|Metropolitan County||Tyne and Wear|
|Towns/Cities||Stanhope, Wolsingham, Bishop Auckland, Willington, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Sunderland|
|- location||Wearhead, County Durham, UK|
|- elevation||340 m (1,115 ft)|
|- location||North Sea, UK|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||96 km (60 mi)|
Much of the River Wear shows the history of the Industrial Revolution. Its upper end runs through lead mining country, until this gives way to coal seams of the Durham coalfield for the rest of its length. As a result of limestone quarrying, lead mining and coal mining, the Wear valley was amongst the first places to see the development of railways. The Weardale Railway continues to run occasional services between Stanhope and Wolsingham.
The upland area of Upper Weardale has a flora which survives from the end of the last Ice Age. After the Ice Age, the Wear valley became thickly forested. During the Neolithic period and increasingly in the Bronze Age, the forests were progressively cleared for agriculture.
- Natural Environment Research Council, Institute of Geological Sciences, 1971, "British Regional Geology: Northern England" Fourth Edition, HMSO, London.
- Johnson, G.A.L. & Hickling, G. (eds.), 1972, "Geology of Durham County", Transactions of the Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne, Vol.41, No.1.
- 'Wear River', "Encyclopaedia Britannica", 17th Edition, 1990.