AboutThe Durham Coastal Footpath is a superb 11 mile walking route from Seaham in the north to Crimdon in the south, leading through stunning clifftop scenery with links into coastal villages each with their own special stories to tell.
This coast is one that has been affected by constant change, both natural and manmade, but it has always been a special place for nature lovers. The underlying geology is Magnesian Limestone with boulder clay above it which supports fantastic grassland with wonderful plants and other wildlife, including the very special Durham Argus butterfly that feeds on the rockrose and can be seen during the summer months.
Coal mining was the dominant industry in the area throughout the 20thC but following the closure of the pits in the early 1990s considerable effort has been put into restoring the coastal grasslands leading to a recreated coastal landscape. Along the route you will still see remnants of the colliery spoil that despoiled the beaches for over 100 years.
The walk starts in Seaham where the North Dock, created for the export of coal, is now a smart new marina next to the vibrant working port in South Dock. The path follows the cliffs to Nose’s Point where there are superb views down to Whitby on a clear day. This was the site of the former Dawdon colliery but now a gateway to the most tranquil section of the Heritage Coast. The airy route continues south taking in Hawthorn Dene, passing Beacon Hill and Easington Colliery down into Castle Eden Dene and on to Blackhall, where the final dramatic scenes of Get Carter were played out. Then on past the smugglers caves of Blackhall Rocks, the path runs on through a chicane of small gills to finish at Crimdon and its dunes, where little terns return from Africa every year to breed on the open beach.
Along the way you can detour into the villages and onto the fascinating beaches, with some routes more challenging than others.
The coastal path booklet for the route is available from the Durham Heritage Coast office (Tel: 03000 268131) and available for download from www.durhamheritagecoast.org. In addition, all walkers are advised to carry an OS map of the area.
- Distance: 5-10 Miles
- Grade: Moderate
- Route Surface: Off Road
- Walk Distance - 11 miles.