Friday, 21 June 2019

Seaham to Easington Colliery - Co Durham 12 June 2019

Seaham to Easington Colliery
Co Durham
Distance 14km Climb 275m
Wednesday 12 June 2019

I have walked along here a few times now, you can follow this link to another walk I did along here. The weather was so different that day, have a look just to compare it. This is part of the walk that was voted number 93 on ITV's Britain's Favourite Walks.

There had been a severe weather warning about possible floods due to heavy rain and winds that were expected. We always had the option of returning to the transport at any time if things became too bad. As it happened four hardy souls, Ali, Les, Steve stepped out with me today, this was our first ramble and we would be looking at this becoming a regular thing.   

Leaving the transport at the Nose's Point carpark we headed south along the English Coast Path (ECP). Last time I was here I could see a number of ships out at sea at anchor. Today we would be lucky to see as far as the cliffs edge. The path runs along the cliff tops to Nose's Point, where there are a number of information boards.



We followed the path right heading slightly inland around a little cove. Looking down we could see the waves crashing against the cliffs at the far end of Blast Beach. Dropping a little to cross a narrow metal bridge the path rises again into the National Trust area. Passing between empty gate posts the path leads beside a fence above the area of Blast Beach.

Reaching the path that leads down through Frenchman's Cove onto Blast Beach we decided to go and have a look. Large stones pave the way down, and a little way down we were in the relative shelter of the leeward side of the Cove.



One of the information boards at Nose's Point explains that due to the industrial damage made to the Beach in the past it was used as a set on the film of Aliens 3. In places you can see why.



Returning to the ECP we continued southwards. Within a few 100 meters the path is running by the Sunderland - Middlesbrough railway line. On reaching a bridge over the railway we ignoring the path that turns right over the bridge, and continued along a rough path straight ahead, still walking by the eastern side of the railway line. A little way along this path there was a little bit of shelter from the rain when we passed under some trees. Then the area opens up again. 


Looking below to our left we could see Hawthorn Hive. 


Re-tracing our steps a little we used the style and crossing point to take us over the railway line. Following the path west through an open meadow for a few meters then turning left, south onto the track that leads down to Hawthorn Dene.

On entering the Dene we pass between solid stone walls and into the shelter of the trees.


Before dropping down to a narrow bridge over Hawthorn Burn.


A gentle climb up from the bridge and we had a short break in an old hollowed out shelter. Imagine what this had been used for? 


After our short break we continued upwards to the next path junction where we turned left to walk under the bridge just to have a look down onto Hawthorn Hive. 



After a few photos we returned to the path junction and continued left, very quickly we were back into the open. A sharp left turn and we continued on the level for a few meters.  


The path drops a little, back under another arch on the bridge, taking us back under the railway line.

A short climb and we were again following the eastern side of the fence that runs by the railway line. After a few hundred meters we come to a style on our left. I cant resist crossing the railway line to have a look up Beacon Hill. Crossing over the railway line we had a walk up Beacon Hill.


Up the other side there is a short climb. The path reaches a fence where we stopped to have a look at the long horned cattle, like those cattle you see on the old westerns. Normally the views from here are good. On clear days you can see north to Sunderland and south to Hartlepool, not today though.


After looking at the long horned cattle and young bulls we headed back down hill towards the ECP and crossed the railway line. 


Back on the ECP, we turned left onto a grass path that took us around the cliff tops by a large field to the south of Shippersea Bay. As the path follows the coast it turns south between high hedges which gave a little shelter, then it was back into the open. 


From the grass track Les had spotted a large tower across the fields to our right. To be honest I had not noticed this before on my previous walks along here. I was probably too busy looking out to sea. To day there was nothing to see out to sea. We decided to take a look on our return journey. The path soon joins a tarmac track that came from our right, we continued left. We were now in an area called Fox Holes.

The path turns right following around the top of Horden Dene. Before dropping under the shelter of some trees. The path twists and turns towards a railway bridge, passing under the bridge we had reached a part of Easington Colliery. Across the road was a picnic table so we stopped to have some lunch.


After lunch we headed back.



