Towneley Main Waggonway
Stella to Ryton
27 Apr 2023
27 Apr 2023
Stella Coal Co.
Description (or HER record listing)
NEHL - A waggonway was constructed in the 1800s to link Emma Pit at Bar Moor, Ryton to Stella Staiths on the Tyne. The waggonway was mostly single track throughout, though featured a passing loop where it now meets the A695 and a number of sidings inc. at a coal depot at Burnaby Lodge and Stargate. It continued east past Stargate Colliery and over the Hexham Old Road, through Path Head Wood to a set of staiths at Stella which have been demolished.
There are a number of areas the waggonway can be directly walked upon. Firstly, the track bed is extant past Path Head Mill nr Summerhill, though meets at Hexham Old Road where there is no public footpath, requiring on road walking. It is met again at Stargate, where it is walkable in its entirety to the old Emma Pit at Ryton. I visited in Spring 2023, where the ground was slightly boggy and featured dense foliage. The latter parts of the walk are laid with tarmac. Due to the varying conditions of the waggonway, it's only recommended to walk this if you are experienced with roadside walking and are prepared to get a little muddy.
Ordnance Survey, 1890s
The line of the Towneley Main Waggonway can be seen left to right above the industrial estate, which is incidentally the site of Stargate Colliery.
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This is a photo of the portion of route between Stargate and Ryton. This was the easiest part to walk, though later on it is much harder with dense foliage.
Historic Environment Records
Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past
Tyne and Wear: Sitelines
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