Compared with the Yorkshire Dales or Northumberland, the Durham Dales are comparatively unknown. Weardale and Teesdale have some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, which has inspired painters such as JMW Turner and also the poems of Sir Walter Scott. In Weardale, the wild moorlands of the North Pennines, covered in summer in a carpet of purple heather, stretch as far as the eye can see. In this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the countryside is spectacular. Great walks and cycling routes abound with stunning views. The hills are dotted with sheep peacefully grazing by the old stone built farms. In season, the hay meadows are a blaze of wild flowers. Deer, rabbit and hare together with red grouse, curlew, lapwing and pheasant can all be seen and heard amongst the abundance of wildlife.
Watch the river Wear meandering its way over the stones down the valley; young and old can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of County Durham at its best. In summer picnic beside the Tunstall Reservoir to watch the fisherman cast their lines. In winter, when snow is on the ground and the hedgerows glisten with icicles, after a revitalising time outdoors visitors can enjoy the warmth of a blazing fire in a local pub. The villages are communities where many families have lived for generations and the locals are always ready to engage in conversation.
Weardale and the County of Durham hold a very special place in our hearts, having lived here for twenty seven years bringing up our two children.
Owner, Carolyn, was born and bred in Weardale and the poems below were written by her grandfather:
Springing heather, gleaming grass,
Sunlit shadows of clouds,
Of billowing white, in the west wind’s flight,
Speeding across the moors.
The stone-built sod-topped butts that stand
Like sentinels still on the hill,
And one great superfluity
Of glorious air to fill
Our lungs and life with health and joy
The happy content of the free
True Knowledge of this perfectness,
What can there better be?
TUNSTALL (JULY 1924)
Skies that fade in the evening light,
To the slaty blue of a perfect night,
A breathless lake all Nature’s mirror,
Reflects the hills with scarce a quiver,
Save where a black and hungry snout,
Makes rippling rings of a rising trout,
To break the light of the sunken moon,
That yellow glows like a toy balloon.
The play of oars, ripples that float
Far in the wake of the little white boat,
That sleepy old contented murmur
Of keen-edged reapers cutting clover,
And drifting smoke from a cottage hearth,
Welcoming home on their evening path,
Haymakers, hungry, hot, and tired,
To food and drink, and much desired
Sleep, in a whitewashed, raftered room,
Where there is neither dust nor gloom,
But fresh and cool through windows wide
There drifts the breeze of eventide,
And with it softly, gently stray,
The mingles scents of old land hay,
Cyringa, woodsmoke, earth and fir,
Ah happy, healthy days that were
Last summer; yet, the winter rife
Is but the advent of the life,
Each New Year brings again.