North York Moors CAM


Thursday 13th September 2001

Weather: Pleasant with sunny spells

The Durham Coastal Footpath

Seaham Harbour to Crimdon Dene

( 10 miles )

Another walk outside North Yorkshire . . .

Today's walk along the Durham Coastal Footpath begins at the public car park near Seaham Harbour
- as it's not a circular walk we left one car at Crimdon Dene Caravan Park to where we would be heading


This old pit-top winding wheel from Seaham Colliery is an early indication of what lies ahead
- a coastal walk passing many remnants of a once thriving coal-mining industry


About a mile further on we look back - the tall buildings in the distance are at Sunderland


Liddle Stack is an example of how sea erosion is continually altering the shape of this particular coastline



From Nose's Point we look ahead and down to Blast Beach - a nearby information board informs us that the beach
is so called either because of the 19th Century iron works which were situated near where I took the photographs from
or, possibly, from ballast dumped by passing merchant ships

Throughout the lifetime of nearby Dawdon Colliery, thousands of tons of mine waste were tipped onto this beach
- people have gathered sea-coal on this coastline for many years, carrying sacks full of the fine coal up the steep banks
before perching them across their bicycles ready for the journey home

Ironically, although the waste destroyed much marine life, it did help protect the coastline from erosion



About a mile further on, take care crossing the railway line, then follow the steps down to Hawthorn Hive
- 'hive' comes from the old English word 'hythe' meaning 'landing place'


Again we witness obvious signs of the coal waste - the sand is almost black. However, no waste was actually
tipped here - it has all been washed here by the natural action of the sea from other nearby beaches


From the beach we climb back up the bankside near the railway viaduct which spans Hawthorn Dene


Although most of today's walk is along flat and easy cliff-top paths
there are a few steep-sided denes (valleys) to descend and then climb up the other side


About another mile further on we get a good view of the memorial to Easington Colliery
- all that remains on the hillside is the pit cage, a landmark reminder of an industry
which long used to dominate the lives of local people

If you go to the link, you'll be amazed at the number of brave miners who were killed down this
and the many other pits in the surrounding area


The view across reclaimed land to Easington village - the location for much of the filming
in the British hit movie
'Billy Elliott'


Here we look back up the coast - the dark pit memorial can just be seen (centre left) . . .


. . . and from a bit further on we look back to Easington village


Shortly afterwards we descend to yet another valley and see the viaduct crossing Castle Eden Dene
- a National Nature Reserve which extends 4 miles inland from the shore


The next piece of history is about a mile further on at the former site of Blackhall Colliery
- I found these information boards, which are positioned by the path side, very interesting and informative


Most of the land where Blackhall Colliery stood has now been reclaimed, but there still remain signs of coal waste

It was on Blackhall Rocks beach that the final scenes from the 1971 movie 'Get Carter' were filmed
- it was here where gangster Jack Carter, played by Michael Caine, met his end with a sniper's bullet in the head

The location was chosen because the beach was black with colliery waste
and was 'framed' by the cable-carried tubs of
Blackhall Collliery's waste-tipper


Blue House Gill - now a scene of peace and quiet where once there would be much surrounding mining activity



Just a little further on along Blackhall Rocks beach are some fascinating limestone stacks and caves



I was a bit wary climbing inside to take the photograph (above right) as there'd obviously been a recent roof-fall


Millions of pounds have been spent to clean up this area in the 'Turning the Tide' project
- as you can see from the above photograph, it's been money well spent


Looking back to the caves on Blackhall Rocks beach


Just a mile or so further on and we were near the end of our walk at Crimdon Dene Caravan Park
- here we look south towards Hartlepool and Teesmouth with the bulk of Boulby Cliffs in the far distance


location map

( If any photographs fail to download, click the right mouse button on the blank space then choose 'Show Picture' )


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