River Wear

Rising in the east Pennines, its head waters consisting of several streams draining from the hills between Killhope Law and Burnhope Seat, the head of the river is held to be in Wearhead, County Durham at the confluence of Burnhope Burn and Killhope Burn. This is shown on Ordnance Survey maps, and on the County Durham GIS online. However, a map produced by Durham County Council, and used on an interpretation board at Cowshill shows the River Wear taking in the northwest Killhope Burn from Wearhead up to Killhope. Excepting that this apparent extension of the Wear is an error, it can be assumed that there are attempts to reclassify Killhope Burn as the River Wear – on some analyses this practice of backtracking is common in the study of rivers as it gives the River Wear an issue as the source instead of a confluence, to which this article’s Geology relates. The River Wear is a spate river and has been heavily influenced by previous government funded drainage schemes (gripping) with a view to improving marginal agricultural land. The river rises very quickly and has experienced much heavy flooding resulting in enhanced river bank erosion

The river flows eastwards through Weardale, one of the larger valleys of west County Durham, subsequently turning south-east, and then north-east, meandering its way through the Wear Valley still in County Durham to the North Sea where it outfalls at Wearmouth in the main locality of Monkwearmouth on Wearside in the City of Sunderland. The 60 miles (97 km) from head to mouth. Prior to the creation of Tyne and Wear, the Wear had been the longest river in England with a course entirely within one county. The Weardale Way, a long-distance public footpath, roughly follows the entire route, including the length of Killhope Burn.

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River Wear

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