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At Active Valleys, we want to get Deerness Valley residents of all ages moving, improving their health and wellbeing! Whether it’s taking the bike out for a muddy ride, searching for nature with the kids, taking a stroll for a catch up with friends, or even joining a nearby class or sports club. The railway path is a perfect place to get moving in the fresh air and discover new things.

What else can you discover in the Deerness Valley? There are so many activities, clubs, and organisations that can help you move more, make new friends, and feel good! Find them on this page.


Active Valleys is a new and exciting Sport England funded initiative to build healthier, more active communities in the Deerness Valley. An active lifestyle benefits the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals along with creating a better connected, more resilient community.

This initiative brings together a group of local organisations who are working together to achieve one goal – to improve physical activity in the area. Active Valleys is a number of villages connected by an old railway path. We want local residents of all ages to use the route to be active. Deerness Valley includes the following villages; East Hedleyhope, Waterhouses, Esh Winning, Ushaw Moor, Broompark, New Brancepeth, Brandon, Bearpark and the grounds of Ushaw College.

There are a wide range of activities happening in the Deerness Valley area. We hope that by showing all the fun, family-friendly opportunities available along the Deerness Valley Railway Path, we can help you get moving.


The Active Valley area has community halls, a sports centre and a dedicated gymnastics facility. The Deerness Valley Railway Path is a valuable asset which follows the route of the River Deerness through a mixture of arable and grazing land, woods, and herb rich meadows. It incorporates the villages of Broompark, Ushaw Moor, Esh Winning, Waterhouses and East Hedleyhope.

Did You Know?

The railway line was opened in 1858 and carried coal out of the Deerness Valley for nearly 100 years until the line closed in 1951. Today, the line has been completely transformed and reclaimed. You may see a variety of birds including herons, woodpeckers and jays, colourful butterflies, and all sorts of other wildlife from hares to roe deer. The route length is 8.5 miles (13.5km), and it is suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users.

There are various walking, running and wellbeing sessions that also operate in the Valleys, via Walk Durham, Run Durham and Ways to Wellbeing. The Deerness Valley has a wide range of sports clubs, which cater for both adults and juniors, such as football, cricket, gymnastics, boxing, table tennis, running and karate. Take a look at our map to see the full list of provision available.


This map will show you where you can get moving in the Deerness Valley area! Check out the numbered marker at each location for information on facilities, clubs, groups, and activities to take part in. You can also download a PDF version of the Active Valleys map here.

Active Valleys Interactive Map


The interactive map will show you where you can get moving in Deerness Valley!   You can also download a PDF version of the Active Valleys map here. (Opens in a new window).

Active Valeys Mobile Phone


Active Valleys - Deerness Railway Path


If you’re looking to start moving more, you could join Durham County Council’s Ways to Wellbeing group exercise class.

This beginner-level class is delivered by friendly, experienced staff and volunteers.

Thursday 10am-11 noon at Ushaw Moor Baptist Church.



Gentle Steps to Walking is a brilliant way to build up your confidence and activity levels at your own pace.

Gentle Steps takes place in a flat, enclosed and safe environment. There’s plenty of opportunity to walk and talk under the supervision of trained staff.

Thursday 1pm-2pm at Meadowfield Leisure Centre (starting in September).


Walk Durham’s weekly Wellbeing Walks are a great way to meet new people and explore the beautiful local countryside.

Walks last approximately 90 minutes and are led by their friendly, trained instructors.

Tuesday, 10:15am: Esh Winning
Wednesday, 10am: Langley Park
Thursday, 10am: Ushaw Moor
Friday, 10am: Broompark


ParkPlay offers free fun and games in the park every Saturday morning. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities, so the whole family can get involved!

Active Valleys are working with ParkPlay to launch a brand new ParkPlay in the Deerness Valley area. 

They are looking for a brilliant local person to join their team as the PlayLeader! 

Find out more.


Throughout lockdown, lots of people discovered the many benefits of physical activity by staying active at home.

If this is you, or you want to start getting active at home, there is a wealth of free online content to help you get moving. Even small amounts of activity will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

Discover ways to get active at home.

Active Valleys - Deerness Railway Path


There are pathway improvements being made to various routes of the Deerness Valley Railway Path.

As part of this work, new way markers and people counters will be installed to make the routes more accessible and give everyone the chance to get moving on the #PathOfDiscovery.


Read inspiring stories from brilliant, local people.

Active Valleys - Deerness Railway Path