Billingham Beck Valley Country Park, Stockton-on-Tees

Fusain D'Europe / Spindle Tree
Spindle Tree

Wild Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus)
Wild Blackberry in September

Crab apple (Malus sylvestris)
Crab apple (Malus sylvestris) thrives in heavy soil in hedgerows, woods and areas of scrub.

With its colourful meadows, ponds, marsh and woodland, Billingham Beck Valley is one of Stockton Borough’s most interesting areas of countryside.

Ancient field names here refer to the fact that the valley floods very regulary. These include Flutter Carr (flooded wet land) and Rushy Carr. The Willowgarth is an old enclosure surrounded by willow trees and Willow Crook refers to the large bend in the beck. A water mill powered by the beck existed in the valley up until 1918.

Marton-in-Cleveland

Captain Cook School and School House, Marton-in-Cleveland
Captain Cook School and School House, Marton-in-Cleveland

Marton Hall Colonnade, Stewart Park, Marton-in-Cleveland
Marton Hall Colonnade, Stewart Park, Marton-in-Cleveland.

The parish of Marton lies south of Middlesbrough, covering an area of 3,520 acres, of which the surface is clay on a subsoil of Keuper marls. The arable land, where wheat, barley, beans and oats are grown, amounts to 1,247 acres, the pasture to 1,355 acres, and the woodland to 154 acres. From the north of the parish, where the ground is 25 ft. above sea level, there is a regular and easy ascent to 300 ft. in the south.

The northern district of Marton is now included in the civil parish of Middlesbrough, and forms part of the suburbs of that town. The village is small, and consists chiefly of a few farm-houses and cottages ranged irregularly on the summit of a gentle elevation. The site of the birthplace of Captain Cook is marked in Stewart Park by a granite vase. At the west end of the village is the church with the school, erected in 1850 in honour of Captain Cook, and not far off is a Wesleyan chapel, built here in 1857.

‘Parishes: Marton with Moxby’, A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2 (1923), pp. 264-268.

Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Town hall and Municipal Buildings, 1883/89 by G.G. Hoskins (Darlington). Statues by W. Margeston (Chelsea). Sandstone ashlar. Lakeland slate roofs. Municipal buildings on 4 sides of courtyard, town hall adjoins north side, fronting onto Corporation Road. French Gothic style; Domestic Revival style courtyard elevations.

Ropner Park, East Hartburn, Stockton

The ornamental fountain at Ropner Park
The ornamental fountain at Ropner Park

The ornamental fountain at Ropner Park

The ornamental fountain at Ropner Park

Ropner Park is a free public park, located in East Hartburn, Stockton.

In June 1890 Major Robert Ropner offered a piece of land, known locally as Hartburn Fields to the people of Stockton which could be used as a public park, providing the local council would lay it out ‘tastefully’ and ‘keep it forever’. On 4 October 1893, Ropner Park was officially opened by the then Duke & Duchess of York. The ceremony involved the royals using an ornate key to open the Golden Gates.

After a century of regular use by the people of Stockton, the park was refurbished and renovated to its former glory between 2004 and 2007 by Stockton Borough Council, thanks to a £2.65m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Park is a roughly square site, with 20th-century railings along its road boundaries and is typically Victorian in style, with rockeries and floral displays. It has a tree-lined avenue which leads to an ornamental fountain and a pavilion with a veranda and also includes a new bandstand, based on the original design, a park ranger’s office, bowling green, quoits green, tennis courts and a cafe, (run by the local charity, The Friends of Ropner Park). A large lake with islands dominates the lower part of the park and offers sanctuary to various species of water fowl and fish.

Seasonal fairs and occasional organised events are staged at the park throughout the year and various bands feature most Sunday afternoons during the summer months.

Church of All Saints, Northallerton, North Yorkshire

Church of All Saints, Northallerton, North Yorkshire

Church of All Saints, Northallerton, North Yorkshire

Church of All Saints, Northallerton, North Yorkshire

All Saints Parish Church stands on the western side of the High Street, with Castle Close behind it, in the market town of Northallerton, the administrative capital of the North Riding of Yorkshire. The first church on this site probably dated to the seventh century, although no documentary evidence exists of any building before the present one. That first, probably wooden, building is said to have been founded by St Paulinus, first bishop of York (died 644).

The present building dates to the ninth century, and fragments are occasionally unearthed. The majority of the Perpendicular church was rebuilt in the fifteenth century, but the Norman north aisle arcade (of about 1120) has survived. The south aisle arcade was added about seventy years later. The tower collapsed in 1318, when Northallerton was sacked by the Scots. It was replaced by the present tower in 1420. The interior was extensively refurbished in the late 1800s.

Blakiston

The manor of Blakiston stands on the North-western verge of Norton parish, adjoining Thorp and Winyard [sic].

The old hall of Blakiston was taken down many years ago, and the materials sold at Stockton. The site was near the road, with deep meadows on the West, and some broken ground falling rapidly to the Thorp beck.

‘Parish of Norton’, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 3: Stockton and Darlington wards (1823), pp. 152-167.

St Mary RC Church, Stockton, Stockton-on-Tees

St Mary RC Church, Stockton

Roman Catholic church. Opened 1842. Design attributed to A W N Pugin, later additions north transept, east vestries and apparently the tower – by Messrs C Hadfield & Sons. 4 bay aisled nave with gabled clerestory lights; 2 bay chancel with apse. West front Early English: central pointed doorway of several orders and label. Above are 5 lancets with triple keeled shafts and dog-tooth upper mouldings. Vesica window in coped gable. Pair of lancets at west end of south aisle. Tower at north west corner. 5 styles with set back buttresses having pointed terminals containing blind cusped tracery. Embattled parapet. 2nd stage of tower has 2 tall lancets with drilled patterns in jambs. The north entrance, under the tower, also with drilled jambs. Main porch to south. Gabled chapel to south west. 4 bay window to interior with organ loft bay to west.