Many thanks to The Riverwalk for facilitating this camera's location and capitally funding its installation.
Farson Digital has installed a streaming webcam at this location to monitor water levels and river conditions. The River Wear, situated in North East England, originates in the Pennines and flows eastwards, primarily through County Durham, until it reaches the North Sea at Sunderland.As it passes through Durham city, the River Wear traverses a deep, wooded gorge, from which several springs emerge, historically used as a source of potable water. Coal seams are visible in the river banks, and it meanders through an incised meander, cutting deeply into the bedrock known as "Cathedral Sandstone." The enclosed high ground within this meander, known as the peninsula, forms a defensive enclosure that houses Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral, giving rise to the development of Durham city. This area is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The River Wear at Durham was featured as one of the wonders of Northern England on the television program "Seven Natural Wonders."Much of the River Wear is associated with the Industrial Revolution's history. The upper section runs through an area known for lead mining, which gives way to coal seams from the Durham coalfield along the rest of its course. The Wear valley was one of the earliest regions to witness the development of railways due to limestone quarrying, lead mining, and coal mining. The Weardale Railway still operates occasional services between Stanhope and Wolsingham.Lead mining in the headwaters of the Wear has a long history, dating back to Roman times and continuing into the nineteenth century. Abandoned lead mines and their spoil heaps are still visible, and efforts have been made to recover gangue minerals, such as fluorspar, from these sites for use in aluminum smelting. However, these abandoned mines and their spoil heaps contribute to heavy metal mineral pollution in the river and its tributaries, which poses challenges for fishing during periods of low flow and increases infrastructure costs. The River Wear is an important source of drinking water for many residents along its course.Fluorspar, often found alongside Weardale Granite, played a significant role in the steel manufacturing industry from the late 19th century to the 20th century. Steel industries were able to extract fluorspar from old excavation heaps. The presence of fluorspar in the Wear valley, Consett, and Teesside facilitated the flourishing of iron and steel manufacturing during the nineteenth century. The region also contains three Carboniferous minerals: limestone and Coal Measures, used as raw materials for iron and steel production, and sandstone, valuable as a refractory material. The last remaining fluorspar mine closed in 1999 due to water quality legislation, but occasional mining for specimen minerals still occurs at Rogerley Quarry in Frosterley.Minco is currently exploring the North Pennines and the upper Wear catchment for potential zinc reserves at lower levels. Ironstone extraction was significant in areas around Consett, Tow Law, and Rookhope, with additional quantities imported from North Yorkshire near the Tees. However, these sources eventually became depleted or economically unviable.The former cement works at Eastgate, previously operated by Lafarge, was established on a limestone inlier. The site recently obtained planning permission to create a visitor complex showcasing an eco-village utilizing alternative technology, including a "hot rocks" water heating system. Reports confirm the presence of drilled granite at the site. Bardon Aggregates continues to quarry near Westgate at Heights and operates a tarmac "blacktop" plant on-site.Mineral extraction has also taken place above St John's Chapel, particularly with the extraction of ganister used in the steelmaking process in Consett. Limestone, crushed sandstone, and Frosterley Marble have been exploited around Frosterley, and the Broadwood Quarry recently expanded into previously licensed grounds. The crushing plant at the quarry remains operational. Plans for a quarry at Bollihope on a similar basis were considered but seem to have been discontinued. Frosterley Marble was extensively used in church architecture, with examples found in St Michael's Church in Frosterley and Durham Cathedral.