Wild Flowers and Moors
Park at Balderhead Reservoir car park (DL12 9UX)
5.5 mile circular walk
Walk across the Balderhead Dam causeway to the south side of the reservoir. Double back left on the stony track descending past the Blackton Youth Hostel. Beyond this a grass track leads down towards the Blackton Reservoir where it meets the Pennine Way track beyond a gate. It’s worth detouring left from here to visit the wetlands on the north west shores before returning to this point (it’s also very pretty). Turn right along the track and climb past Clove Lodge.
Beyond this take the tarmac lane to your left. On your left you pass the pastures of several farms, while on your right are the barren slopes of Cotherstone Moor. Just beyond the driveway of East Friar House take the narrow path climbing half right (south east) towards the rocks of Goldsborough (part of the Bowes Loop Pennine Way alternative).
By the first of the rocks take the left fork to climb to the summit. Return to this position, then take a narrow right fork path that descends northwards, back to the road. Turn right along the road and follow it down to Hury Reservoir.
Just beyond Willoughby Hall, double back left along the Northumbrian Water access track, then turn right off it along the grassy causeway to the north of the reservoir. A path veers left above the north shore, climbs above the Blackton Dam where it goes through a gate on the right.
Through a second gate in the north-west corner of the field the path veers right alongside a line of hawthorns, then turns left alongside more hawthorn trees. Past an old barn, walls to the right at first, then to the left guide the route to the footbridge across Blind Beck. Waymarking arrows are now aiding route-finding.
The footpath now crosses two fields, parallel with the reservoir’s shoreline. In a third field, follow the dry-stone wall half-left down towards Low Birk Hat, then pass in front of the farmhouse to reach a stony track. The house itself is now in private ownership and it would be courteous not to pause too long here. Turn right along the gated track and climb out of the valley, past Hannah’s Meadow and High Birk Hat to reach a higher road. Turn left then take the next turning on the left, a tarmac lane back to the car park.
Aqua3 OS Explorer OL31 North Pennines Start/finish NY 928187