Why move to... Teesdale

PUBLISHED: 14:00 05 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:06 20 February 2013

Barnard Castle is a charming market town

Barnard Castle is a charming market town

It's difficult to say where Teesdale begins but there's a consensus that anywhere lying west of Darlington along the broad valley, often several miles wide, that drains into the Tees can legitimately claim the name.

Its difficult to say where Teesdale begins but theres a consensus that anywhere lying west of Darlington along the broad valley, often several miles wide, that drains into the Tees can legitimately claim the name.

That encompasses an enormously diverse region of beautiful, unspoilt countryside that boasts some fine homes of mansion proportions, beautiful detached traditional and modern houses and cottages, barn conversions, hamlet and village settings and the fabulous, attractive market town and undoubted capital of the dale, Barnard Castle.

Its an idyllic place to live, with uncluttered roads, lovely towns and villages boasting high quality bespoke shopping and amenities, easy access to the main routes of the A66 and A1 and within comfortable striking distance of Darlington, Durham, Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Teesdale doesnt suffer the peaks and troughs of the property market as severely as our towns and cities so buying a property in the dale represents a sound investment. Barnard Castle offers a wonderful location in which to settle, with an excellent range of shops, schools, health and leisure facilities, as well as a good commercial sector which maintains and generates employment for local people.

Theres history in abundance, nowhere better illustrated than at Greta Bridge, just off the A66. It was an important strategic site for the Romans, who called it Conangium but one of its greatest claims to fame is that Charles Dickens visited Greta Bridge when he was researching The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, gaining inspiration from the real-life Dotheboys Hall (formerly the Bowes Academy) up the road in Bowes. These days Greta is the site of an altogether more welcoming establishment in the shape of the imposing Morritt hotel.

As well as the ruins of Barnard Castle, fortress-lovers should pay a visit to Raby, outside the village of Staindrop.. One of Englands largest medieval castles, the 14th century location hunters dream (it featured prominently in Elizabeth) remains the home of Lord Barnard, whose white-washed Raby Estate farms and properties are landmarks across this part of Teesdale.

Another stately gem in the area is Rokeby Hall and its surrounding park, near Greta Bridge. This palladian-style country seat on the banks of the Tees provided inspiration for Sir Walter Scotts epic Rokeby poem. The house was built in the 1730s and features some fine paintings and period furniture. It is open to the public on Monday and Tuesday afternoons through the summer.

A ruin worth a reccy is found at Egglestone Abbey (not to be confused with Eggleston, near Middleton in Teesdale). A small monastery of Premonstatensian white canons, it occupies a picturesque site above a bend in the Tees.

If youre still wondering Why move to Teesdale?, take a look at the area yourself. Were sure youll be charmed.

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