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Causey Arch - the oldest surviving railway bridge in the world opened in 1726
Causey Arch - the oldest surviving railway bridge in the world opened in 1726

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Route No 632 - Monday 25 July 2016
Causey, Coppy Lane, Coppy, Carrickshill Wood,
Gt N. Forest Heritage Trail, East Tanfield Station,
Causey Gill Causey Arch circuit - 7km
Co. Durham . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 308 Durham & Sunderland


The start of our walk at the Causey Arch Picnic Area
The start of our walk at the Causey Arch Picnic Area

Leaving the car park under the Tanfield Railway bridge
Leaving the car park under the Tanfield Railway bridge

At the start of our walk we left the car park by the vehicular exit at the southern end of the car park through the bridge under the Tanfield Railway. Just beyond the railway bridge we came to the A6076.

This afternoon my wife, our brother-in-law and I drove to the Causey Arch car park at map ref. NZ 204 561, on the west side of the Tanfield Railway, about 200m along a lane west of Causey Road, the A6076.

Crossing the A6076 to the bridleway opposite
Crossing the A6076 to the bridleway opposite

Bridleway along the access track to Causey Row
Bridleway along the access track to Causey Row

Passing Causey Row along the bridleway
Passing Causey Row along the bridleway

The bridleway up to Beamishburn Road
The bridleway up to Beamishburn Road

At the road we turned left and walked along the road for about 250m, then we turned right to follow a public footpath along a farm access track called Coppy Lane.

We crossed the A6076 main road and followed a bridleway opposite along an access road in front of a row of houses called Causey Row and into the field beyond. At the end of the field we turned left to follow the overgrown bridleway up a steep bank to Beamishburn Road at the top.

Turning up the hill from the field towards Beamishburn Road
Turning up the hill from the field towards Beamishburn Road

Walking along Beamishburn Road
Walking along Beamishburn Road

Turning off Beamishburn Road heading towards Coppy Lane
Turning off Beamishburn Road heading towards Coppy Lane

Start of the access road up from Beamishburn Road
Start of the access road up from Beamishburn Road

Coppy Lane passing through some woodland
Coppy Lane passing through some woodland

This pleasant path is suddenly broken as a wide farm access track cuts into it and we followed this farm track for about 100m and then turned off the wide farm track to rejoin our path (Coppy Lane) off the right of the track.

From the road the track has two concrete strip vehicle tracks as it climbs up the hillside. After about 150m the track bends to the right to enter the grounds of Park Head. Just before the bend our route goes left off the track through bushes and woodland.

Turning off the access road to follow Coppy Lane
Turning off the access road to follow Coppy Lane

Farm access track cutting through Coppy Lane
Farm access track cutting through Coppy Lane

Rejoining Coppy Lane from the farm access track
Rejoining Coppy Lane from the farm access track

Making our way along Coppy Lane
Making our way along Coppy Lane

Entering Coppy Wood
Entering Coppy Wood

Weather vane on a house in Coppy
Weather vane on a house in Coppy

We passed the scattered settlement of Coppy and came to a minor road opposite the boundary wall of Beamish Hall. At the road we turned right and walked along the road for about 350m to map ref. NZ 207 547.

There were some wild raspberry plants by the path here and we were delayed for a while as we tasted the lovely ripe fruit. We continued along Coppy Lane through Coppy Wood.

Wild raspberries on Coppy Lane
Wild raspberries on Coppy Lane

The path through Coppy Wood
The path through Coppy Wood

Following the access road through Coppy
Following the access road through Coppy

Leaving Coppy & turning on to the road opposite the boundary wall of Beamish Hall
Leaving Coppy & turning on to the road opposite the boundary wall of Beamish Hall

Turning off the road to Carrickshill Wood  by the picnic area sign
Turning off the road to Carrickshill Wood by the picnic area sign

Footbridge over Beamish Burn in Carrickshill Wood
Footbridge over Beamish Burn in Carrickshill Wood

Path by Beamish Burn in Carrickshill Wood
Path by Beamish Burn in Carrickshill Wood

There are paths through the wood that are not marked on the OS map and we followed a pleasant path by the Beamish Burn that brought us to this road about 100m further down the hill than the route of the Great North Forest Heritage Trail.

Here we turned left off the road and followed a public footpath along a track into Carrickshill Wood. Passing through the wood here is a long distance trail called the "Great North Forest Heritage Trail" and the route follows this trail out to a minor road, called Beamishburn Road, at map ref. NZ 204 546.

Path into Carrickshill Wood
Path into Carrickshill Wood

Path by Beamish Burn in Carrickshill Wood
Path by Beamish Burn in Carrickshill Wood

Coins hammered into a fallen tree trunk for good luck
Coins hammered into a fallen tree trunk for good luck

Leaving Carrickshill Wood from the path by Beamish Burn
Leaving Carrickshill Wood from the path by Beamish Burn

Following the road along the edge of Carrickshill Wood
Following the road along the edge of Carrickshill Wood


Following Boghouse Lane a grassy track towards Mole Hill Fm.


