Stage 9 of the Pennine Way takes us 17 miles from Tan Hill to Middleton in Teesdale. If you’re not an early riser then you may enjoy breakfast at Tan Hill before setting off. Todays highlights include the Stainmore Gap, God’s Bridge, Blackton Nature Reserve, Grassholme Reservoir as well as Middleton in Teesdale which is full of pubs, restaurants, hotels and has a decent sized supermarket.
Today begins with a boggy unclear walk on Sleightholme Moor. I did this section at the end of July and it was overgrown with heather and extremely boggy. The path leaving Tan Hill is clear but soon disappears so do your best to not get lost. On a positive note, the closer you get to Sleightholme, the clearer the path becomes. Finally, as soon as you leave Tan Hill, you’re leaving North Yorkshire and entering County Durham.
There are some stunning views to enjoy as you walk through Sleightholme. Once you pass through this farm there’s a short steep incline. As I reached the top there was a surprised lapwing looking back at me!
The Pennine Way crosses over the River Greta at God’s Bridge. God’s Bridge is a natural limestone bridge. As a result, it’s one of the most noteworthy bridges we cross on the Pennine Way. Compare this bridge with the M62 Summit Bridge we crossed on day 3! Lastly, when I arrived at the bridge, there were a couple of raptors sitting on the dilapidated barn beside it.
It’s impossible not to realize you’re approaching the noisy A66 road. Maybe this will disturb your peace a little after crossing God’s Bridge. In contrast, there’s also a nice little tuck shop beside the road if you’re feeling a little peckish.
Stainmore Gap – A66
There’s an underpass which will take you safely to the other side of the busy A66 road.
After walking alongside the A66 for a short while, the Pennine Way heads away to Dryrigg Moss. Dryrigg Moss is a moorland walk on a well marked path which leads to Blackton Reservoir Nature Reserve.
Blackton Reservoir Nature Reserve
The Pennine Way passes by Blackton Reservoir Nature Reserve. Wildlife to look out for includes widgeon, tufted duck, sandpiper, teal, curlews and greylag geese. As a matter of fact, Blackton Reservoir Nature Reserve is a good place to sit, take a break while eating a snack. After Blackton Reservoir, the Pennine Way passes Hannah’s Meadow which features a species rich plant community.
The Pennine Way crosses the western end of Grassholme Reservoir. In fact, you cross it over a bridge which gives stunning aerial views. After crossing Grassholme Reservoir there’s an uphill through farmland which offers panoramic views over the Lune Valley.
Northern Wheatear and Meadow Pipits
As I passed through fields and farmland in the Lune Valley there were many wheatears and meadow pipits. You’ll certainly hear them singing before you see them.
Middleton in Teesdale
Middleton in Teesdale is definitely one of the best stops on the Pennine Way. Not only is it a cute town but it also boasts several amenities which you may be missing as you walk through the Pennines. In Middleton in Teesdale there are hotels, B&Bs, campsites, takeaways, pubs, restaurants as well as a couple of supermarkets. Relax and enjoy your evening here. Another reason to relax is that tomorrow is the most beautiful day on the Pennine Way and a relatively flat walk.
Where to Stay in Middleton in Teesdale
If there’s only one place you’d choose for a Bed and Breakfast on the Pennine Way, I’d choose an excellent value option in Middleton in Teesdale. Alternatively, choose a campsite on the edge of town.
Stage 10 – Middleton in Teesdale to Dufton