coppice at Redhouse Farm, a couple of miles before the A68 at Castleside. Warm welcome. You can eat, drink and sleep soundly here - a 'one-stop-shop.' You can book directly online.
Rooms : 2D, 2T, 4F (8 en-suite).
B&B: from£35-£40. £10 single supplement.
Eve meal: 3-courses £20. Alcohol license.
Pk lunch: yes.
Secure cycle storage. Distance from route: 400 metres.
Visit Britain 4-star & Cyclists Welcome Scheme.