Start by parking your car or arriving at the centre of Middleton-in-Teesdale.
1) Turn left out of the car park and walk through the town. After passing the baker’s shop, cross the road and walk over the bridge across Hudeshope Beck and continuing up the steep hill known as The Hude.
2) Turn right when you reach a waymark sign on a stone wall and walk up the steps.
The steps lead to a broad footpath which takes you through woodland above the beck. After you have walked 400 yards you will cross a wooden cart bridge to join a road.
3) Turn left and continue for about half a mile to the end of the surface road.
Cross the stone Miners’ Bridge, once more walking alongside conifer woodland above the beck. After 500 yards you will reach a wooden footbridge and some steps, known locally as “The 100 Steps”.
4) When you reach the top of the steps, climb over two stiles set close to each other.
You will now need to climb uphill and cross the fields in a diagonal direction towards the white farmhouse in the distance. Several stone stiles will guide you in the right direction. Take your time selecting a suitable section to cross to steep-sided Clubgill Sike then continue up the bank.
Keeping the white farmhouse on your left, and after two more stiles, you will reach the road.
5) Turn right. Before you continue down the road make a short detour on the wide track to your left which leads to the remains of Coldberry Mine. On your left you will see the entrance to a level and on your right is the restored building which was the mineshop where miners lodged during the week.
As you look around the valley, you can see that the lead mining industry had a substantial influence on the landscape.
Retrace your steps to the road and continue around the head of Hudeshope (3/4 mile).
6) Leave the road by turning right at the first fingerpost and head in the direction of a stone building.
(At this point my camera ran out, so just written directions from here, but a map of the route is at the bottom of the page)
Cross the stream and head for a gate with a stile nearby in the wall. On the other side of the wall cross Marl Beck and continue along a wide grassy track through the remains of Marlbeck Lead Mine. The building you can see is another lodging shop where miners would live during the week.
As you walk further along you can see on your right the remains of High Skears Mine bouseteams.
“Bouse” was the mixture of ore and waste rock, which this was used to separate. Miners were paid on the lead ore content, in an old fashioned version of results only working!
7) When you reach a field gate pass through and continue alongside the stone wall on your right (don’t follow the track uphill to the left). This bit can be muddy.
8) Walk through three fields then in the next field make your way to the stile on the right, this takes you into woodland then continue down some steep steps. You will emerge from the trees beside the former Skears lime kilns where there is an interpretive board explaining their history.
9) Immediately after the limekilns, take the left hand path along the edge of Snaisgill Plantation. Continue along this footpath for ¼ mile passing a ladder stile on the left. Follow the wall as it turns left then immediately; look out for the waymarked path as it forks to the right down through the trees.
10) Cross a footbridge over Snaisgill Beck and then within twenty yards, turn right to join the path heading back along the valley side. Continue through the woods.
After about ½ mile the path descends and joins the tarmac road. Turn left and after 50 yards turn right along the road to Middleton.