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Do the undead really walk in the shadow of Sutton Bank ?


During the Middle-Ages there was a commonly held belief that the dead could rise and walk among the living. This was not in the modern sense of the brain-eating zombie but rather that the dead just got up and went about their everyday business. Obviously this was pretty disconcerting to family and friends left behind.


During the 1400’s the Rector of Kirkby died and being a man of the cloth his body was buried at Byland. Unfortunately he was a man who would not lie down and his body took regular nightly walks through the area. The locals were obviously not over-joyed by having a walking dead man in their midst and protestations were subsequently made to the Abbot of Byland.


However, it was not until, on one of his nightly walks, he visited his mistress and caused her injury that anything was decided to be done about the matter. Even in life the rector can’t have obeyed the strict religious practices of the church in order to have a mistress in the first place. Anyway, this was the last straw and the Abbot had the rector’s body dug up from his grave and thrown into the watery depths of Gormire Lake where he is to this day.


How much of this old tale is true is not known, apart from the belief that the dead could walk that is. Did the Abbot really have the reactor’s body thrown in the lake and, if so, does the rector still take his nightly strolls only now in the woods surrounding the lake.



This historical snippet comes from our book ‘Walking in the Hambleton Hills’.


The Hambleton Hills lie in the south western corner of the North York Moors and contain a range of landscapes from heather-clad moors, forested hills, and secluded valleys. All coupled with a fascinating history.


Until the 19th March you can obtain 20% off the retail price of this book when purchased from our website. Just enter the discount code HAMBLETON when completing the shopping cart. Just follow the link below to go straight to the book.





Its not very often that you get the opportunity for a ridge walk in the Durham Dales but an unexpected day out gave us the chance to visit Catterick yesterday. Not the garrison town in North Yorkshire but rather the hill above the Bollihope valley in Weardale. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a razor-sharp narrow ridge like those found in the Lakes, the Durham Dales just don’t do things like that. This one is slightly wider and only runs for about half a mile or so but it is still a discernible ridge with crags on the Bollihope side and the slope down to Weardale on the other. However, like most ridge walks it did present some stunning views out over Bollihope and the surrounding high hills. Not least due to the snow cover on the tops at the head of the dale.


The walk itself contained a fair bit of heather bashing but this was not so bad and there were plenty of narrow paths and sheep trods to take advantage of which made the going a lot easier. A mixture of bright, sunny intervals and dark overcast skies coupled with the occasional flake of snow gave the walk even more interest. If you do get the opportunity to visit the trig point on Catterick then take it, you wouldn’t regret it.


This walk will appear in a forthcoming book ‘Walking in Weardale Book 3’ which will be released later in the year.




Over the winter months we picked up a new stockist for our books in the shape of the Chatterbox Café. Situated in the Market Place in St John’s Chapel, the gateway to Upper Weardale, the café has been open for a couple of years and has gained a good reputation amongst walkers, cyclists and other members of the outdoor fraternity. Definitely worth a visit if you are planning a walk from St John’s Chapel or indeed anywhere in the upper dale.



A stroll yesterday in one of the least-walked areas of Teesdale -  the head of Lunedale up above Grains o’ th’ Beck. This area isn’t visited that often, not least because of a lack of public rights of way. However, large expanses of it are public access land and if you are prepared for a little bit of rough walking, you can link a large number of shooter’s tracks that criss-cross the area.


This is a lovely, wide-open area as the photos show, and one that has far-reaching views. It is also one that has some surprising little secrets. This includes one of the three known Neolithic stone circles that were sited in Teesdale. There is also, for those interested in industrial archaeology, a whole wealth of remains from the heyday of lead mining.


This walk will feature in the forthcoming book ‘Walking in Teesdale Book 2’, which will be released later in the year.




Here at Trailguides we like to think that we produce some very good guide books, books that are easy to follow and which provide a unique insight into our landscape. Over the years, as testimony to our philosophy, we have developed a loyal following some of whom purchase virtually every guide that we publish. Last year we released ‘Walking in the Simonside Hills’ an addition to our range of guides to Northumberland and one that covers what is thought of being a highly popular walking area but one which, surprisingly, hides many secrets. Well seems that we are not the only people that like it. The Ramblers in the Winter edition of their Walk magazine have printed a very favourable review of the guide which is reprinted below. However, to receive 20% off the retail price of this excellent guide simply enter the discount code SIMONSIDE in the shopping cart when you purchase this book from our website. This offer lasts until the 3rd of March.


 The Simonside Hills lie between Coquetdale and Redesdale in the far east of Northumberland National Park, a ridge of sandstone hills south west of Rothbury that separate the Cheviots from the coastal plain. It’s a mix of moorland, rough pasture and woods, and includes some important prehistoric remains, including hill forts, burial mounds and Neolithic rock art. This book introduces the area via nine varied day walks, 4-10 miles long and crossing a wide mix of terrain. The walks are well described in text, maps and photos, but there’s also plenty of local knowledge and interpretation that helps you decode this fascinating and relatively little-walked landscape.

 Walk. Magazine of the Ramblers. Winter 2015.






A new scheme has opened that allows the public to support the maintenance of the country’s national trails such as the Cleveland Way and Pennine Way.

With government spending cuts affecting the funding of bodies such as the national parks, money for work on these trails is also being reduced. Now a new donation scheme has been set up that allows walkers to donate directly to whichever national trail that they wish to support.

To make a donation visit the page for your favourite trail at



A walk yesterday on the south side of Teesdale, going around the Stang Forest to search out an old lead mine and the remains of a couple of Roman shrines. Or that was the intention. Unfortunately the weather hadn’t been reading the same script as us. Although not particularly high, this is an interesting area of moorland not least because it is not that well walked. However, right from the start thick mist that surrounded the Stang made the walk a little bit dubious. Anyway Scargill Lead Mine itself was easy to find, quite straight forward once you’d left the forest. Then the snow started to persistently come down and for long periods quite heavy. We persevered for a while but with thick mist and heavy snow there was little visibility and the only reasonable alternative was to say enough is enough and head back to the security of the forest. But we still got in a two hour walk around the forest and its near moor plus we found the lead mine that we were looking for. It isn’t the first time that we’ve had to cut a walk short because of the weather and I doubt that it will be the last.

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