It’s hard to imagine today, walking along the riverside path, what a bustling port Yarm was once upon a time. In the medieval period it was the most important port on the Tees, being the first river crossing along the river from its estuary. It was home to rope makers, brewers, tanners and shipbuilders and in 1207 was granted a Charter by King John to hold weekly markets. The stone bridge crossing the Tees was built by the Bishop of Durham in 1400. Yarm may also have been a place of importance in Anglo-Saxon times and there are traces of stonework from the period in the parish church of St Mary Magdalene.
The wide High Street still bustles today and a reminder of the time it was one of the most important coaching stops on the north south route. A number of the couching pubs, together with buildings of the 18th magnificent Victorian railway viaduct crosses the river and the town reflecting its importance in railway history – the George and Dragon pub hosted the meeting in 1820 at which the decision was taken to build the Stockton and Darlington railway. The Teesdale Way footpath, running the length of the Tees, skirts the town, providing beautiful riverside walks upstream and downstream through the spine of the Tees Heritage Park.