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County Durham

County Durham is situated in the North East of England and covers a wide variety of landscapes with many uses, ranging from coastal areas to moorland and forested areas, reservoirs, major rivers (the Tees and the Wear) and farmland. Here are found picturesque market towns, old mining villages as well as more industrialised urban areas and ports.

Durham became more widely known as the final resting place of St. Cuthbert. His tomb lies in the magnificent cathedral which lies on a natural defensive position on a peninsula on the River Wear. The castle was built to protect it with the site, described by Sir Walter Scott as "half church of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot": emphasising both it's ecclesiastical and secular importance in which the bishops played a role. So much so that during Norman rule, the King granted powers to the Bishops of Durham to rule their 'palinate', making them kings in all but name.

The castle was originally the Bishop's palace. However, they later transferred to Bishop Auckland Castle which is still the official residence of the Bishop of Durham today. Durham Castle was later given to the newly established University.

For more information on the rich heritage of this area, please visit the sites below:

Visit Durham - official tourism website for County Durham. Includes historical background, geography, sightseeing, activities, culture, accommodation and transport links.

Durham County Council's website

Durham Cathedral

Durham University - established by the last Prince Bishop, William van Mildert, and the Dean and Chapter.

Raby Castle - near the village of Staindrop and home of Lord Barnard, this is one of my most favourite castles in the north-east.