Chester-le-street

Cycle Shops

Cestria Cycles 11 Ashfield Terrace – 0191 388 7535

C2C Features: the Penshaw Monument, a look-alike Doric Temple dedicated to Theseus, was built in memory of John George Lambton, the 1st Earl of Durham.

Directions & Town Info

Just follow the transformed transformers (great steel monoliths sculpted from reclaimed scraps which have assumed iconic status and are now known as the Stanley Sphinxes). Don’t forget to look at the metal cows near Beamish. Created by Sal y Matthews, they are surprisingly graceful as they stand beside the path, turning grass into rust.

There’s also King Coal by artist David Kemp, next to the abandoned railway line at Pelton Fel . This was built of stone from the dismantled Consett railway station bridge and bricks from old kilns, while British Coal provided the crown. It was put together by a stonemason and local volunteers and was, by sheer coincidence, finished on October 15 1992 – the very day of the announcement of the closure of the last pits in Durham’s once booming coalfields.

Chester-le-Street is the oldest town in County Durham, and was once a Roman settlement. The Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre is very near the route. This 100-acre waterfowl park designed by Peter Scott has over 1,200 birds and is visited by several mammals, includ- ing the scarce water vole.

The Lambton Worm If you manage to leave the river here in one piece, be thankful! For this is where the Lambton Worm resides (and we are not referring here to the erstwhile politician). The legend runs that a young Lambton lad, fishing in the river against al advice, caught a smal worm. In disgust he threw it into a nearby well and went off to fight in the Crusades.

On his return the “worm” had grown into a dragon which ravaged the countryside. A witch agreed to slay the beast on condition that Lambton kil the first living thing he met. Unfortunately it was his father, who of course he spared, and so failed to fulfil his side of the bargain, thus nine generations of Lambtons were condemned to meet untimely ends.

Places of Interest

The Washington Wetlands Trust 100 acres of magnificent parkland, ponds and hides. 0191 416 5454

Penshaw Monument