‘A’ David Palmer ‘B’ Kathleen Reavley
For the last walk of the season we started the day with rain and misty conditions, but it did become dry and sunny by mid morning. 47 members travelled to Blanchland for the coffee stop then travelled to Edmundbyers so 20 members could set off on the ‘A’ walk. The coach continued on to Stanhope, where after lunch 23 members did the ‘B’ walk. We walked along the road and crossed the Stanhope Burn and followed a footpath past Stanhope Hall. The path was above a ravine on the edge of woodland. We admired a waterfall before crossing onto the opposite side of the stream to enter disused quarries. A level woodland path took us to Ashes Quarry Nature Reserve. For 70 years or more hundreds of men toiled by hand using only the most primitive of tools to dig the great limestone out of the Weardale fells. They left behind a huge, mile long hole in the ground which today, over 60 years since they downed tools, nature is slowly reclaiming. We stopped for lunch alongside the path, but it proved to be very smelly (from sheep) and we were soon on our way again. As we left the quarry to descend into Stanhope, we watched turkeys in a field, with the male proudly displaying to the crowd. We walked along the main street towards the far end of Stanhope and crossed the River Wear to join the Weardale Way footpath through a caravan park. We crossed grassy fields and went through an underpass for the Weardale Railway to emerge at the riverside. We crossed the river on a footbridge and returned to the centre of Stanhope. After an extended stop we proceeded directly home.
Flowers:chickweed, ragwort and tormentil. Other acorns, conkers, elderberries, fly agaric fungi and rosehips.