Dating back to the first half of the 19th century, Shildon has a long history of coal mining and railways which transformed its population after the industrial revolution. What was once a small crossroads with a few houses is now a town of almost 10,000 inhabitants and some of the best take-aways in the county! But there is also a hidden Shildon, just out of sight, but very easily accessible.
Along with its industrial revolution history, Shildon has some of the greatest scenic views in the area. You can see some amazing views from Eldon Bank Top beside the old miners’ cottages; views of Bishop Auckland and the surrounding area.
There are various different walks around Shildon. One in particular is easily accessible with a convenient little parking area available. Along Eldon Bank Top coming from Shildon town centre, just after the turning for Fulton Court on your left there’s a small parking area which leads onto a Public Footpath. The footpath splits into two as you come up to the barrier, doubling the number of places to explore!
For families with younger children, or older walkers looking for something a bit easier than moorland, this walk is ideal, safe, simple and conveniently located
The footpath can get very muddy, but not slippery, so remember to bring your wellies if the weather has been bad. I found the pebbly surface helped to stop me from sliding everywhere like I normally do in the mud, especially in wellies…
And on that note, it makes the perfect walk for children to experience splodging through mud in their wellingtons. But don’t panic! There’s plenty of long grass where you can clean off your boots before they set foot in your car.
Along the path you’re surrounded by livestock and agriculture fields, so try to ensure if you have dogs that they are kept under control so not to disturb any animals.
The views as you walk down the path are outstanding, especially on a nice summer day. Wild flowers are everywhere and the endless sound of birds chirping and tweeting in the trees makes you forget just how close to civilisation you are. Maybe the occasional sound of a passing train will bring you back to reality, but no promises.
Have you ever watched a buzzard or a sparrowhawk spot its prey and dive for it? Its an amazing sight.
If you enjoy blackberry picking, this is the ideal place to go. There are endless vines of brambles providing shelter and a food source to some of the local wildlife.
If you enjoy bird watching I spotted a buzzard and a couple of Eurasian Siskins – pretty little birds. I would have spotted more if I had brought my binoculars and identification charts. You’d think I’d learn to be prepared by now!
The downward slope works in your favour for watching aerial predators soar through the air searching for their lunch. Have you ever watched a buzzard or a sparrowhawk spot its prey and dive for it? Its an amazing sight.
The path isn’t long, nor is it difficult to walk, gradually descending until you come out on the road between Coronation and Eldon. Of course, that is if you follow the path straight down. There are various paths which lead away from the main footpath which also need exploring.
Conveniently, there’s a lovely little shop where you can grab a snack or a drink to regain your energy for the walk back up the hill.
At the bottom of the hill, where the path ends, there’s a lovely flat field where you could have a picnic while the kids tire themselves out chasing the dog around. Imagine that, a nice quiet night at home with the kids falling asleep on the couch and the dogs sound asleep on their beds. Sounds like bliss, right? And it’s so easy to do!
For families with younger children, or older walkers who are looking for something a bit easier than moorland but more exciting than roads, this walk is ideal, safe, simple and conveniently located next to shops for last minute necessities and luxuries.
So, what are you waiting for?