The path around Mole Hill Farm

The track took us around the field edge towards Mole Hill Farm (livery stables). Just before we reached the farm our path turned left off the track to climb up a wooded bank and through a hedge to a field of tall grass. Our path kept close to the hedge on our right and was quite overgrown.

At the road we turned left and walked up the hill to a farm access track on the right called Boghouse Lane leading to Mole Hill Farm. We followed a public footpath (still on the Great North Forest Heritage Trail which we followed all the way to the end of our walk) along this grassy track.

Turning off the road onto Boghouse Lane
Turning off the road onto Boghouse Lane

The path around Mole Hill Farm
The path around Mole Hill Farm

Overgrown path along a field edge next to Mole Hill farm
Overgrown path along a field edge next to Mole Hill farm

Crossing the A6076, Causey Road, in a shallow cutting
Crossing the A6076, Causey Road, in a shallow cutting

Path up from the A6076
Path up from the A6076

Some of the path between the fields is a bit overgrown
Some of the path between the fields is a bit overgrown . . .

Horse wearing masks to ward off flies
Horse wearing masks to ward off flies

At the top of the road cutting we continued along the path between the fields, quite overgrown in places, dropping down to a minor road at map ref. NZ 195 545.

At the top edge of the field the path dropped down the side of a shallow cutting to the A6076, Causey Road. We crossed the road and climbed up the path out of the far side of the road cutting.

Path to the fields from the A6076 cutting
Path to the fields from the A6076 cutting

In other places the path is quite clear
. . . In other places the path is quite clear

Dropping down to the road near East Tanfield Station
Dropping down to the road near East Tanfield Station

Stile on to the road near East Tanfield Station
Stile on to the road near East Tanfield Station

Following the road towards East Tanfield Station
Following the road towards East Tanfield Station

The access road to East Tanfield Station
The access road to East Tanfield Station

Woodland path heading for Tanfield Railway & Causey Burn
Woodland path heading for Tanfield Railway & Causey Burn

We passed the station down to our right and continued along the path by a seat and bright red litter bin (for dog foul). The path led us down to the side of the Causey Burn with the Tanfield railway on the far side of the burn.

At this road we turned right and followed the road for about 250m to the access road on our right to East Tanfield Station. The Tanfield Railway is a tourist steam railway and the station was closed today.

Turning on to the access road to East Tanfield Station
Turning on to the access road to East Tanfield Station

Path into the wooldland from the station access area
Path into the woodland from the station access area

Old waggons on a siding of the Tanfield Railway
Old wagons on a siding of the Tanfield Railway


Tanfield Railway where it crosses the Causey Burn

Path through the woods in Causey Gill
Path through the woods in Causey Gill

Path along Causey Gill at the level of the Causey Arch
Path along Causey Gill at the level of the Causey Arch

The wagon was built to transport coal in horse-drawn wagons from the local mines for about 8km into Tyneside. We continued along the route of the old Wagonway to the Causey Arch bridge over the deep, narrow valley of Causey Burn.

It was a very pleasant path through the wooded valley. The path gradually climbed up to the original bed of the Tanfield Wagonway along the top edge of the valley.

Path climbing up to the top of Causey Gill
Path climbing up to the top of Causey Gill

Fenced path leading onto the Causey Arch
Fenced path leading onto the Causey Arch

Looking down from the Causey Arch to the footbridge across Causey Burn below
Looking down from the Causey Arch to the footbridge across Causey Burn below

Causey Arch from the path down into the
Causey Arch from the path down into the valley

Footbridge over the Causey Burn
Footbridge over the Causey Burn

I followed the path along steps down the steep valley side to a footbridge over Causey Burn below the old railway bridge. From the footbridge I took a few photos of the bridge structure springing from the rock in the valley sides.

After admiring the view from the bridge my wife and brother-in-law continued across the bridge back to the car park, but I went back from the bridge to the path to the valley bottom.

Path down to Causey Burn from the Causey Arch
Path down to Causey Burn from the Causey Arch

The Causey Arch seen from the footbridge
The Causey Arch seen from the footbridge

The Causey Arch railway bridge founded on the same rock in the valley side as was quarried locally to build the structure
The Causey Arch railway bridge founded on the same rock in the valley side as was quarried locally to build the structure

Rocky outcrop above the path by Causey Burn
Rocky outcrop above the path by Causey Burn


Looking back to the junction where the path down from the arch meets the path up from the burn

The whole route had been about 7km and it had taken me almost three hours to walk (it's my slow pace & wonky knees that governs our speed these days!) It had been a very pretty and interesting walk and we drove back to my brother-in-law's home nearby for our evening meal.

From the footbridge I followed the path along the valley bottom to a sign indicating the path up the valley side to join the path coming from the old railway bridge and return to the car park. As I climbed up the valley side I found my brother-in-law waiting for me where the paths joined and we walked the final 150m back to the car park together.

Steps back up to the car park from Causey Burn
Steps back up to the car park from Causey Burn

My brother-in-law met me at the junction
My brother-in-law met me at the junction

Entering the car park at the end of our walk
Entering the car park at the end of our walk

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