The Hurworth Burn Railway Path: The Ten Mile Walk from Station Town to Stockton

The Castle Eden Railway was a route which spanned from the coalfields of East Durham to the River Tees. Linking the villages of Wingate and Station Town with Stockton and Thornaby, the railway was in operation from 1877 to 1968, coming to an end with the Beeching Axe. By the 1980s, the route had been transformed into a footpath which marks one of the longest continuous walking routes in County Durham.

In February 2024, as part of a walk to Helmsley in North Yorkshire, this author taken the Hurworth Burn Railway Path, or the Castle Eden Walkway, in order to pass through County Durham in order to reach Teesside, where I spent the night in Yarm. Having entered the path from the former mining village of Station Town, I followed it southwards for ten miles until I emerged in Stockton.

The Railway Path is a colourful, interesting if not sometimes intimidating route that bears the marks of its long industrial history. The route first passes the Hurworth Burn Reservoir, before eventually reaching a forested area known as the Wynyard Woodland Park Country Park. While proceeding through the woodland, one may note many former arched bridges hanging over the former railway route. Sometimes there may be traces of anti-social behaviour left within the woodland, including a completely burnt out car.

Eventually, one will reach the settlement of Thorpe Thewles. Here, its vintage former railway station, long since closed, has been converted into a cafe and tea rooms and is a nice place to visit, with its exterior and platform largely preserved. After Thorpe, the footpath quickly takes a more “Post-Industrial” and a slightly grim dystopian nature as it enters the outskirts of Stockton with visible power stations, large pipes and an “urban decay” feel about it. Eventually, you come out at Harrowgate Lane on the outer ring of Stockton proper.

It is possible to continue the footpath through Stockton itself which proceeds towards the River Tees before disappearing in a housing area. However, it was not fully followed through on this journey as I headed onwards to Yarm.

Overall, the Castle Eden Walkway is a very long and exhausting route. Spanning through the open fields of County Durham, apart from the Tea Rooms in the former station there are no places to stop and rest along the way whatsoever. I was not able to purchase anything from leaving the pit villages until Sainsburys in Stockton, so a hiker should be well prepared. Saying that, this is well suited for a very long bike ride.