Cassop village, approximately 5 miles SE of Durham city, just off the A181. Park at, or near, the Post Office at Grid Reference NZ 333392
A quiet walk along field paths and woodland through a local nature nature reserve.
There is a variety of options available, a short walk of 1.5 miles, 3 miles
or the full 4 mile walk depending on the situation. The longer walk does go
through a farmyard, something I try to avoid, but I found no problems in doing
The full walk does include 2 sections of walking along country roads, the 3 mile - one section and the short walk is entirely along field paths and woodland.
Take the footpath, (actually an access road at this point) opposite the Post Office which leads down into Cassop Vale Nature Reserve, and follow it as it swings left. Just before the sewerage works gate is reached, the path leaves the access road in two directions. Do not take the path which leads in the opposite direction of the works, take the path which runs left of them and leads over a small metal footbridge. To the right of the footbridge is a small lake on which various kinds of wildfowl can be seen.
Proceed over a stile and follow the path straight ahead, hedged at both sides giving good shelter from the wind, and cross another stile. This leads to a junction (next to a seat) of paths in 4 directions and the next path depends on which walk you wish to do. A
Turn right passing through a gate and go up the hill. Follow this
track, over another stile and the track starts to descend. Go through the gate
and enter the farmyard and go half left to join the minor Old Cassop Road. Turn
left and walk along this road, passing houses and farms , both left and right
until you leave the village. Keep on this road , admiring the views across to
Durham Cathedral, until it starts to descend and where there is a passing place,
a public footpath leads off to the left, over a stile and across a field (there
may be cattle in this field). Follow this path down to another stile, cross
this and go ahead for approx. 30 yards and then follow the wire fence on the
left along another path. This path runs to the left of Chapman Beck and returns
to the junction of paths, marked A above.
Turn right, and follow the path to the left of the hedge, over a stile and enter the woodland. B Take the right fork and then another 80 yards or so, take the left fork up through the woodland to a gate. Go through the gate and cross the field diagonally left, the exit to the field is just left of the Heather Lea Inn. Turn left along the road, and proceed until just before entering the village. A footpath heads left, there is a mast to the left here at time of writing( Jan 2001). Follow this path round and take the middle of three gates (I believe there is only a right of way through this gate anyway). Go over a small stile and walk down a small gorge to another stile. Go diagonally right and down this field (cattle may be present too) to another stile. Go over this and follow the path round to the left, over another stile and down. Turn right and you are now back (roughly) at the point of the stile at point B.
Go straight ahead, following the path to the right of the wire fence and rejoin the Nature Reserve of Cassop Vale, after crossing a stile. Follow the path back to the sewerage works, up the hill back to the car.
2: Medium Walk (3 miles)
Follow the walk as far as point B. After crossing the previous stile, turn left and follow the path back to the nature reserve, leading back to the sewerage works gate and then back up the hill to the car. This walk bypasses the section of road walking next to the Heather Lad Inn.
3: Short Walk (1.5 miles)
Follow the full walk as far as part A. Turn left and follow the path to the left of the hedge, over the stile (pictured above) and turn left and follow the path back to the nature reserve, leading back to the sewerage works gate and then back up the hill to the car. This walk bypasses the farmyard and both sections of road walking.