Photo of Teesdale by Coast to Coast Photography

Explore Teesdale

Home of the Blue Gentian, Teesdale is a rural community found between the Durham and Yorkshire Dales with large parts of Upper Teesdale falling in the Northern Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, however, the area remains somewhat of a well-kept secret. The village of Mickleton sits settled into the Dale and is overlooked by the Bronze Age burial site of Kirk Carrion. It is here on farmland set back from the village that Toadlands is situated. The name Toadlands originally derives from the amphibian wildlife residing on the land, although the wildlife remains plentiful, these days a sighting of its namesake would be rather rare.

Old Railway Signal at Romaldkirk


Teesdale has a great selection of walking routes that are all  accessible from Toadlands by foot or a short drive. It is worth purchasing a map and exploring the Tees Valley Railway Walk, The Teesdale Way and The Pennine Way.


Situated close to the old Railway Station, Toadlands rests near the Tees Valley Railway walk. The line opened in 1868 and connected Barnard Castle to Alston but after its closure in 1964 was repurposed as a footpath. Guests can enjoy venturing along the scenic route that links the picturesque villages along a trail of patchwork fields, drystone wall, hedgerows, and wildflower. Follow the route from Mickleton towards Middleton-in-Teesdale, over a spectacular 19th century Grade II listed viaduct which rises across the river Lune. 

Slightly above the village lies Grassholme Reservoir. Home to the Dark Skies Observatory which can be booked through the Grassholme Observatory Website. Through the day the reservoir also provides a wonderful location for a 4-mile circular walk and is home to Teesdale Sailing and Water Sports Club that offer RYA Training Courses, so if you fancy getting your boat licence, you’re in the right place. The village has a choice of two pubs, the Blacksmiths Arms, serving freshly made pizzas from their pizza oven, and The Crown (closed due to Covid-19, but currently does take-away food) which serves delicious food and drink.

The Mill Mickleton
A Teesdale Farm
Kirk Carrion framed out of the Sheperd's Hut Window
Grassholme Reservoir
High Force Waterfall

The Dales

Walk from Mickleton to Romaldskirk a picturesque village and home to the Rose and Crown, a 18th century Coaching Inn situated next to a Saxon Church. Take a short drive to Cotherstone, where a delightful Dales cheese, has been made since at least 1858, or visit Lartington, in whose hall a family of recusants lived in Civil War times. Take a trip to Eggleston Hall, and pop into the tea rooms and garden centre with its lovely Victorian green houses. 

Visit the village of Middleton-in-Teesdale, which in the 19th century was the headquarters of the London Lead Company, and follow the road up to High Force, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Britain. The High Force Hotel has recently been renovated by the Raby Estate, the local landowner, Lord Barnard, whose seat Raby Castle in Staindrop is well worth a visit. After High Force is a stretch of the Pennine Way and the largest juniper wood in England, the grasslands nearby are a botanist’s delight. Not only are they home to Mountain Pansies, Lady’s Mantle and Early Purple Orchids but are the only place in England where you can see the Yves Klein blue flowers of the spring gentian in the wild.

Barnard Castle is the largest town in the area, known for its brilliant antique shops, it is home to a great selection of cafes and shops and a popular farmers market on the cobbles every Wednesday, as well as the first Saturday of the month. It is also the home of the extraordinary Bowes Museum, a purpose-built art gallery finished in 1892, with a nationally renowned collection. Barnard Castle is also the beginning of a great section of the Teesdale Way walk. Beginning at the ruins of Egglestone Abbey, follow the route past Rokeby Park, once the home of the Rokeby Venus by Velázquez, to the Meeting of the Waters, where the River Greta meets the Tees.