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Fishing is a good sport all along the rivers Tees and Wear, and in the several reservoirs and ponds throughout the county. Boating is also available, and Brown's Boat House, Elvet Bridge (tel. 01913/863779), rents rowboats for pulls up or down the Wear, as well as offering short cruises April to October, at the price of £7 for adults and £4 for children.

Hikers can take the challenge provided by the 435km (270 miles) of trails (64km/40 miles of which are in the country) along the Pennine Way, the Weardale Way's 126km (78-mile) course along the River Wear from Monkwearmouth in Sunderland to Cowshill in County Durham, or the Teesdale Way, running 145km (90 miles) from Middleton in Teesdale to Teesmouth in Cleveland. Rambles along the public footpaths in town are supplemented by more than 80km (50 miles) of hiking trails, which follow the tracks of a former railroad outside of town. Seven such trails make use of interlinked routes and range from the 7.5km (4.5-mile) Auckland Walk to the 17km (11-mile) Derwent Walk. If you don't feel like going it alone, there are also more than 200 guided walks throughout the county, providing background on the history, culture, and plant and animal life of the surrounding area; contact the tourist office.

Cyclists can opt for road biking along quiet country lanes and converted railway routes, or mountain biking in Hamsterley Forest. The acclaimed C2C national cycle route passes through the Durham Dales and North Durham, on a 225km (140-mile) signposted route. Both road and mountain-bike rentals are available at several locations, including Cycle Force 2000 Ltd., 87 Claypath St. (tel. 01913/840319), open Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm. A bike rental costs £14 per day, with a £36 deposit.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.