Monday, May 04, 2009

The Durham Heritage Coast

Ever since the pit closures of the eighties this area has been occupied by a community short of employment and wealth. Well placed money for redevelopment has done much to revive this area but there is still much to do. Our paddling this last weekend took us from Fish Sands close to this statue of Andy Capp on the Hartlepool Headland along the Durham Heritage Coast to Sunderland.

We paddled north along the coast towards Crimdon Dene where there is a breeding colony of Little Terns hidden amongst the sand dunes. A little further on and there is a small headland called Blackhall Rocks. Closer inspection reveals the headland to be almost completely hollow. This is a huge cavern with numerous entrances at ground level, and a pebbly beach inside.

Later in the afternoon we settled for a deserted beach to camp for the night. Until the 1980s waste from the coal mines and steel industry was dumped along this shore without regard for any consequences. Following a huge clean up the beaches are turning from black to a more naturally sandy colour and wildlife is beginning to return.

The Magnesian Limestone that makes up most of this coastline is riddled with caves and arches and we made the most of the rockhopping opportunities.

The Limestone is overlaid with Boulder Clay and sandy glacial deposits and there is plenty of evidence of frequent cliff collapse.

Upon our arrival at Sunderland we found a delightful cafe by the beach inside the north pier where we found pie and chips to be our reward for paddling against tide and wind all morning.

There is a greater selection of photos here.

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