TOWN HERITAGE: Tours will take place of the inside of the iconic Market Cross as part of Heritage Open Days
TOWN HERITAGE: Tours will take place of the inside of the iconic Market Cross as part of Heritage Open Days

TEN venues across Teesdale will throw open their doors for UK’s biggest festival of history and culture this month.

Heritage Open Days is an annual event across the country that provides an opportunity to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy free tours and activities.

A range of venues in Teesdale are taking part this year – the 25th anniversary of the programme – during ten days in September.

In the Gaunless Valley there will be the opportunity to learn more about people and events of the area with an exhibition, which is called A year in the life of Evenwood and Ramshaw: its people and events.

It will be on show at Evenwood Parish Hall and St Paul’s church from Friday, September 13, to Sunday, September 15.

The Fitzhugh Library, in Market Place, Middleton-in-Teesdale, will showcase its collection of documents, photographs and books from the County Palatine of Durham daily from Friday, September 13, to Tuesday, September 17, from 10.30am to 5pm.

Steam enthusiasts will be be able to hear more about the history of the historic miniature railway at Whorlton when Thorpe Light Railway opens on Saturday, September 14, between 2pm and 4pm.

On the same day in Newbiggin there will be an illustrated talk from an expert on the flora and fauna of Teesdale at Wynch Bridge End Cottage. Barnard Castle School chapel, which has been in use since 1912, will be open to the public on Saturday, September 14, between noon and 4pm and on Sunday, September 15, from 10am until 4pm.

The church tower at St Mary’s, in Barnard Castle, will also be open on Sunday, September 15, with access to the ringing chamber and the clock chamber.

On the same weekend, Teesdale Heritage Group is putting on a display with information and photographs at the Masonic Hall, in Middleton-in-Teesdale. It will be open between 10am and 4pm each day.

People will get the chance to see inside the Market Cross, in Barnard Castle, during the festival. Booked tours of the grade I-listed building – which was built in 1747 and has been used as a butter market, fire station, court room and jail – will run that weekend. To book, call 03000 262626.

St Mary’s church, in Cockfield – which was founded by Robert de Cockfield 800 years ago – will be open to the public between 10am and noon on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22.

On Monday and Tuesday, September 16 and 17, Teesdale Cheesemakers, at Copley Lane, Butterknowle, are hosting tours of “cheesedale”.

Alison and Jonathan Raper will give an overview of cheesemaking, before giving people a look around the farm and dairy where their award-winning cheese is produced. To visit the business, contact 01388 718 984.