Let the fun flow at Discover Brightwater’s Big Weekend

A FEAST of family fun is being lined up as part of an initiative to “restore, reveal and celebrate” life around a North-East river.

The latest ‘Big Weekend’ – organized by Discover Brightwater – takes place across a number of venues on October 1 and 2, with a schedule of colorful range of activities.

Discover Brightwater is a £3.3m landscape partnership based around the River Skerne, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and made possible by all those who play the National Lottery.

The Big Weekend is designed to showcase the beauty and heritage of the places to be found along the route of the river, which flows from near the Trimdons through to Darlington.

Discover Brightwater program manager Paul Black said: “We are coming to the end of our three-year program, so this will be our last Big Weekend celebration, and we aim to make it the best one yet. We’ve put together a varied and exciting program of events and activities for all the family to enjoy – so come and join the fun.”

Here are the highlights…


South Park, Darlington, 12pm-4pm: Songs in the park, with community choirs, Song of the Skerne, and Durham Youth Choir. Plus The Bubble Whisperer, miniature railway, and Darlington Heritage Trail.

Chris Booth

Bishop Middleham Playing Fields, 10am-4pm: The Acle re-enactment group will be demonstrating what it was like to live like an Anglo-Saxon, including sword battles, archery, campfire cooking, ale-making, and weaving.

The Northern Echo: Chris BarronChris Barron

A Saxon embroidery workshop is also being held in Bishop Middleham Village Hall between 10am and 1pm. Numbers are limited, so to book a place, go to: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/anglo-saxon-traditional-embroidery-workshop-tickets-416604494257.

Also, meet the volunteers from the Plane Sailing charity demonstrating how they are making a Viking longboat.

The Northern Echo: Chris BarronChris Barron

Locomotion, Shildon, 10am: The Gem Trail artworks will be launched to celebrate women across the Discover Brightwater area, with a guided walk from Locomotion to Shildon Library, where there will be an art workshop at 11am.

At 11am, Rare Rockets will be giving accessible tours of Locomotion for people with impaired hearing.

The Northern Echo: Discover BrightwaterDiscover Brightwater


Bishop Middleham Playing Fields, 10am-4pm: The Acle Anglo-Saxon re-enactment group will be back. Visitors to Bishop Middleham Village Hall can also “Discover Medieval Brightwater” with a presentation and walk.

The Northern Echo: Chris BoothChris Booth

At noon, The Walk and Talk Trust will be staging a guided walk of approximately seven kilometers from Bishop Middleham to Hardwick Park, arriving around 1.30pm, and starting the return journey at 3pm.

Hardwick Park, Sedgefield: Story-telling afternoon, featuring the Once Upon A Wall family interactive theater at 12.15pm and 2.30pm.

Author Peter Barron will be giving a reading of his book Zizu Loses His Stripes for children aged from 4-7. Illustrator Jonathan Raiseborough will be showing how to draw a zebra – and there will be a special appearance by Zizu Zebra himself!

From 2pm, actors will also be reading extracts from an anthology, featuring the finalists in the Discover Brightwater creative writing competition. The anthology will be launched, with invited guests, at Waterstones book shop, in Darlington, on Friday evening.

Locomotion, Shildon: There will again be accessible tours by Rare Rockets for those whose hearing is impaired.

  • To find out more about Discover Brightwater and The Big Weekend, go to: www.discoverbrightwater.com/

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