Consett’s industrial giants are now gone, but in their wake, they have left us some amazing treasures. No matter where you live in this wonderful area you are only ever a few minutes away from some truly awe-inspiring countryside. The Waskerley Way and The Derwent Walk, as well as many other pathways and cycle paths, are all reminders of our industrial past. Left by the abandoned railway lines which serviced The Works, they have become an integral part of our area and heritage. One of the greatest of all the treasures is the Hownesgill Viaduct found on the Waskerley Way which is not only a major attraction of our town but is also stated as one of the must-see sites of County Durham. The Gill has always been a place of wonder and awe to me. I would spend hours playing beneath its arches in the wood and the caves, especially on those hot summer days.
The Hownesgill Viaduct was built between 1857 and 1858, opened in 1859 and designed by Thomas Bouch, to enable the completion of the Stanhope to Tyneside railway link. It is constructed of 12 arches, each with a span of 50 feet, stands at a height of 175 feet and is 700 feet long. There were some 3,500,000 yellow fire bricks and over 10,000 feet of stone used in its construction and is estimated to weigh over 12,000 tonnes. It was truly a major feat of engineering. Saying all that, it always seems to be the red cross of stones that intrigued us all! The cross which is high up on the fifth pier from the south is reputed to be the spot of a fatal accident but no records have ever been found to prove this one way or the other.
So next time you have a chance to go exploring, forget about those far-flung places and get yourselves out and about around our area. There is loads to see and find right here on our doorstep.