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Friday, 7 July 2017

Nature gets her own back. (Durham) June 6th
   Holidays have again affected gadgie boys, Dave and I are having a walk out on a Thursday for a change along the Durham coast from Crimdon to Seaham.
The walk is part of the Durham Coast Walk, English Coastal walk, Heritage Trail/Durham Half Marathon and consequently is easy to follow but a map is useful for the names of places and the one to use is OS Explorer 308, Durham and Sunderland.
As it is a linear walk either a car at each end is needed, or use buses. Dave and I used public transport, taking a metro to Sunderland and then a bus to Crimdon Caravan Park.

                                                           metro
                                   Catch the number 23 from stand B at Sunderland Interchange
                     Alight at Crimdon Caravan Park and go under the railway
                                   into the holiday park.
If you use a map the bus stop is at NZ476377.
The walk;
We walked through the caravan park towards the sea, turned left at the cliff top and headed north. Some six hours later we were in Seaham, a day of much meandering and bird watching.
Initially we took the steps down to the beach but unsure where we could climb back up the cliffs we retraced steps and followed the Durham Coastal Path.
            It was a misty morning and yes, that is a Wellington boot.
Along the walk there are a number of denes or gills where the path goes inland, the first one being at the old Blackhall Colliery site. It is difficult to imagine the days of mines along the walk. They closed in the 1990s and have been cleared away. Today there are grassed areas, areas planted with a variety of trees. Birds have returned to the area, the grassed areas support a variety of flowers, much of the walk looks like an old fashioned English meadow it is so colourful.
At the next dene, Castle Eden the path descends to the beach and finding a useful log we declared a Herbie Spot. (Sandwiches, Topic bars and Racer bars, plus a visit from a lost looking huskie type dog.

                 This magnificent brick viaduct carries the railway across Castle Eden Dene. The line is used by local trains and expresses between Sunderland and London.

After lunch we continued north, the longest diversion inland being at Fox Holes Dene, beautifully wooded and again, not far from a vanished colliery.

                      Along the walk there are several works of art, mostly celebrating the history of the area. More examples in the gallery!
Some of the walk is on National Trust land and there are a number of nature reserves to enjoy.
Approaching Seaham we paused at Nose's Point which once supported a blast furnace as well as a mine. But as with the earlier part of the walk there is little evidence of these industries.
                      The cliffs are magnesium limestone which supports the varied flora
                 Another fine viaduct across Hawthorn Dene,
                        Nose's point as it once was.
When we reached Seaham we walked the final stretch by the harbour along the road, at the shopping centre we crossed over and on Church Street found a Wetherspoons pub, the Abbot was in fine form and the Wiltshire ham, eggs and chips were reward for the walk, it had been a long, tiring day,and humid although the forecast thunder storm never arrived. We caught a bus back to Sunderland and the metro to Newcastle

            Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017
And the mile markers are more approximate than usual
The matrix MMXVII                                   TTTTTT
                                                          steps                                  miles
iPhone                                             29000                                12.7
NAK                                               30069                                  13.25
Dave's 3D                                       29692                                  14.55
""" USB                                          27677                                  13.97
   "" NAK                                        27873                                  14.07
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                        11.98

Settle for 12!
 An incomplete list of the birds we saw:
kestrel, greenwoodpecker, linnet, blackbird, dunnock, cormorant, goldfinch, reed bunting, meadow pipit, skylarks and some unidentified geese in a skein plus some ducks on the water and rabbits and a hare,

                                       Bird of the blog, Green Woodpecker
The gallery, well worth a look for the beautybof the area, reclaimed by man and nature.