At the junction with the grass path, instead of returning the way we came we continued along the tarmac path, west. We were going to take a look at the tower. The tarmac path turns under another railway bridge into another part of Easington Colliery. Instead of turning under this bridge we continued along the path that runs on the eastward side of the railway line.



After approx. 800m the footpath led us over a railway bridge and we were just below the tower. As we approached we could see it was the lift cage used to transport miners up and down the deep mine shafts. Although it is appears to be a memorial to the mining in the area, on returning home I have not been able to find out any information about the feature.


We walked along a path west that was taking us in a direction we did not want to go. Turning round we returned to the bridge over the railway and found a footpath that took us in the direction we wanted to go. This led us to the path we had previously been on which ran on the eastern side of the railway line.

Passing the style and footpath up Beacon Hill we continued northwards on the ECP. It was then turn left under the arch. The rain had eased a little.


Through the arch the path levels a little.


Before taking a right turn, back into Hawthorn Dene. On the way down the bank we pass the remains of an old building which is now just ivy covered broken brick walls.


We followed the path left, down some steep steps. and continued passed the small hollowed out shelter we had stopped earlier, Down onto the narrow footbridge that took us over Hawthorn Burn.


Leaving the Dene and entering the open meadow instead of turning right to cross the railway line at the style as we did on our way out. We turned left and continued up a rise following the ECP. Passing close to the entrance to the quarry. This path took us up to the bridge we had ignored on our route out. Turning right we crossed the bridge.


Then turned left following the path on the eastward side of the railway line. We were now on the same route as our outward journey.

After passing Frenchman's Cove I walked to the cliff edge to take one last look onto Blast Beach. 


We then continued along the ECP back to the transport. Looking down towards where the Seaham Pier and lighthouse was I could hardly see them through the mist.


Although the weather had not been perfect it had been a good day and I had enjoyed it. I hope Ali, Les and Steve had enjoyed it. We had covered 14km with 275m climb, in what could be described at the least, as very wet conditions.

I am already looking forward to our next ramble.
More to follow


Boz North
Follow link to a more sunnier walk along here. Seaham to Blackhall Rocks



Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales - Day 7 31 May 2019

Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival - Day 7
Hay-on-Wye
Wales
Distance approx. 6km Climb approx. 90m
Friday 31May 2019

Today was the last walk from Baskerville, well for this year. I said on Day 1, I had wanted to do a long walk this year while we were at Hay-on-Wye for the World-famous Book Festival. Unfortunately, due to our agenda this year I have had to just satisfy myself with walking from the campsite to the Book Festival. This was going to be almost the same walk, over the seven days. I had thought about including them all as one post, however I have decided that seven smaller posts are better. 

Each time we come to Hay we stay at the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite. For us there is no where better. The wood pigeon was still cooing to what sounded like Baby Shark coo coo coo. I still could not get a decent recording of it. 

As with the previous days I was enjoying the solitude of walking on my own. Anne used the free shuttle bus from the park and ride to get to the Festival site.

After saying goodbye to our new friends who would be leaving the campsite today. I walked to the rear of the Hall and took the steps up into Cwmsirhwy Wood. I felt sad, whether it was because it was my last walk here I don't know. At the top of the steep steps I walked up to the right to see the Hounds graveyard.


 Then turning left and headed west I walked up a couple of rises to get onto the forest track proper. As always I was excited in anticipation, would I see anything today? 


I did see something, there was an animal sitting on the end of a fallen tree, what was it? As usual it was gone before I could get a good look at it or take a photo.

The track was a little dryer than it had been except for the large muddy puddles which I had to navigate my way around. I have not mentioned in my previous posts that there was always the sound of bird song within the wood. In fact most of the walk each day was full of birds singing. Following the rise and fall of the track I dropping down to cross the stream. 

Over the stream I left the wood and joined the footpath that runs downhill passed the large excavation. I had started taking my waterproof coat earlier in the week as the weather was very changeable and today was no different. One minute it was very warm, the next rain threatened. It had not stopped me. Looking across the valley I could see the threat of rain. 


I followed the hedge line down hill south east, passing the old standing stones and could see the child's push bike lower down the hill, where it had been for the last few days. On turning around to look back up the hill I saw yet another child's bike on the stones from the excavation. That second bike wasn't there the last time I walked down here?



