Ryton is a semi-rural small town near the western border of Tyne and Wear, England. Until 1974 it was an independent town in County Durham, but was incorporated into the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear and the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in 1974. By the 2011 Census the parish had been absorbed into the Gateshead MBC ward of Ryton, Crookhill and Stella. The total population of this ward was 8,146 in the UK census of 2011.
Ryton lies midway between Crawcrook and Blaydon, both in Tyne and Wear. Nearby settlements include Stargate, Clara Vale, Greenside, Stella and Hedgefield. Stargate is located on the outskirts of Ryton en route to Blaydon.
Traditionally, Ryton's economy was built upon agriculture and coal mining. Some think that coal-mining was taking place in the area as early as Roman times, however it was not until 1239 when Henry III granted that coal may be mined outside the walls that mining became extensive. The agricultural industry in Ryton was mixed and included both pastoral farming and arable farming.
As well as its coal industry, Ryton formerly contained the lead-smelting reverberatory furnaces of the Ryton Company, whose mines were on Alston Moor in Cumberland. This business was amalgamated into the London Lead Company in 1705.
Ryton soon became a place of migration for the wealthy, who wanted to escape the urban sprawl of the Industrial Revolution in Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne. A reminder of Ryton's affluent past is found in some of the old mansions at old Ryton village, a place rich in rural qualities because of its proximity to Ryton Willows on the banks of the River Tyne.
After the decline of the coal industry during the second half of the twentieth century Ryton became increasingly suburbanised and is now used as a commuter village for those that work in the more urban areas of Tyneside.
Ryton was an ancient parish in the Chester Ward of County Durham. It was made a civil parish in the 19th century and an urban district in 1894. In 1912 it absorbed the neighbouring parishes of Crawbrook and Ryton Woodside. As explained above it is now part of the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead in the county of Tyne and Wear.
As an ancient parish it contained the following townships: