Derwent Valley Trail Runners

  A trail running club with a passion for outdoor adventure

Land of Oak and Iron



The Land of Oak & Iron covers a 177 km2 area surrounding the Derwent Valley including Consett, Rowlands Gill, Prudhoe and Whickham.

This beautiful steep sided valley has an abundance of natural woodland, rare and iconic wildlife. However, the natural beauty that you can see today was not always as it appears. Not so long ago the area once hosted a world-leading iron and steel industry in various forms from the 1690s up until the 1980s; in the early 18th Century it was the heart of British sword making and was home to the great industrialist Ambrose Crowley. Such industry attracted wealth and culture to the area, including Mary Eleanor Bowes, known as the ‘Unhappy Countess’ living at Gibside Hall, the artist Thomas Bewick, the poet Tommy Armstrong and is famed for the local traditional rapper dancing across the globe.


The Land of Oak and Iron partnership has secured £3.4m of funding, to enable this area’s unique combination of natural, industrial and cultural heritage to be conserved, enhanced and celebrated. Local people, communities and visitors to the area will benefit from improvements to access, greater interpretation, greener travel, the chance to learn and share skills, a community grants scheme and to play a part within the vision to invigorate local regeneration and the local economy.

Fourteen interconnected projects will be delivered across a four year programme from 2016-2020. They will leave a lasting legacy of restored heritage, improved access and information, together with rekindled local passion for the area and merited global awareness of the significance of the Land of Oak & Iron’s previously concealed heritage.

There will be many different opportunities for local people to get involved, by taking part in one or more of the projects.

The Partnership is hosted by Groundwork NE & Cumbria and is made up of a wide range of partners, committed to supporting delivery, until it comes to an end in 2020.  The scheme has been supported by National Lottery players through a grant of £2.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.