Again in an effort to avoid the weekend crowds we headed to Durham Coast. We had picked up that there was a coastal path that ran for 11 miles from Seaham in the north to Crimdon in the south. Coal mining was the dominant industry in the area throughout the 20th century and up until 1993 tipping of colliery waste onto the beaches was the common practice. Following the closure of the pits in the early 1990’s a large regeneration project entitled “Turning the Tide” began. Today nature has reclaimed the land and the beaches, with only a trace now visible of what had been
We started our walk just outside Seaham at the site of the old Dawdon Colliery. There was a sea mist so our views along the cliffs and the beaches were poor. However it wasn’t cold , the path was excellent and there were very few people!
We looked down on Blast Beach at Noses Point. The name of Blast Beach is thought to have come from either the 19th century iron works which was situated at Noses Point or from ballast dumped by merchant ships. It was hard to imagine that a bottleworks and ironworks had been situated at the point.
Further along we walked through Hawthorn Dene a wooded area which has existed for about 400 years. We walked through a limestone gorge and got great views of the Railway Viaduct , opened to carry the Coastal Railway Line over the Dene.
Further on and our turn round point we came to the site of The Easington Colliery. Easington Colliery wads one of the last of the Durham collieries to be sunk and one of the last to close. Workings extended 5 miles under the sea!.The only visible sign of the colliery is the old pit cage erected to form a landmark and lasting reminder of an industry that once shaped the whole of the landscape of the coast