The car-park for the newly formed Tanfield Lea Marsh Nature Reserve, opposite the Ken Thomas site, East of Tanfield Lea and South of Tanfield.
A short walk of approximately 3 miles, through Carrickhill Wood and the Tanfield Marsh, over fields, through woodland and also a section on the Sustrans Consett - Sunderland cycle path.
Leave the car-park and go right, up the road. On the left of the road not far ahead is a public footpath sign pointing over the fields. This is signposted 'Great North Forest Trail - Beamish 3.5km'.
Follow this path to the left of a hedge all the way up and over the hill until you reach the A6076. Cross the road and again take the Forest Trail footpath. This leads right and over a stile into a field, follow the course of the path and shortly another stile goes left, cross this and follow the path down to an access road. Turn right here and follow it down, going over another stile before coming to a minor road.
Turn left here and go down the road for approx. 80 yards and enter the woodland on your right through the 'hole in the wall.'
This is Carrickhill Wood.
Follow the woodland path through deciduous woodland and keep to the right path where any forks are present. Soon , you pass a seat on the left and keep on the path as it veers right and up through the woodland. The woodland becomes mixed now and various information boards inform you of the tree types and their origins. Go through a stile/gate and enter more open woodland, now becoming predominantly coniferous. Shortly, you appear at a selection of routes going straight ahead, left and right. The routes leading ahead and left are signposted with yellow arrow signs but the right route is not. Take the right path and follow the path up through the woodland, which can be muddy after wet spells until you reach the Consett - Sunderland cycle path.
Turn right here and follow the cycle path upwards. The path veers left and Shield Row is now on your left and Kip Hill on your right. Keep on the the cycle path, crossing bridges as they come. Now on your right are allotments and further beyond them is the Tanfield Lea Industrial Estate.
The path steepens a little and shortly a path leads off down to the right. Take this path down, skirting to the left of the factories and follow the newly laid path. Half way down, turn off to the right through a gap in the fence. Follow this path to the right and walk to the left of the hedge. The next section is very muddy after the floods and heavy rain of the Autumn.
This leads to the newly established Tanfield Lea Marsh, a nature reserve. Herons, Coots, Moorhens and other wildfowl can be spotted here, as well as Reed Buntings, and Willow Warblers too. Proceed through this, on the boarded walkway and cross the stile at the end, follow the path through the middle of the field back to the car-park.