by: Richard Judd
Consett is up from High Spen and the old D category villages like low and high Westwood.
Rocks from the backbone of the the story the hills of Blackhill and Bridgehill echo the valley of the river which crosses the landscape from Blaydon to the moorlands like Blanchard or Stanhope sometimes raging sometimes meandering at places like the Ebchester Boathouse which like a phoenix is now back being used by the community- community like rocks are ever lasting, ever changing
How did some of these places get their names from Pity Me to No Mans Land some places are not places at all now like Morrison Busty some names ask more questions like Castleside -was there a castle by the side of the road or railway?
Stoney Heap near Leadgate and Annfield Plain not only has an industrial “rock” based history ie the mining of Eden Colliery which was once part of the bulging coal fields of Durham stretching in all directions served by the railway through cuttings in rock at places like Load Bank, paths off to Medomsley. Victory Pit etc.
But also Stoney Heap has links to Gibside near Rowlands Gill and the story of the first woman to get a divorce and her husband became “stoney broke”!
Some would say its starts at Gibrator Rock but again that asks a question as Gibrator is miles away from the rugged beautiful landscape which is County Durham
People have lived, worked and travelled through the area Romans stopping off at places like Lanchester as they went to Hadrians Wall
So rock has been harvested and used from lead to quarried materials for brick working etc at the Steelworks also the Sword Makers of Shotley Bridge also found the area rich to support their endeavours
Iveston some would say a link to Cornwall again another “rock” county like Dipton and other communities have memories of the mining and memorials to those who set off to fight for the country some taking there “mining” skills to “dig the trenches and tunnels”
Now where the railway ran we walk, cycle and run but some are exploring bring the rail back
People will also hold this rock based county in their hearts even after they leave and even when old communities like Allendale Cottages have been demolished but the memory will live on
Now rocks are painted and left for people of all ages to find so even modern times find a new way to use the landscape and its richness both on the surface and below it
Who needs TV or the internet, the history and joy of the rocks are there to be discovered or rediscovered by all no end to the places to discover sometimes alone, sometimes with others or family
Rocks have made walls, buildings from homes to churches so have been part of the fabric and recycling not only now but over the years
Rocks show the way to the past and to the future
So Consett Rocks and that is without the musical side which is another tale