AboutLeave the car park and follow the coastal path down towards the mouth of the dene. There are extensive views towards Hartlepool and the Cleveland Hills, where ironstone was found. This, and the local coal supply, were largely responsible for the growth of steel and shipbuilding industries in Hartlepool. Crimdon beach is a very important breeding ground for the Little Tern, one of Britain’s rarest sea birds. The birds arrive at Crimdon in May from West Africa and are monitored by volunteer wardens. The wardens erect temporary fencing on the beach to protect the eggs and chicks from predators. The wardens are very knowledgeable and always happy to talk to the public about the Little Tern colony.
At the mouth of the dene cross a small bridge then continue up a metalled path and go through a gate. This takes you towards the railway. On your right is Crimdon House and adjoining farm buildings. Today the house has a pan tiled roof with Georgian style windows except for the two bays which are characteristic of the Victorian period.
You will soon arrive at the footbridge to crossover the railway. The Coast Line is still busy with passenger and freight trains, but not the Hart, Castle Eden, Wellfield to Ryhope line. The passenger service was withdrawn as early as 1952 although the line was often used as a diversion for the coast trains particularly during Sunday engineering work. Hart Station where you cross the line closed completely on 31st August 1953, and there is little to see of its former existence.
Follow the signs to Wingate/Haswell on the former trackbed towards the metal road bridge in the cutting, which is supported by red brick in the English style of bonding. The former trackbed is now a cycle and walkway. Today the railway is overgrown with trees and shrubs. The dominant tree is silver birch. It usually has a lifespan of fifty years so many of the larger specimens were probably saplings when the railway closed.
A wonderful bridge now spans the trackbed. It carries the road to Crimdon House. The bridge has plain classical columns of the Tuscan Order, the Roman form of the Greek Doric, resting on blocks of sandstone. It is well cared for and very imposing.
After passing through some delightful woodland eventually crossing Crimdon Dene with steep slopes on either side. To the right there are remains of a limekiln which is difficult to detect through the leaf cover in Summer. Lime was spread over fields to reduce acidity in the soil as well as being used as a wash on buildings.
Just after passing a footpath on your left, cross over a stile on your right on to a footpath. This path takes you through farmland and steadily climbs towards Benridge Farm through a field. The name means ‘ridge where beans are grown’. There is certainly evidence of arable farming today although on the seaward side of the ridge more fields are given over to pastoral farming.
Once over the ridge walk towards a wooden fence on the right, and through a gap in the hedge, emerging by a Public Footpath sign and turn left following the lane towards the junction with the minor road. Tweddle Children’s Animal Farm is on the left. The walk continues to your right and head towards Crimdon. Crimdon has no obvious village. The settlement in evidence is dispersed and many of the houses are in the form of short terraces, detached bungalows and semi-detached houses. Nearly all date from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.
Take care crossing the main road. Finally proceed under the arched railway bridge, through the caravan park, and turn right on to the cliff top path. Return to the start.
- Distance: 1-5 Miles
- Grade: Moderate
- Route Surface: Off Road
- Theme: Breathtaking Views
- Theme: Nature
- In countryside
- Village Location
- Walk Distance - 3 miles / 5km