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Durham Heritage Coast

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
Durham Heritage Coast

While we will spend two days in Durham to visit the university in the week after Easter Monday, we thought about adding some programme to make the flight worthwhile. I found the Durham Heritage Coast. Is it a programme which we can spend a few days? Walking, hiking, watching the coastal line ...etc.

Does it make sense to join the coastal walk with the Durham city visit ? Any suggestion for other options ?

Thank you very much.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
34,893 posts
1. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Do you have a car or reliant on public transport?

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Hi Alan,

we intend to fly into Newcastle and go to Durham by train, as you kindly suggested the last time. We have however not yet bought the flight

If necessary, we can hire a car after the University visit to go to the coast.

Sunderland, United...
Level Contributor
421 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Bus service 265 will take you from Durham bus station to Seaham, at the north end of the heritage coast. It takes about an hour, though, because it calls at all the villages along the way. You could drive there in less than half an hour.

2016/8/8/265_times_Publication.pdf

There's an 11-mile coastal footpath from Seaham to Crimdon, just north of Hartlepool, taking in some of the former coal mining villages along there, some of which are recovering better than others from the closure of their collieries. You can read about it, and download walking maps – including circular routes – here. It's an interesting walk, and is being well-managed, with cliff-top views and, depending on the time of year, interesting birds, plants and insects.

durhamheritagecoast.org/our-coast/…

One of the villages which, I'm sorry to say, hasn't recovered so well is Horden. It does, however, have a nice miners' welfare park, built for the benefit of the coal workers, which has a lovely little heritage centre and tea room in it. Terrific home-made cakes, but it's only open three days a week.

hordenhc.wixsite.com/hordenheritagecentre

Seaham is one of the areas which has recovered better, and is well worth a visit. It's got a Saxon church, a plethora of tea and coffee shops, a marina, and a statue of a First World War soldier which attracts a lot of interest. There are two other pieces by the same sculptor: a lifeboatman, in tribute to Seaham's lifeboat crews, down in the marina next to a heritage centre which tells the story of the town's lifeboat disaster in the 1960s; and, in Horden's welfare park, a miner with his heart ripped out – a comment on the effect the programme of pit closures had on these communities.

Edited: 05 April 2017, 21:37
Sunderland, United...
Level Contributor
421 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Sorry. The link for the bus timetable didn't work. Here it is

https:/…265_times_Publication.pdf

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

How lovely, thank you Jack for the information.

Do I understand it right that going to the coast can be kind of one day excursion or a multiday walk/hike along the coast ?

Sunderland, United...
Level Contributor
421 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

It can be however you want to do it, but I wouldn't think an overnight stay would be necessary. Do all 11 miles (18km) in one day, and then find your way back from the other end; or do small circular walks. It's up to you. If you did want to stay, Seaham or Hartlepool would be your best bets.

Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
233 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Thank you very much Jack. Your prompt reply and precise information is much appreciated.

I think of doing a one day excursion.

Have a nice day.

Oxfordshire, United...
Level Contributor
95 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Seaham's an odd one - my grandfather was from there and I spent many weekends in the town throughout the 1980s and 1990s. I saw it go from a town with 2 pits still open to a town with not a lot left at all. In 1998 when I spent a week there you could almost taste the despair. However, it's had an awful lot of money spent on it in the last few years and is worth a look - if nothing else than for a good example of what regeneration can do (notwithstanding it's still got its problems). The beach is lovely since they cleaned the coal waste off it.

There's a good memorial in the churchyard to the men killed in the 1880 pit disaster - my great great grandfather is on it.

It was all very grim when being used as a location for the film Get Carter - now it's more in the category of "starkly beautiful" I suppose.

I love it up there but I'd still put Seaham in the category of acquired taste. I love it, but then I can see how far its come since the days when as a 5 year old I played with the oxygen bottles and breathing masks of the elderly miners in the Vane Tempest Colliery Welfare. It's a great town with lovely people (hard men though mind). I'm feeling all nostalgic now - must get back up there this summer.

Sunderland, United...
Level Contributor
421 posts
2 reviews
9. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

Moseleyfan – I don't think Seaham was used for Get Carter. I think that was a bit further down the coast, Easington/Blackhall way. Seaham was extensively used, though, for the 1962 film Life For Ruth.

And famously the coal-blackened sands of the Blast Beach, with the old industrial workings in the background, were used as the surface of the prison planet in Alien 3. It looks much better and cleaner now, but the Blast is still, as you say, stark but beautiful.

We get people coming from all over the world, as well, looking for sea glass. Coloured glass from the 19th century bottle works, rubbed smooth by the sea, turns up as translucent pebbles, much in demand for jewellery.

And I'm not sure about Seaham being an an acquired taste. These days it's become so popular as a day out that it's often difficult to find a parking spot along the sea front. It's heaving with people, strolling the promenade, eating ice creams or fish and chips, admiring the statue of "Tommy" (he never seems to be alone) or visiting the coffee shops.

I don't know how recently you visited, but I hope you get back soon, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

That's the sea front, though. The once-bustling shopping thoroughfare of Church Street is a quite depressingly different story ...

Edited: 06 April 2017, 14:10
Oxfordshire, United...
Level Contributor
95 posts
9 reviews
10. Re: Durham Heritage Coast

There used to be a bakers that did great stotties at the bottom of Church Street on the left hand side as you look up to the church... I keep meaning to go to Seaham Hall too - I've not been in it since my two great aunts were in it as as Old Peoples' Home. One was in the private wing, the other the local authority end (and woe betide if the inmates crossed over). These days it's a boutique hotel...

Sorry, I digress, I'd say to the OP that it's definitely worth a day out.

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