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On the Richard Watson Trail

April 25, 2013

View of Holwick Scars on the Richard Watson Trail
Yesterday I had the opportunity to try out the new Richard Watson Trail created by the North Pennines AONB. AONB stands for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Having completed the walk which includes part of Richard Watson’s original journey to work I can confirm that it is indeed outstandingly, naturally, beautiful. The walk is an easy, if ‘clarty’, few miles which take in many traditional Teesdale features such as the field barns and white-washed Raby farms.
Richard Watson was a lead-miner poet who is now known as The Teesdale Bard. His most famous poem ‘A Journey to Work’ features several areas of interest on the route such as the former blacksmith’s shop at Newbiggin and the shooting lodge at Holwick. The photograph at the start of this post shows the view of Holwick Scars which were created by the lead-mining activity known as ‘hushing.’
Accompanying me on the walk and captured on camera is Dalescape Festival organiser Dr. Anne Allen. Anne has worked with Teesdale Marketing to put together a comprehensive package of walks which include special interest walks during which participants will be encouraged to develop creative writing, photography and landscape art skills. Details of all the walks are available on
The site includes information about booking tickets and accommodation for the guided walking festival which takes place from the 7th to the 9th June. You can also check out the programme of fringe events such as dinner with Countryfile presenter Jules Hudson on Saturday 8th June and an appearance by Richard Watson himself (aka Neil Diment) during a Wine and Words poetry event at NeST gallery in Barnard Castle on Friday 7th June. Neil will give a brief talk about the life of the Teesdale Bard and read examples of his work. It is hoped that you will be inspired to write your own verse when walking the Richard Watson trail on either the Saturday or Sunday morning.
With any luck the weather will be warmer and the going firmer by then. Am still waiting for my boots to dry out so that I can shake off the mud ready for their next sortie.

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