An early Autumn walk along the Kings Walk and back along the Beck Road provided Pip the Collie with a chance to sniff amongst the undergrowth. As I walked I was reminded of this account of the walk which appears in the “Guide Book to the Walks in Middleton-in-Teeesdale” first published by Heavisides in 1920. (You can download the King’s Walk guide produced as part of the Walk Through Time project here)
THE KING’S WALK AND JACK SCAR.
Distance, there and back, two miles.
It was a happy idea when the Middleton-in-Teesdale Parish Council approached Lord Barnard to throw open to the public the woods lying to the North of the town. His Lordship readily assented to the request, and the Parish Council at once set on foot the making of roads, the erection of rustic bridges, fencing, etc. It is called the ” King’s Walk,” in compliment to our late beloved King Edward VII., and for some years the inhabitants and visitors have had the great pleasure of enjoying the walk.
This is undoubtedly the most delightful short walk in the district, due in a great measure to the great wealth of Scotch firs and larches abounding, and to the rich blue-green of their foliage, which is ever fine. In fact, it is a walk, so far as the valley alone is concerned that may be enjoyed any day in the year. Seats are placed in coigns of vantage and will be appreciated by elderly and delicate people.
It was in the early part of October that I crossed the bridge spanning Skears beck, at the Northern end of the town, and noted the quick turn of the highway to the left, which leads to High Force, 4 miles; Langdon Beck Hotel, 7 miles; and Alston, 22 miles, said to be the highest town in England.
I continued straight on the road up what is called ” Hude,” and just beyond the Baptist Chapel, on the opposite side of the road I ascended some stone steps, which gave access to commanding ground, from which point was a bird’s-eye view of the old town.
In a few yards I entered the delightful woods. It was the time of year which we call the Indian summer, there was stillness in the air, and is I walked on enjoying the scene, leaves in their warm Autumn tints fell gently to the ground and already there was a wealth of colour on Mother Earth.
Presently a walk diverged to the right and led down to a pretty rustic bridge over the stream. I continued on the main pathway and opening a gate and crossing a bridge a transformation took place, for on my right was a grand pine wood and opposite the valley was Skears beck. As I saw it, the stream was almost dry and varied in width from 20 feet to 20 yards, but I can imagine that when it has its war paint on that the water will come down grandly.
As I advanced, the road wound about and presently I came to a grim rocky waterfall on the same Skears beck, a couple of stately firs appearing in the background which appeared to be a suitable subject for my camera. Afterwards I passed a limekiln all aglow, the smoke issuing from the top of the kiln. Limestone is plentiful in the district, and this is a small local industry.
Heavisides,M. A Guide Book to the Walks in Middleton-in-Teeesdale. 1920. Heavisides and Son Stockton-on-Tees pages 14 to 17