THE KING’S WALK AND THE MINERS BRIDGE
Starting from the war memorial, walk along Wesley Terrace. At the playground, follow the footpath uphill past a beech hedge which screens St. Mary’s churchyard. Continue along the path as it turns left and then right into a field. After a few yards, go left through a stile into a courtyard. Head diagonally right, up two steps and along a narrow passage between the houses to the road. At the road, turn right, walk 50 yards and go left along another road into the woods. Almost immediately, take a rough track up through the trees on your right. This is The Kings Walk and is not a public right of way – permission has been granted by Raby Estates for people to walk on it.
Follow this track as it climbs up through pine and beech trees and bends right up a short, steep hill to a barn on the right. At this point, bear left on the track as it continues up through the trees and drop down to a small wooden bridge over Snaisgill Beck. Cross this bridge and go left along the narrow path up to a stone wall on the edge of the plantation. From the wall turn left and follow it along the edge of the trees and downhill to a track close to the disused lime kilns. These kilns are an important reminder of local industrial heritage and the use of lime in farming. Limestone from the nearby Skears Quarry was burnt in the kilns and used to improve local soil. The furthest kiln with pointed arches was built in 1840. Please take care near the kilns and do not damage any of the stonework.
For an easy return into Middleton turn left onto the Beck Road and enjoy a picnic alongside the attractive Hudeshope Beck. After a mile you meet the main road, turn right down the hill and past the church into the centre of the village and the car park. (A leisurely walk just on the Beck Road is also recommended.)
To return via Aukside, turn right to cross over the Miner’s Bridge and go through a gate immediately on the left. Keep left to cross a stream and head for the fence going up the hill, do not cross the small wooden stile but follow the fence up the steep hillside. At the top, there is a fine view of the bridge and kilns. Do not go through the gate but turn right and follow the stone wall for a short distance and cross a stile into a large field. Walk diagonally across this field, gently uphill past a small pond to a stone stile. Go over this and follow the wall in the next field to another stile in the far left hand corner by a stone barn.
Over the stile, follow the road downhill for 200 metres and turn left through the gates next to the large house known as Aukside Villa and into a large field. Keep to the right hand side of the field for another 200 metres where you cross a small stone slab bridge and go through a stile in the wall. Keep in single file across two fields, passing a small stone barn on your left, to a small wooden gate in the field corner. Go through this and follow the narrow path alongside Throstle Gill, with a stone wall on the right. Descend to join a wider track in the woods and turn right along this before going left in front of a house. From here, a fine view of Middleton opens out below you. Go down steps between the cottages and turn left downhill to Alston Road and return to the village past Seed Hill, the Teesdale Hotel on the left and the Foresters Hotel on the right.
The shorter walk returning via the Beck road from the Miners Bridge is 3 miles long and the longer route returning via Aukside is 4 miles long. The routes via the Kings Walk and via Aukside require stout footwear and are not suitable for wheelchair users or pushchairs. The Beck Road is easily accessible for all walkers. Remember to always keep dogs under close control and follow the countryside code.