Barnard Castle Life - Picture of sheep in the countryside

Barnard Castle is situated at the eastern end of the Stainmore gap across the Pennines. It is about 16 miles west of Darlington, 11 north-west of Richmond and 25 miles south-west of Durham.

The place has all the charm associated with its ancient history It is set in the most delightful countryside with the Tees flowing on the south, at times angrily and at others sparkling over its rocky bed, giving delight to eye and ear.

Its banks are clad with lovely woods, precipitous rocks and pleasant walks open to all. Beyond, to the south, is the Greta, the inspiration of poets and of artists, and on the horizon is the Stang and the Yorkshire hills forming the watershed between the Tees and the Swale.

North west, along the valley of the upper Tees, is delightful wooded country leading to Middleton, High Force waterfall Cauldron Snout, magnificent in its loneliness, and Mickle Fell towering on the horizon.

West is Deepdale through which flows Deepdale beck from its source on Stain-more and approaching Barnard Castle through a densely wooded and rocky ravine.

Beyond this again is Bowes with its Norman castle and church standing on a Roman fort lying athwart the pass into Westmorland, impressive by its wild vistas and its associations with the rugged features of early school life made unpleasantly famous by Charles Dickens.

To the north-west are the wild fells on which at one time were seen trains of pack-horses carrying the lead and other ores from the mines which gave so much wealth to the district in bygone days.

To the north are the ancient villages of Stainton and Staindrop which preserves the general features of one of our finest examples of a medieval stronghold.

To the east are the ruins of Egglestone Abbey and Rokeby, made famous by Sir Walter Scott in his epic poem of the latter name, and, near where the idyllic Greta meets the Tees, is Mortham Tower, the latest and one of the most southerly of border pele towers.

Beyond this again is Wycliffe with its ancient church stilt retaining Anglo-Saxon carvings, and on the north bank of the Tees is the pleasant village of Whorlton with its memories of strenuous battle-training in preparation for the fighting which eventually had its success in the surrender of the German Army in 1945. Farther to the east is another charming village, Winston, and beyond this again is Gainford with its village green, ancient church and fine old houses.

Barnard Castle and its neighbourhood possess charm and interest for the most varied tastes. Nature, helped in the 18th century by men of vision and industry, has produced one of her outstanding masterpieces.

What the countryside looked like before the river valleys and becks were formed we cannot clearly describe. We know that in the remote past seas covered the area and at other times volcanic eruptions outlined the main masses of the landscape. Over half a million years ago great glaciers spread over the country, and in their later stages the flood waters from the melting ice cut through the main masses of rock to form the river beds.

These glaciers left behind great boulders of granite which had been carried from Shap far away to the west. In cutting through the rock the different strata have been exposed, especially the limestone which gives that wonderful tone of green to vegetation and the delightful hues of wild plants.