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Gentian House
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Activities

Walking

Teesdale has a wide variety of walks to suit everyone, from short circular accessible routes to long distances trails. There is an excellent network of quiet footpaths with plenty of cafes and pubs along the way.

Two sections of the Pennine Way and the Teesdale Way pass through Teesdale and both intersect within 100 yards of Gentian House.  Wainwright described the section along the river Tees from Middleton in Teesdale through the hay meadows as 'a walk of near perfection'.

Cycling

The road cyclist can enjoy quiet roads with great routes to suit all skills and abilities where you can enjoy spectacular views and thrilling downhill sections.

Hamsterley Forest has miles of forest tracks, suitable for all the family.  For the serious off-road biker, graded skills mountain bike trails and an extreme descent track make the Forest an ideal location. 

Teesdale also has a great disused railway path that can be accessed on bike.

Shopping

Barnard Castle has a wide range of independent shops on its traditional high street including a number of unusual & specialist shops.  The town also has a number of antiques shops concentrated further down towards the river on The Bank in its antiques quarter.  There is a traditional market on Wednesday every week and a Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of every month.

Middleton in Teesdale itself has craft and antiques shops and an old-fashioned hardware store and a second hand book shop.

Fishing - The River Tees

The River Tees is excellent for river fishing with a good range of coarse fish as well as game fishing, containing wild brown trout and grayling in good numbers. Permits are available from the High Force Hotel and the Village Bookshop or Newsagents in Middleton-in-Teesdale.  Permits are also available to buy online from the Raby Castle website.

Reservoir Fishing

Grassholme reservoir is one of the top any-method fisheries in the country with spectacular views of Teesdale and fully accessible fishing for disabled anglers. The visitor centre sells tickets for day fishing and stocks a wide range of fishing goods.

Hury is exclusively a fly fishery and is ideal for traditional fly anglers.

Cow Green, Balderhead and Selset are three of the best wild brown trout fisheries in the country and the trout in these reservoirs are 100% native.

Bird Watching

Upper Teesdale is one of the best places to see waders in the breeding season.   The moorlands support a wide variety of birds such as red grouse, 80% of England’s black grouse and nationally important populations of golden plover, curlew, short-eared owl and merlin.  Other breeding birds using the moors include dunlin, redshank, oystercatcher and meadow pipit.

The cliffs and crags of Upper Teesdale are a good place to look for Ravens and peregrines.

On the River Tees there is always a chance of seeing birds such as dipper, goosander and kingfisher.

Wildflower Walks

Teesdale is a big draw for botanists with some of England’s rarest upland plants found here, some belonging to the ‘Teesdale Assemblage’ – a uniquely rich association of plants for which Upper Teesdale is famous.  Spring Gentian, Rockrose, Birds-Eye Primrose and Alpine Bistort populate the mountains, peat bogs and outcrops that are now part of the Moor House – Upper Teesdale Biosphere Reserve.

Traditional farming methods mean Teesdale is one of the best places to see colourful haymeadow flowers like globeflower, wood crane’s-bill, orchids and yellow rattle.  Three species of lady’s mantle found in Upper Teesdale grow nowhere else in Britain, and shrubby cinquefoil is found as a native wild plant only in Teesdale and Cumbria.

 
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