In InspireTrails

The Northern Saints Trails are an ideal way to explore the North East this summer. They are brimming with sights so make stops on your journey to see an array of sublime statues and sculptures.

The Way of the Sea


As you reach Newbiggin-by-the-sea Beach, turn towards the sea to find a man and a woman on top of a plinth. It is the three times life-size statue, ‘Couple’ by Sean Henry. The woman is dressed in jeans and the man has a flat cap. When the tide is high, you may think they are standing on the water! Curiously, there is also the smaller version of the statue on the promenade known as the ‘Land Couple’ who look out to the ‘Couple’.

Trail: The Way of the Sea  Address: Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Beach, Northumberland NE64 6EB


Fiddler’s Green

The magnificent memorial Fiddler’s Green by Ray Lonsdale commemorates the fisherman who have lost their lives at sea. Walk over to this statue in Fish Quay, North Shields so you can look at the grand fisherman seated on a mooring bollard. He appears to be reflecting.
Trail: The Way of the Sea  Address: North Shields Fish Quay, North Shields NE30 1JA

The Way of Life

The Ball and the Bradford Boy

Each trail has tales from the past. Walk into the memorial garden of the Bradford Brothers of Witton Park. The four brothers all fought in World War One but sadly only one returned home. Two of them were awarded the Victoria Cross. Here is a steel statue of a returning soldier standing next to a miner. The miner is kindly reaching out to the soldier, giving him a football. The sport was a pastime of the brothers and a reminder of civilian life before going to war.

Trail: The Way of Life  Address: 27 Main St, Witton Park, Bishop Auckland DL14 0DY

‘First World Cup’

Did you know that many say West Auckland is the home of the ‘First World Cup’? In 1909, businessman Sir Thomas Lipton proposed an international football competition and put his name to a trophy. Italy, Germany, Switzerland and other European clubs sent their professional teams to compete but the English declined their invitation! Lipton instead chose the amateur, miners football team West Auckland. Incredibly they defeated the Swiss team FC Winterthur 2-0, winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy! The Durham team even defended their title again in 1911, with an impressive 6-1 score against Juventus! Nigel Boonham’s ‘First World Cup’ statue celebrates the achievement and can be found in the village green of West Auckland. One figure is about to kick a football, the other resembles a miner chipping away at a coal seam but also a goalkeeper diving for the ball.

Trail: The Way of Life  Address: West Auckland Village Green DL14 9HW

The Way of Love

Andy Capp

Step towards this statue by Shropshire artist Jane Robbins and match the pose! It is the working-class hero Andy Capp, created by Hartlepool-born cartoonist Reg Smythe. The Andy Capp comic strip first appeared in 1957 in the Daily Mirror. Andy Capp even inspired the musical ‘Andy Capp’, which opened in 1982 at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

Trail: The Way of Love  Address: 1 Bedford St, Hartlepool TS24 0QU

St Helen’s Cross

The church dedicated to St Helen in Kelloe, is the location of an exceptional treasure. St Helen’s Cross is an incredibly well-preserved 12th century stone. It tells the story of the Legend of the True Cross. The top panel shows the dream of Constantine in which an angel points to the cross and says, “In this sign you will conquer”, a shortened version of this, ‘IN HOC VINCES’, is found on the horizontal arms. The lower panel is where you find the main story. Helen has a drawn sword ordering Judas to dig and search for the true cross. The digging took place in a cemetery and Judas unearthed corpses and three crosses. The true cross was revealed when one of the corpses touching it came to life. Have you noticed the sun and moon on either side of the cross in the lower panel?

Trail: The Way of Love  Address: St Helen’s Church, Kelloe DH6 4PT

The Way of Light

Lydgetts Junction smelt wagon

Lydgetts Junction is on the site of the former Consett Steelworks. There is a large network of Railway Paths in this area and Lydgetts Junction is where the Lanchester Valley Railway Path joins the Waskerley Way and Derwent Valley Railway Paths. The Lanchester Valley railway was built to carry iron ore to Consett Steelworks and coal from Langley Park. It opened for passenger service in 1862. Be observant and search for a sculpture that is red. You are looking at a smelt wagon, this would have been used to transport molten iron between sites.

Trail: The Way of Light   Address: Lydgetts Junction Car Park, Consett DH8 7NU

Terris Novalis

Make a worthy diversion to Terris Novalis! A very quirky sculpture which can be seen for miles. It consists of two huge versions of measuring instruments, a theodolite and an engineer's level. It is a monument to the industrial history of the area and marks what was once Europe’s largest steel works. Have you spotted the variety of animal feet and even a human hand? They are inspired by symbolic heraldry found on shields, coats of arms, plaques and items associated with land and ownership.

Trail: The Way of Light  Address: Consett, DH8 9AA

The Angel’s Way

King Coal
Photo credit: David Pott

King Coal

Can you pick out the face? In Chester-le-Street, you will come across a rather wacky sculpture of a bearded man which is King Coal. It is made from recycled bricks, mining shovels, stone and a fan impeller. Coincidentally, the sculpture was completed the same day the closure of the last of Durham’s coal mines was announced.

Trail: The Angel’s Way  Address: C2C Cycle Route, Chester-le-Street DH2 2RJ

The Angel of the North

A truly iconic sculpture of the region, The Angel of the North is not to be missed. Made of corten steel, it was designed by sculptor Antony Gormley and opened to the public in 1998. Said to be the largest angel sculpture in the world, it is 20 metres high and has a wingspan of 54 metres! Its historic function is to remind people that below the site, coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years. Admire it as you stand on the panoramic hilltop.

Trail: The Angel’s Way  Address: Durham Rd, Low Eighton, Gateshead NE9 7TY

The Way of Learning

Shadows in Another Light

Get a close-up view of the eye-catching steel tree. The plinth was the base of a former riverside crane and around it are sixteen intriguing plaques depicting maritime items and local views. The plaques were created by blind and partially sighted people in workshops.

Trail: The Way of Learning   Address: Palmer's Hill Rd, Sunderland SR6 0AA

Bede Memorial Cross

On this trail, you get the chance to discover the Bede Memorial Cross. Walk up to it and take in all the amazing intricate detail. There are carvings on every side in the style of original Anglo-Saxon stone carvings, made when Bede was alive. The images on the cross represent parts of Bede’s life, including his work, friends, and his interests. The many faces on one side show eleven different bishops.

Trail: The Way of Learning   Address: Roker Cliff Park, 2 Whitburn Rd, Roker, Sunderland SR6 9NQ

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