Saturday, 15 August 2009

Tees Valley and Teesdale

Map of the five boroughs of the Tees Valley within England

The Tees Valley is an area in the North East of England. It can be described as "greater Teesside" and consists of the four unitary authorities created by the breakup of the County of Cleveland in 1996: Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, and Stockton-On-Tees along with the borough of Darlington which became a unitary authority in 1997.
For ceremonial purposes the areas north and south of the River Tees belong to the counties of County Durham and North Yorkshire respectively (those areas which form part of North Yorkshire, lie within the historic county boundaries of the North Riding of Yorkshire). This arrangement is affirmed by the presence of an appropriate office of the Lord Lieutenancy, representing HM The Queen in these established geographical areas.
The Tees Valley area covers the lower, flatter (and much more urban) area of the valley of the River Tees; the more rural upland valley of the Tees is known as Teesdale.

Teesdale is a dale, or valley, of the east side of the Pennines in England. Large parts of Teesdale fall within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - the second largest AONB in England and Wales. The River Tees rises below Cross Fell, the highest hill (2930 feet O.D.) in the Pennines, and its uppermost valley is remote and high. The local climate was scientifically classified as "Sub-Arctic" and snow has sometimes lain on Cross Fell into June.

Geography and history

Part of Barnard Castle Market Place showing the "Market Cross" or "Butter Market"

Teesdale's principal Town is Barnard Castle, a historical market town that houses the largest single population in Teesdale as well as the renowned Bowes Museum. It is also made up of a collection of villages which include Middleton-in-Teesdale, Mickleton, Eggleston, Romaldkirk, and Cotherstone. Middleton-in-Teesdale was a lead-mining centre, and plentiful traces of this industry can be seen round the adjoining slopes and side-valleys. On the South side of Teesdale looms the Bronze Age burial site of Kirkcarrion.
Over ledges in the Whin sill fall the famous waterfalls of High Force and Low Force and the cataract of Cauldron Snout.
Teesdale gives its name to the Teesdale district of County Durham, although the south side of Teesdale lies within the historic county boundaries of the North Riding of Yorkshire. Formerly the Startforth Rural District, it was transferred to County Durham for administrative and ceremonial purposes on 1 April 1974, under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. All of Teesdale lies within the parliamentary constituency of Bishop Auckland (Co. Durham).

The River Tees flows through Teesdale before reaching and passing between Barnard Castle and Startforth, thereafter passing to the south of Darlington, reaching the North Sea south of Hartlepool after passing Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough. Running roughly parallel to Teesdale to the north is Weardale.

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