AboutWitton Dene Local Nature Reserve is a Local Wildlife Site of Ancient Woodland suitable for walkers and wheelchair users in parts.
Habitats include grassland, scrub, woodland, running water and ponds.
Witton Dene is a steep-sided wooded dene close to the village of Witton Gilbert. It is an oasis for wildlife within a mosaic of arable land and built-up areas. The steep sides have probably prevented it from being cleared for pasture and as a result trees have survived for hundreds of years. Some of the mature beech trees which form part of the field boundaries have been there since 1828. There are also lots of old holly trees.
A circular walk enables you to take in most of the Dene. The lower path follows the course of the Dene Burn southwards. An upper path branches uphill near the pond and rejoins the lower path just before the metal bridge over the stream. The southern end of the site runs adjacent to what was once a leper hospital, and is now a farm house, and to the Churchyard of St Michael and All Angels. Parts of this church date from the twelfth century.
Although Witton Dene is a small site it has plenty to offer. It has a really impressive bird population with more than 40 different species recorded.
Route supplied by Durham County Council’s Countryside Service.
- Distance: 1-5 Miles
- Grade: Easy
- Route Surface: Off Road
- In countryside
- Village Location