I should have done this post before Belsay Castle and Bolam Lake as Sophie and I visited here a month earlier, but I forgot I hadn’t done it so here it is.
The History Bit
Wynyard Woodland Park (formerly known as the Castle Eden Walkway) started life as a working railway carrying freight to the ports along the River Tees. There are miles of flat footpaths, (remember that phrase dear reader) and numerous circular walks for trompsing around. And the old railway station is now a visitor centre. Thorpe Thewles was a small country station located on the Stockton and Castle Eden branch of the North East Railway approximately 5 miles north of Stockton-on-Tees and slightly northeast of the village it served. The line was opened for traffic by 1882.
The branch itself was an important part of the railway network, taking pressure off the heavily used routes around the Stockton area. There was never a great potential for passenger revenue, as the communities served were quite small. Around the turn of the nineteenth century Thorpe Thewles itself only had a population of around 300. Nevertheless, in the 1930’s, the branch was provided with 5 trains a day in each direction between Stockton and Wellfield.
The bulk of traffic was coal, together with materials for the regional industries especially shipbuilding. The line connected Teesside with Sunderland and Tyneside. Hay, livestock and clover were the usual goods cargo handled by the station, and there were coal drops to serve the surrounding community.
The line’s final demise even as a bypass route occurred as a result of the Beeching Axe review, closing in stages between 1966 and 1968.
There was an incident shortly before WW1 when the station master of Wynyard station, Mr G Dodds, discovered the dead body of the station master (name unknown) at Thorpe Thewles who is believed to have been murdered. Apparently his ghost wanders the visitor centre, so there’s that, if you believe in such things.
On with some pictures!
These guys were going to move so that we could take pictures of the sign, but I asked them to stay put and they were all smiley. 😊
We went along one of the circular walks without a map or anything and ended up walking miles not knowing where we were, that happens quite often to us. 🤷♀️
We started out well and came to this wonderful railway bridge with just amazing brickwork.
We came across a sculpture by Colin Wilbourne ~ the Celestial Kitchen. The park is also home to a planetarium and observatory, managed by the Cleveland and Darlington Astronomical Society so it’s to do with that, though we never found the observatory.
Each of the giant kitchen implements has a reference to the stars, the sun or various celestial movements.
You can read more about that on Mr.Wilbourn’s website HERE if you so desire.
On we trundled, I think we did the whole perimeter of the park instead of an actual prescribed walk and it took ages, with not much to photograph other than cows and pylons.
Eventually we got to a kind of junction on the pathway and had a choice of left or right- we chose right, which was also just plain wrong. Do you remember that phrase? Miles of flat footpaths? This stairway might as well have been up the side of Mount Everest, I nearly died before we got to the top. I am sure it is Sophie’s mission in life to make me do hills when we are out on our trips, and only herself would find a bliddy hill when it says miles of flat footpaths. 🥴🤣 I so moan whilst I’m going up.
Eventually we found our way back to the visitor centre and sat outside to have a very nice Panini from their café (we are the Panini Queens) and watch the birdies bobbing for crumbs.
All pictures have clickability for embiggeration.
and a few more pictures can be found HERE
Stay tooned for someotherwhere next time! 📷 😊