|Trail:||12-APR-10 04:48:29 PM|
|Contributor:||TonyW||Activity Type:||Walking||Difficulty:||Easy||Distance:||7.111 mi (11.444 km)|
|Description:||Near Cotherstone, the Barnard Castle to Middleton-in-Teesdale branch crossed the River Balder on a 9-arch stone viaduct. The trackbed now forms one of County Durham's many railway paths so hikers can take in views of the Tees' natural splendour from the structure.
Dating back to the 1750s, The Fox & Hounds sits proudly on the West Green in the picturesque village of Cotherstone. Within an area of outstanding natural beauty and sitting next to a beautiful stretch of the River Tees the friendly and cosy atmosphere of this traditional country pub makes The Fox & Hounds the perfect base for exploring the hidden treasures of Teesdale.
Historians must regret that the lives of rural communities such as Romaldkirk in past centuries were so poorly documented, but old buildings themselves often reveal much about the life and culture of the times in which they were built, even if no written records survive. St. Romald's Church presents clear evidence of its history to those who can read it. Some of the stonework shows the existence of a settlement and a church before the Norman conquest, and several centuries of building and rebuilding. It is believed that the nave and the North aisle were completed in about 1155, with the South aisle being added in the thirteenth century, the original chancel and the priest's vestry in the fourteenth, and the tower in the fifteenth.
Such an ancient and imposing structure as this, the "Cathedral of the Dales" as it has been known for centuries, deserves a more detailed description than can be given here. But the need is filled admirably in a booklet written by the late Canon John E. Lee, who was Rector from 1953 to 1977. Copies of this are available in the church.
If the water is low you can clamber down onto the rocks and see the little cupboards which the fairies have made for storing their provisions. (Non-believers may try to tell you that these are just natural features, formed by the action of the water, but the local folk know better.)
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