Dropping down to the bottom of the field, passing the original child's push bike I joined the Wye Valley Walk and crossed the A438. The Wye Valley Walk is a 136 mile walk from Chepstow to Plynlimon, part of which we walked when we were on our Offa's Dyke Path Day 1.

Over the road I walked by the edge of the ploughed field and reached the River Wye. Where I turned left and headed eastwards. Between bushes and high grass I could see the River Wye on my right and across the fields to my left I could see Baskerville Hall Hotel amongst the trees. Walking, in the distance I could see the lone "Watership Down" tree. A little further along I saw the trees I had called the couple, one being tall and thin the other being short and squat. 

Continuing around by the River I passed the green tanker where to my right standing against a tree was the trailer for a small boat. Which I haven't mentioned before.


I reached the small shed where I had previously seen a Reading Kindness Rock, so many days ago. I wonder where they all are now, they could be scattered all over the World. I remembered the dog walker I had met earlier in the week.  



Reaching the place where the views across the River open up as it bends south. I remembered the two fishers of the River I had spotted here. The man on Day 1 when I had walked in with David my brother and the grey heron on Day 5

On most days I had noticed the swans also paddled up and down this stretch of River.


As the River bends south, the path turns away from the River as it skirts around a house.  Passed the house, the footpath joins a gravel road and turns north for a few hundred meters before turning right over a small footbridge.

Over the footbridge the path climbs a little up through the trees. Near the unnecessary stile the fallen log still had its sign asking people to take a seat. The sign now looked a little discarded. Climbing further up the hill along the narrow path, passed the tall strong defensive walls around Wyecliff. Walking over beech nut shells. Time for one last look down onto the River from the top.


At the top I passed through the gate and entered the large field used as a campsite. There were a few extra tents today as some people were now arriving for the weekend.


Walking eastwards across the open field.  


I reached the B4351, where I turned right, south east and headed downhill towards Hay. I haven't mentioned this so far this week but before reaching the bridge there is a track down to the left which is the route of the Offa's Dyke Path. We walked down here a few years ago on our Offa's Dyke Path Day 5. It is almost like we only got as far as Hay and have gone no further.


Crossing the bridge, looking east along the River I could see the site of the other event that runs in Hay when the Book Festival is on. The site was now almost completely empty. 


As on Day 5, rather than cross the bridge and turn right onto the B4350. I crossed the bridge and took the Riverside path down to the left, which passed under the bridge.


I took the path down by the River. Along here there are some wooden sculptures of a fox, owls and an otter but looking at some of the trees I wondered at the natural sculpture. The way the ivy had grown around and around the trees making some wonderful patterns.


I continued along the Riverside path, passed the turning up to the town and passed this delightful looking house. I wonder if in the past it had something to do with the railway line.


I continued onto The Warren, through the trees and the open where the views looked across to where I had walked earlier. On reaching a track that crosses my path I turned left. A little twist and turn, then I was between the high sides of what would have been a railway bridge.


I was soon in the area of expensive looking houses, heading roughly south through the houses.


I reached the B4350 where I was only approx. 50m from the Festival site entrance.

Another nice little walk, approx. 6km with approx. 90m climb. I had wanted to do a longer walk, but our agenda would not allow me to do this. I had to satisfy myself with this walk each day over the last seven days. I had thought about writing them all as one post, but I have decided that seven smaller posts are better.

More events to attend today, book signing and celebrity spotting Nick Sharrett, Giles Milton, Alison Weir, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and Max Hastings to name drop. This is my walking write up for today.

This was the last night of our stay so on returning to the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite we had to end our holiday in the bar. There is always next year.

More to follow


Boz North
Follow the link to the walk Day 6

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales - Day 6 30 May 2019

Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival - Day 6
Hay-on-Wye
Wales
Distance approx. 9km Climb approx. 215m
Thursday 30 May 2019

As I said on Day 1, I had wanted to do a long walk this year while we were at Hay-on-Wye for the World-famous Book Festival. Unfortunately, due to our agenda this year I would have to just satisfy myself with walking from the campsite to the Book Festival. Today was going to be slightly different in part to what has been almost the same walk, each day. I had thought about including them all as one post, but I have decided that seven smaller posts would be better. 

