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Red Kite Trail

Red Kite Trail

Tue 26th March 2019

Our group of walkers for the day assembled at the new Oak and Iron Heritage centre at Winlaton Mill on a lovely sunny and clear morning albeit with a brisk breeze. Mark introduced himself and Jackie and welcomed everyone to Shepherds Walks and outlined the day’s walk.

Mark took us up Kite Hill from where a wonderful panoramic view of the Derwent Valley was enjoyed with the Nine Arches bridge, the Gibside Estate and the ruin of Hollinside Mannor were prominent. We then joined the disused Derwent railway and made our way through Rowlands Gill to Lintzford – on this stretch we saw our first (of several) red kites and the remains of Friarside Chapel, an old medieval plague hospital.

After leaving the railway our route took us into and through the wonderful Chopwell Woods to High Spen. Whilst several sightings of kites in the distance had been seen, it was at this point on the walk that above an open field one of these majestic birds flew and circled right above our group for a few minutes. Our trail then took us through more woods and open fields to Thornley and then back to our starting point at the heritage centre.

At various points on the walk we rested while Mark talked about a number of topics – the Northern Red Kites programme, the industrial history of the valley incorporating Ambrose Crowley’s ironworks of the early 1700’s, the Derwenthaugh coke works, and the Derwent railway.

Everyone enjoyed this 11mile trail and some of us were rewarded with a welcome hot drink in the café at the centre!

Mark

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