13 July 2008

The River Tees

The Tees is a river in Northern England. It rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the Pennines, and flows eastwards for about 85 miles (132 km) to the North Sea, between Hartlepool and Redcar. It drains an area of 708 square miles (1834 square km), and subsumes no important tributaries. The river formed the boundaries between the historic counties of County Durham and Yorkshire. At its lower reaches it now forms the boundary between the ceremonial counties of County Durham and North Yorkshire.

In the earliest part of its course it forms the boundary between the historic counties of Westmorland and Durham. The head of the valley, of which the upper portion is known as Teesdale, has a desolate grandeur; the hills, exceeding 2500 feet in height at some points, consist of bleak moorland. This area is part of the North Pennine Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, recently designated a geological Europark, the first in the UK.

A succession of falls or rapids, where the river traverses a hard series of black basaltic rocks, is called "Cauldron Snout". From a point immediately below this to its mouth, the Tees forms the boundary between the traditional counties of Durham and Yorkshire almost without a break, although since 1974 much of it lies wholly in Durham. The dale becomes bolder below Cauldron Snout, and trees appear, contrasting with the broken rocks where the water dashes over High Force. High force is a big waterfall but its biggest problem is that it is extremely powerfall, with a huge current.

The course of the valley until here has been generally east-southeast, but it now turns northeast and, nearing the sea, becomes an important commercial waterway, having on its banks the ports of Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough. It passes through the Tees Barrage between Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough, turning tidal downstream from the barrage.

The Teeside White Water Centre is a part of the Tees Barrage and is an artificial whitewater course, located between Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough.

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