Winter in Teesdale

Teesdale Stile

Mid winter, and the missing days of autumn can still be found squeezed between dry stonewalls in Teesdale. Hidden foot paths also reveal the scattered confetti of November’s once rich and colourful woodland canopy.

Walking along one such path known as the ‘King’s Walk’, I stumbled across a small anonymous stile tucked within the bookends of a dry stonewall. A tiny detail in the landscape, trapping a few stolen autumn days from a winter too early.

I paused thinking of all the travellers who must have passed this way. Without purpose I climbed over the wall and through the stile simply because it was there. Come spring I’ll follow the path, perhaps without a map, just for the thrill! Small excitements heightened all the more in one’s own company.


18 Replies to “Winter in Teesdale”

  1. I love stone walls – very nice painting, Keith. Had to look up “stile” and learned something new today. 🙂 Is the path named King’s Walk because it was used by a king in the past? I wonder where he would be walking to and from… Or were the people simply honoring the king by giving it that name?

    1. I’m not too sure about the origins of the ‘King’s Walk’ It would be interesting to find out more. Perhaps the slightly high level route makes it majestic, or a better
      still, the beautiful woodland it takes you through. I’ll let you know if I find out more. Thank you for your kind comments Barbara.

  2. What I like the most about this painting, Keith, is your color choices. and the areas you left white. It shines, simply shines as though you brought it into the light from some fairy tale existence to share with us… everything soft and gentle. I would have done the same as you, been drawn to take a closer look.
    Are there many stiles in your area? Do they still use them? Or is this more of a memory of the past? I have seen two in my lifetime, but my Grandmother told me they had them on everyone’s farm where she grew up.

    1. Leslie, most of the plus points in my work happen by accident. This started to get a little overworked, (thought I was over that). There are lots of stiles in the North Pennines,
      the older stiles such as this one are scattered across the valley floor where old rights of way are still trodden. Some have fallen into neglect. A few farmers resent walkers
      and try to discourage people by blocking stiles, or even boarding them up. A criminal offence. Local walking groups such as the ‘Ramblers’ make note of any such foul play.
      I have a few favourites and might try pairing another. Thank you as always for your support and encouragement.

  3. I too had to look up the word stile 😉 This scene really pulls me in. It makes me want to go exploring, see what is on the other side of the wall and over the hill. I really love this composition. Is this land abandoned? Always fascinating to me all the stone walls over there. I’d love to see them sometime. Rural fences here are always wood and ALWAYS dilapitaded.

    1. Thanks Amber. The stile was probably used for shepherds crossing from one field to another. Over the years they become used by local people as short cuts to and from work. Some follow much older routes where cattle were driven. This one in particular is new to me. Come spring I’ll follow the route onto the moor, all paths lead somewhere! Thank you once again for your comments.

  4. You are so lucky to be able to walk that lovely countryside and come across these hidden gems. I want to go through that stile and up the path. Since I can’t do it I await Spring so you can do it for me and paint what’s down that path.

  5. Lovely painting, Keith, and the way you describe it…..I must say your words are just as beautiful as your painting!
    Enjoy the rest of your week.

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