Yarm is on the south bank of the River Tees, at the point where the river makes a huge meandering loop. The oldest part of the town is surrounded by the river on 3 sides, which made the site easy to defend.
Before 1995, when a barrage was built further downstream, the River Tees was tidal all the way inland to Yarm. There were no barriers to stop boats reaching Yarm from the sea.
Until 1771, Yarm was also the lowest bridging point on the River Tees. In other words, if you were walking along the coast, when you got to the Tees you would have to follow the river inland all the way to Yarm before you would find a bridge to cross it.
The bridge was, and still is, halfway round the river meander, at the northern side of Yarm. Crossing from the north you are immediately into the High Street, which is wide allowing space for a market.
So, a thriving market town, at a point where roads and tracks from all directions converged to cross the river. Plenty of opportunities to trade and send goods to other places along the roads and tracks. Definitely a good location to dock a boat.
The wharves for the boats to dock were just downstream from the bridge.
Today they are building new houses on the site.
What happened to the port? We’ll find out next week.
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