At the head of the River Wear just downstream of where the Killhope and Burnhope Burns converge, this bridge is on the site of an old stone bridge which collapsed in the late 19th century, being replaced by a new iron bridge in 1889. After flood damage in the 1980s this new bridge was constructed by Durham County Council. It is the first bridge on the River Wear.
The village of Wearhead is deep in former lead mining country and is 342 metres above sea level. Burnhope Reservoir is nearby. Wearhead was the terminus of the Wear Valley Railway which finally closed to all traffic in 1961 having lost its passenger trains in 1953. The village stands on both sides of the river and rises steeply to the north towards Cowshill.