Jo’s Monday walk : Cotherstone and the Teesdale Way

If you saw my shabby summerhouse last week, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the Open Garden scheme.  Sometimes it throws up a real jewel.  It’s a bit of a bus man’s holiday for my husband, but you can always get him to go and look at a garden.  Me, I’m just happy to go somewhere new.  Not that Cotherstone is new, exactly.  We’ve driven by this village en route to Teesdale and the falls beyond, and scarcely noticed it.  Discovering that the whole village opened its gardens for charity gave us a golden opportunity to explore.

Map in hand, off we went!  There were 15 or more gardens to delight in.  You’ll note that we didn’t get very far before the coffee stop, but we’d had a longish drive from home.  Looking over the garden wall of The Limes was just too tempting. (and the homemade rhubarb slice was tart and delicious!)  A perfect summer’s day, it was easy to sit in the sunshine and smile at the super keen youngsters of the household.  They were Sunday smart and performing waiting duties, with impeccable manners.

When I did stir myself, I was gifted a fine zucchini plant, much to my astonishment.  Never having mothered such a specimen before, I was a little anxious for its survival, but I’m happy to report that it has since thrived.

The Methodist Chapel was open and I paused long enough to admire the stained glass, and wonder briefly if I should turn my talents to rug making?  Back into the sunshine, I dodged a fearsome looking farm machine, before dipping into another garden.

Each garden had its own character.  Some manicured to within an inch of their life, others far more casual; one devoted to recycled goods, another fragrant with a nosegay of sweetpeas.  Their common factor?  A gardener with a smile, and time to chat.

Midway through the village a narrow lane led down towards a river I hadn’t even realised was there.  I was about to meet the River Balder, which joins the Tees at this point.  On the far shore, a river beach, perfectly sited for cooling tired feet.

It’s an enchanted piece of woodland, leaves dancing in dappled shade over russet waters.  The moss covered bridge must surely have been there in Merlin’s time.  I followed the Teesdale Way just far enough to satisfy my curiosity, and then retraced my steps.  A steep clamber up a stepped path brought us to the top of the village, and what was probably my favourite garden, Glensleigh.  Beautifully terraced, the views were far reaching, and the lovely Norwegian owner didn’t seem to mind in the least that a public right of way ran right through her garden.

A bee-keeping demonstration next, the lady keeper, outfitted like a spaceman, fearlessly handling the honeycomb.  A glance over the allotment walls- time is pressing on!  I’ve lost count of the number of gardens we’ve seen.

Back on the main street, we were offered a celebratory prosecco, and took 10 minutes to admire the owner’s beautifully presented patio.  I can’t say that this is common practise at Open Gardens, but it was very much appreciated on a warm day.

On the village green children were dangling toes in the stream and eating icecreams.  Just a few more visits.  Opposite the magnificent church an aged gentleman sat on a bench in his lovely small patch and exchanged pleasantries.  He’d never left his home county.  ‘Why would he?’ his gentle smile seemed to say.  In the stream at the bottom of his garden, two American crayfish seemed content to end their wanderings too.  Wouldn’t you?

While looking for a few facts about Cotherstone, I came upon this 6 mile circular walk from the Fox and Hounds at West Green.  It covers some of our outing today.  Next time I’ll go looking for the ‘fairy cupboards’.

Apologies to anyone whose walk I haven’t included here today.  I’ve scheduled the post because I’m up on the Northumbrian coast for our anniversary, and I haven’t got my laptop.  They’ll appear in next week’s walk- promise!  Meanwhile, please do read and enjoy….

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My nautical friend, Drake, shares a mutual passion – water!

Sailing

I can’t keep up with Jackie!  Can you?  Wonder what’s to eat?

Bed and Breakfast

How about Niagara, looking floral and lovely, with Alice :

Floral clock, Niagara Parks

Some very personal memories shared by Artfulinguist :

A UVic Stroll Down Memory Lane

Not something I associate with beautiful Norway, but Rupali has set me straight :

A tour to Norwegian cherry farm

Nowhere better than our very own Lake District, with Melodie :

Randonnee/Hike Nether Wasdale

I’m home at teatime (earlier if the weather misbehaves too badly  🙂  ) so I’ll catch up with you all then, if not sooner.  Have a great week!

123 comments

  1. Your photos match your words. Such a wonderful site. I am glad I found your page. The children on the bridge are nostalgic for me and the lady beekeeper was awesome to see. I came across a wonderful website with a 90 second podcasts broadcasting such uplifting and positive stories. I shared it on my page if you are interested. Your stories are similar in feel. http://www.noelliesplace.com

  2. I seem to be falling hopelessly behind, but I’m glad to have caught up to this post for now. What a delightful, charming walk this was.

    1. No great hurry, Gunta. Life is for living. Dip in when you can and I appreciate your company. 🙂 🙂 Better scurry now to finish my walk for this morning!

  3. Lovely walk. I love the flowers and stained glass — brilliant colors, the one set natural and the other made by people

  4. Beautiful! We went to an open garden event like this a couple of years ago where a whole village joined in. It makes the journey worthwhile (well, one garden CAN be worthwhile but sometimes we’ve driven quite a way for one that turns out to be smaller than expected).

    1. We’ve done the same, Anabel. You never quite know what you’re going to get, but the full village events are always good. This one is in such a lovely setting too. 🙂 🙂

  5. I agree the open garden scheme is wonderful. so nice to see ordinary peoples wonderful patches – not that any of the gardens are ordinary. A lovely way to take a gentler stroll. Are you back home from your anniversary adventures now? Good time? x:-)x

    1. We did have a lovely weekend, darlin, thanks 🙂 The weather was a bit mean and Mick developed gout but we still managed to have fun. 🙂 We came back Monday afternoon, and this evening we have a small person sleeping upstairs. We’ve taken him for a day or two to give James time to do a bit of job hunting.

  6. What a treat to be able to look through those gardens Jo. So beautiful. And the surrounding countryside looks lovely too.
    PS: After a long while, I have participated in your challenge and have shared a bit of Paris with you.

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