The River Wear is one of the three great rivers of the North East, the others being the Tyne and the Tees. All three have a rich history of industry and in particular shipbuilding. This is all but gone now, though a little reamains on the Tyne and the Tees.
The Wear runs from Wearhead in the North Pennines and runs down through St. John's Chapel, Ireshopeburn, Stanhope,
Dunno whether boat trips still run or not. If they do it would just be summer weekends - that's when they used to run, when I used to come here some while ago. The boats used to call at the Wildfowl Trust at Washington.
There are walks on both sides of the river. On the Cox Green side the pathway vanishes into the trees just past the row of houses. On the other side it heads off towards Victoria Viaduct in one direction, and into the woods behind the big house in the other. You can cycle on the other bank, but not on the Cox Green side.
The Coast To Coast (C2C) cycle route runs past Cox Green on the opposite bank. It did used to cross the bridge and continue on the Cox Green side, but they re-routed it these days and it stays on the other bank. It comes for a short part of its way alongside the river and through the James Steel Country Park, from about Victoria Viaduct to Cox Green.
Also in The James Steel Country Park is a fitness trail, country walks and benches to relax on. It's a nice place for a sunny day and a picnic!