Hawthorn - South Hetton - Shotton Colliery - Hawthorn Dene
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Hawthorn - Cold Hesledon - South Hetton - Shotton Colliery - Castle Eden Dene - Hawthorn Dene
The area covered by this walk lies on a plateau of Magnesian Limestone topped by a thin layer of boulder clay that stretches the full length of the County Durham coast from the Tyne to the Tees. This fertile combination produces rich farming land and grasslands that support rare varieties of plantlife. The bulk of the walk is over flat terrain interrupted only by the frequent visits into and out of the deep denes that are a unique feature of this mid-coastal area of County Durham.
From the sleepy village of Hawthorn the walk heads north through fields to intersect and cross the A19 trunk road at Cold Hesledon, from where the route heads first west and then south for the next six miles along well-used railway paths. Just south of Haswell the path passes through Pesspool Wood where a long, flooded section of the railway path has created an attractive wetlands area. The long railway path carries on to pass through the middle of Shotton Colliery, before changing direction and heading east under the A19 and entering the enchanting, 3.5-mile-long, wooded Castle Eden Dene that leads down to the sea.
The route then follows the mainly flat coastal path north, with occasional forays into and out of a series of smaller intersecting denes, after which the route ascends the historic Beacon Hill to reward the walker with great views up and down the entire length of the Durham coastline. The walk concludes with an ecologically interesting ramble through Hawthorn Dene, the last but by no means the least of these special, deep-wooded valleys.
England - North England - Durham - Coast
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