Guidelines for Walking in Weardale

The Weardale is a great place to walk and there are walks suitable for all levels. But, as always, walkers need to be aware of the potential for incidents that may occur on any countryside activity. Below you will find some advice on steps you can take to avoid any hazards, but it is not complete and never could it be – nobody can prepare for the unexpected. The most important thing to take with you when walking in Weardale is common sense.

Weardale has large tracts of open access land where you are free to wander at will over the heather moors, where only rarely will you see another walker or a farmer, gamekeeper or dry-stone waller.

So if you become immobilised in a remote area you will need to give the excellent Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team and its highly trained air scenting search dogs the best possible chance of finding you safe and well, as follows:

  1. Walk with a companion or group if at all possible.
  2. Carry a fully charged mobile phone and GPS, map and compass, torch, whistle and bivvy bag.
  3. Tell someone where you are going, where you will be parking and when you expect to get back, or leave details in your car or at home.
  4. Take back up warm clothes, food and drink.

Important things also to consider:

*   The North Pennines still has some unfenced mine shafts.

*   Be wary around old workings where there are obvious collapses along the line of a worked lead  vein.

*   Never venture into a mine level without an expert.  What you take to be a solid mine floor could turn out to be a mine ceiling, held up by rotten timbers.

*   Be prepared for rapid changes in the weather on higher ground.   Being suddenly engulfed by a blizzard of hailstones and with the temperature tumbling, for instance, can be very disorientating.

*   Move uphill away from boggy areas to avoid a boot full of mud or worse!