Online Archive  
Issue 13 - June 1973
Take A Walk On The Wild Side
The north-east is where we have lived all our life so we take it for granted as most people do the area they come from. But if we think and talk to people from elsewhere the picture they see is one of black smoke, chimneys, pits and terraced houses, stretching forever. This polluted image is true certainly but only for a part of the area. The truth is the industrial mess was placed on top of some of the most attractive country in Britain and parts of it are still there unspoilt.

I do not mean places like Bamborough, Middleton-in-Teesdale or Durham itself. The Northumberland and Durham Tourist Board have found out about them and are now busy in a mad rush of commercialisation. The concern here is with the smaller places hidden between the pits.

For a start, the coastline. Parts of it (Dawdon to Blackhall) are wrecked, courtesy of the NCB and enough has been said elsewhere about Roker. What about Shields to Marsden? Ryhope to Seaham and Seaton Carew to Port Clarence? All three stretches have lots of sand, seaweed, pebbles and can be walked along without icecream cones and promenades to spoil the atmosphere.

Inland there are plenty of denes with trees, flowers and streams and lots of woods. Castle Eden, Hawthorn (not all of it since the quarry people like it too) and Ryhope are all okay places. The Wear between Durham and Sunderland, Blanchland and Derwent Reservoir, the Tyne past Ryton, and Elwick (near Hartlepool) are all worth visiting.

There are plenty more if you think and look for yourself. No-one should be lost for somewhere to walk, play, go for a day. Like someone said: 'It's anywhere like if you go from shitty towns to real country in a couple of miles.'