Demesne Picnic area, Wolsingham. Grid Reference NZ075376.
A fairly strenuous walk, 6 miles in distance but climbing from almost the valley floor to the open fields above. This walk should only be done in dry weather due to crossing field paths, of which many have long grass. Unfortunately, a considerable amount of cattle may be encountered on the return half of the walk, after Tunstall Reservoir. If you have dogs with you and are unsure about this, treat it as a linear walk and return via the outward route.
Leave the car-park by the gate near to Waskerley Beck. The path runs alongside the beck to the left, go through a gate and enter a grassed area. Follow to a stile and then turn right.
This leads to another stile, cross this and go across the footbridge.
After the footbridge, the path splits left and right, go right up some steps. This leads to a kissing gate, go through this and immediately turn left following the path alongside the hedge. A further two kissing gates are encountered, the second of these opens onto a road.
Cross this and slightly to the right, at the corner of the wall, is a kissing gate. Go through this and follow the only path available alongside the edge of the fields through gates as necessary. Almost all the gates on this walks are clearly marked by arrows.
This leads to the derelict Park Wall farm, now barely a shell of a building. Go through a gate into the 'grounds' of this farm and straight ahead, slightly to the right, is a stepping stone stile going over a high wall. Go over this and proceed through a waymarked gate. There are fine views back down to Wolsingham and the Wear Valley from here.
After going through this gate, the path is a broad grass track, to the right
of a young coniferous plantation and the left of the wall.
Shortly, Tunstall Reservoir comes into view, this was built in 1879 to serve
the areas around Bishop Auckland and Shildon.
Keep following the waymarked path as it passes to the right of High Jopless Cottage. This leads to High Jopless Farm, go through the farm, once again following the markers.
After the farm, turn left immediately after the gate, to go diagonally through two field paths in the direction of Tunstall Cottage.
Go through a gate,
cross a stile and then another gate, cross the next field half right and exit
the field via a stile.
The dam of Tunstall Reservoir is now in reach; walk along this.
Fine views both up and down the valley are seen as you cross the dam. Follow the access road along and up the bank at the other side, zigzagging as it goes, eventually to approach Backstone Bank Farm. Just before the farm is reached, take the track to the right, over a small stone bridge and in front of the wall. Follow this track as it skirts the top of Fawn Wood, the track soon splits, take the right fork as it descends a little.
After a few hundred yards, it crosses Spring Gill Beck. Follow the marked path through gates along the middle of fields to eventually approach Baal Hill Farm.
Go to the left of the farm, through the gate and then diagonally left across the field close to a hedge on your left. This leads to a road, after going through a kissing gate, go right and then left through another kissing gate.
Go along this path to eventually reach another kissing gate onto a road. Turn left here and enter Wolsingham Upper Town, follow the B6296 down and turn right into Demesne Picnic Area.