Standing on the bank of the river Wear the historic market town of Stanhope (meaning 'stony-hollow'), with its cobbled Market Place, is sometimes referred to as the 'capital' of Weardale. Having a strong industrial heritage, lead and iron was smelted roundabouts as well quarrying of limestone for the iron and steel industry.
An early railway, the Stanhope and Tyne, was constructed in the mid 1800's leading to an expansion of the town. Weardale's Christian heritage is reflected in the 12th century church of St. Thomas complete with Roman altar, Saxon font and fossil tree in the churchyard!
Evidence of early settlements in the area came to light in 1843 when quarrying revealed the Heathery Burn Cave, complete with a Bronze Age hoard of tools and jewellry which can now be found in the British Museum
Stanhope is associated with two notable ancient discoveries. One is a 300 million year old fossilized tree stump, which can be seen in Stanhope's churchyard, the other the famous nineteenth century Heathery Burn Cave finding.In 1859 this great archeological discovery was made in the hills above Stanhope, in which a huge collection of Bronze Age items were uncovered, including edvidence of the earliest use of wheeled vehicles in the British Isles.The items found at the Heathery Burn cave, seem to have belonged to a particularly wealthy Bronze Age family, whose skeletons were also uncovered. For some unknown reason, perhaps a flash flood, the family had become trapped in this cave some 3000 years ago. Today the findings of the Heathery Burn Cave are kept in the British Museum, London.
In the grounds of St Thomas' Church, overlooking the Market Place, the fossil tree can be seen. Thought to be 250 million years old, it was found near Edmundbyers, just north of Weardale.
A few yards away stands the Durham Dales Centre, where the staff of the award-winning Tourist Information Centre can help you plan your stay in the area and make the most of your visit. Craft shop and a country tearoom complete the Centre.
Take a short walk down to the river and cross on the stepping stoned or, if it's a hot day, cool off in the open-air swimming pool at the west end of the town.
STANHOPE OFFERS THE PERFECT VILLAGE LOCATION WITH GREAT
AMENITIES FOR EVERYONE WANTING A BASE TO EXPLORE THE STUNNING
SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE, TOURIST ATTRACTIONS, SPORTING &
RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES OR JUST TO CHILL OUT & RELAX.
TO FIND OUT ABOUT THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA