The tourist industry in Teesdale began when the wild landscapes present here were at last appreciated by city dwellers from the 1780s. This was greatly increased by the coming of the railway in 1868. Even before this time, botanists were attracted to the area by the Alpine flora, such as the Spring Gentian and naturalists by varieties such as the black grouse.

The last industry to arrive in Teesdale, as the mining began to decline, was quarrying. A quartz dolente igneous intrusion created the Great Whin Sill (itself impacting on tourism because of the creation of waterfalls such as High Force, the greatest in England). The large whinstone quarry at high Force is still producing a significant amount of stone.