The Coastal Footpath passes close by the site of Dawdon Colliery which ceased production in 1991 after which the site was reclaimed. Dawdon was linked underground to the Vane Tempest Colliery in Seaham and together with Seaham Colliery they are often referred to as “Seaham’s three pits”.
Now all that can be seen of the Dawdon Colliery are two structures adjacent to the car park. These are part of the equipment for monitoring conditions in the capped shafts. Information about the colliery is given on a board next to the car park. The Blast Beach is a location for the popular sport of sea angling. To the north can be seen Sunderland, Whitburn Point and in the far distance, Tynemouth. To the south, the coast curves to the Hartlepool Headland and beyond to Middlesbrough, Eston Nab escarpment and the Hunt Cliff. The name of the Blast Beach is thought to come either from the 19th century ironworks which were situated at Noses Point or from ballast dumped here by merchant ships. Noses Point was the scene of much industrial activity in the past. Seaham Bottleworks factory was situated here in 1855, then the ironworks were established and finally a chemical works was built in 1865.
These factories were served by the “Ballast Railway” and later a track route further west was built called the “Blastfurnace Branch”. Coal was taken to the ironworks via the Blastfurnace line and finished products would be transported out to Seaham Harbour on the Ballast Railway. Here, next to the footpath, photographs on an interpretive board overlooking the beach enable you to see both how the coal industry in the area blighted the beaches and also how the natural action of the sea has continued the process of cleaning them. The action of the sea also erodes the Magnesian Limestone cliffs and ironically the tipping of mine waste on the beaches actually protected the cliffs from this erosion and reduced the effects of salt seawater spray on the clifftop plant-life. The natural rate of erosion along the coastline here is now being carefully monitored.
The first half of this route is very flat with easy sections.
Route supplied by Durham Heritage Coast.
- Distance: 1-5 Miles
- Grade: Easy
- Route Surface: Off Road
Parking & Transport
- Car parking - Near Dawdon and at Nose's Point.
- Distance (0-5 Km)
- Grade (Easy)
- Time (1 hour or Less)