Hett - Croxdale Hall - Strawberry Lane - Hett

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The layout of the medieval village of Hett is typical of many of the County Durham villages of the era with wide long village greens that were commonly centred around a pond. The village, which lies off the beaten track and as such has little through traffic, derived its name from its position perched on top of a hill that the ancients thought resembled a hat.

Pleasant lanes and a delightful wooded dene are the main features in this short walk that lies east of the River Wear in rolling arable countryside just a couple of miles south of Durham City.

The walk leaves the village passed the attractive duck-pond and descends through fields which are steep at times to enter Tursdale Wood, crossing on the way the main East Coast railway line. A short, steep climb through the wood to pass old fishing ponds follows before the route encounters the farming hamlet centred around Croxdale Hall, the family seat of the Salvin's, an old Durham land-owning family with a lineage dating back to the Norman Conquest. Included in the hamlet is a twelfth century chapel originally built to serve the small communities of Croxdale and Sunderland Bridge until the mid-19th century, when it became the private family chapel of the Salvin's.

The route then follows a delightful stony farm track that edges both the Croxdale and Butterby Woods for 1½ miles before intersecting Strawberry Lane, an ancient bridleway connecting Shincliffe with the original Tursdale Village. The walk follows the lane for half a mile before diverting to pass through the beautiful steep-sided Tursdale Wood, through which runs the combined fast-flowing Tursdale and Croxdale Beck. The beck provided the power to drive several flour and paper-mills from the Middle Ages up to the 19th Century. Unfortunately, the only one remaining is Croxdale Mill located further downstream near Croxdale Hall. The wood is a blaze of blues and greens during the bluebell-growing season.

The walk emerges from the wood at Hett Mill House before recrossing the main East Coast railway line for the final lap back to Hett through gently rising fields.

England - North England - Durham - Countryside


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, River, Stately Home, Wildlife, Woodland

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