Each time we come to Hay we stay at the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite, and as in previous years find this was a good decision.

Today I had a little more time so I was going to try and catch a few Geocaches on my way into the Festival site. Leaving Anne to catch the free shuttle bus.


I took the steps up into Cwmsirhwy Wood. 

At the top of the steep steps I followed the path left and headed west, after a couple of rises I was on the forest track proper. With my usual expectations and wonder I wandered through the trees. The ground was starting to dry a little after the rains and showers of the last few days. 


The few large muddy puddles on the tracks were still there. 


The tracks rise and fall before dropping down to cross a stream. Across the stream I left the wood and joined the footpath that runs downhill passed the large excavation. I could see low clouds almost brushing the tops of the hills across the valley. I could still see the Festival site.


This was were my walk changed slightly. Instead of following the hedge line down hill, passing the old standing stones. I turned right and followed the wood line up hill passing this old distinctive tree.




Joining the Wye Valley Walk heading westward. The Wye Valley Walk is a 136 mile walk from Chepstow to Plynlimon, part of which we walked when we were on our Offa's Dyke Path.


I had a look for a Geocache near this area, unfortunately I could not find it. Ah well move on to another a few hundred meters away. Views are still stunning.


A little further along the Wye Valley Walk I had a look for another Geocache. Again unfortunately I could not find this one either. I was not having a very good day but it was worth being in the area just for the views. Across the valley is Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford's Knob, a walk Anne and I did a few years ago.


I moved on to another Geocache further down the Wye Valley Walk. I must be loosing my touch this was another which evaded capture. Not to worry it all adds to the adventure.



If I hadn't walked this way I would have missed the views and the sight of this lovely church in Llowes.


At the bottom of the bank I was on the A438 so I turned left and walked just over a kilometre where in a layby a footpath drops down off the road to the right.


Breaking out through the trees, I found I was at the western end of the ploughed field walking by the River Wye.


It was along here I saw the blue dragonflies not in the numbers as last year but enough to be noticed. They must have moved up the River. Again it was a shame I did not get any good photos of them. Walking along I could see a big gap in the bank where the riverbank must have eroded.


Across the ploughed field to my left I could see Baskerville Hall Hotel amongst the trees.


It was very warm along here when I joined up to the Wye Valley walk and continued along my usual route.

The wind was blowing the white buds off the hawthorn trees and covering the trail in small white flowers along the path.


Continuing along by the River I passed the green tanker and the small shed. 


The views across the River opened up a little here as it bends south. Just before the path turns away from the River as it skirts around a house.  Passed the house, the footpath joins a gravel road and turns north for a few hundred meters before turning right over a small footbridge.

Over the footbridge the path climbs a little up through the trees. It looked like bluebells were starting to flower on the woodland floor.

Near the unnecessary stile a fallen log still had its sign to take a seat. Further up the hill I passed the tall strong defensive walls around Wyecliff. Walked over the beech nut shells near the top. Through the gate and entered the large field used as a campsite, which now was almost empty.

Walking eastwards across the open field I reached the B4351. Where I turned right, south east and headed downhill towards Hay. Crossing the bridge, looking east along the River I could see there were less tents from the other event that runs in Hay when the Book Festival is on than there was yesterday. 

Over the bridge I turned right onto the B4350 and headed south west through Hay. I saw Anne sitting on a seat across from the Y Galli Chambers. 

From here we had a short walk around the Town before heading up to the Festival site along the B4350. 

Another nice little walk, approx. 9km with approx. 215m climb. I had wanted to do a longer walk, but as I said above, our agenda would not allow me to do this. 

More events to attend today, book signing and celebrity spotting Lucy Worsley to name drop. This is my walking write up for today. Another early finish, I think we were starting to become tired. A short rest at the tent when we returned to the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite, followed by the obligatory visit to the bar.
More to follow


Boz North
Follow the link to the walk Day 5
Follow the link to compare this walk with Day 7. The last for this year.