Situated to the north west of the county, the AAP of Weardale stretches from Witton-le-Wear in the south east to Cornriggs in the north west. The AAP is bordered by Northumberland and Cumbria to the north and west, and by the other AAPs of 3 Towns Partnership, Mid Durham and Teesdale.
Weardale is one of the most rural areas within the North of England and has a population of just over 8,300. Covering an area of over 40,200 hectares (155.3 sq. miles), the AAP has a population density of 0.2 (people/hectare), which makes this AAP the least densely populated area in the county (2.4).
It was once at the centre of the world’s lead mining industry and prior to that was the hunting ground of the Prince Bishops of Durham. The upland scenery of Weardale is quite breath-taking, rising to over 2000 feet with hardy sheep grazing these remote moorlands which are pierced by the headwaters of the River Wear. As the river bisects the Dale, the scenery softens and travels through attractive stone-built hamlets and market towns, offering an excellent touring base.
The Dale’s principal settlements include St John’s Chapel, Stanhope and Wolsingham. These latter two appear to have existed as Anglo-Saxon settlements before 1066 and the Norman Conquest.
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