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Teesdale is a dale, or valley, of the east side of the Pennines in Englandmarker. Large parts of Teesdale fall within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - the second largest AONB in England and Wales. The River Teesmarker rises below Cross Fellmarker, the highest hill (2930 feet O.D.) in the Pennines, and its uppermost valley is remote and high. The local climate was scientifically classified as "Sub-Arctic" and snow has sometimes lain on Cross Fell into June.


Unusually for the Pennines, rock of volcanic origin, the Whin Sill, contributes to the surface geology and scenery of Teesdale. Around 295 million years ago upwelling magma spread through fissures and between strata in the earlier Carboniferous limestone country rock.

More recently, Ice Age glacial activity shaped the valley, and much of the pre-glacial river course is now buried beneath glacial drift.


In places this impervious dolerite rock, with shallow soil above it, prevented the growth of scrub or trees: this enabled certain post-glacial Arctic / Alpine plants to survive here when elsewhere as a rule they were overgrown. The residual "sugar" limestone once heated by the volcanic rock also meets the requirements of some of these plants. Teesdale is famous among naturalists for the "Teesdale Assemblage" of plants found together here that occur widely separated in other locations, abroad or in the British Isles.

Part of Upper Teesdale near the Cow Green Reservoirmarker is designated a National Nature Reserve; it contains the unique Teesdale Violet and the blue Spring Gentian as well as more common Pennine flowers such as rockrose, spring sandwort, mountain pansy, bird's-eye primrose and butterwort. Hay meadows in the valley above High Force, some now carefully cultivated to ensure this, contain an extremely rich variety of flowering plants including globe flower, wood cranesbill and Early Purple Orchid. On the south bank of the Tees near High Force can be seen the largest surviving juniper wood in England.

Geography and history

Teesdale's principal Town is Barnard Castlemarker, a historical market town that houses the largest single population in Teesdale as well as the renowned Bowes Museummarker. It is also made up of a collection of villages which include Middleton-in-Teesdalemarker, Mickletonmarker, Egglestonmarker, Romaldkirkmarker, and Cotherstonemarker. Middleton-in-Teesdale was a lead-mining centre, and plentiful traces of this industry can be seen round the adjoining slopes and side-valleys. On the South side of Teesdale looms the Bronze Age burial site of Kirkcarrionmarker.

Over ledges in the Whin sill fall the famous waterfalls of High Forcemarker and Low Forcemarker and the cataract of Cauldron Snoutmarker.

Teesdale gives its name to the Teesdale districtmarker of County Durham, although the south side of Teesdale lies within the historic county boundaries of the North Riding of Yorkshiremarker. Formerly the Startforth Rural Districtmarker, it was transferred to County Durham for administrative and ceremonial purposes on 1 April 1974, under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. All of Teesdale lies within the parliamentary constituency of Bishop Auckland (Co. Durham).

The River Teesmarker flows through Teesdale before reaching and passing between Barnard Castlemarker and Startforthmarker, thereafter passing to the south of Darlingtonmarker, reaching the North Seamarker south of Hartlepoolmarker after passing Stockton-on-Teesmarker and Middlesbroughmarker.Running roughly parallel to Teesdale to the north is Weardalemarker.

Teesdale Hub

An ambitious project to build an exciting new building in its own landscaped area surrounded by areas for formal and informal activities within the deep rural area of Teesdale. A low impact building that demonstrates sustainable construction and sustainability to its users and to those who just view it passing by. Incorporating renewable energy technologies, high energy efficiency and low maintenance costs whilst providing for the expressed social, cultural and physical needs of young people throughout the region. The design will create a sense of exhilaration and challenge and will exemplify the principles and philosophy which Teesdale Community Resources (TCR) encourages – participation, responsibility, challenge, growth, respect for others and the environment and active participation. The 'Hub' is a development of Teesdale Community Resources.


In 2009, a league table of burglary "hotspots" in England and Wales was published. In it, it was revealed that Teesdale has fewer burglaries than any other part of the country. In 2008, only 14 burgalries were committed, or 1.2 for every 1,000 homes.


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