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YHA Explore a revitalised County Durham
    15/03/2013 12:02

Explore a revitalised County Durham

If you're thinking of taking a walking break, it's probable that some of the UK's National Parks or areas of the coast in the south-west are at the forefront of your thinking - but what about the North East?

Years of mining activity in County Durham left many of the beaches buried in slag waste and the landscape tarred by concrete towers, but much of this has changed in the last few years with the closure of the pits. Mark Rowe in the Independent has been promoting walking trails in the region, highlighting the Turning the Tide community project which has cleaned up the area, and the equally-important action of the sea, which has washed away much of the detritus to leave the beaches in their natural state.

"They've transformed the area's superb coastline into a virtue and revealed the charms that made Lord Byron and Lewis Carroll linger here," Mr Rowe notes.

Walks highlighted in the article include the route along the coast from Seaham to Hartlepool taking in the woodlands of Hawthorn Dene, the Weardale Way through the Durham Dales with its range of wildlife - including the chance to spot riverbirds such as kingfishers and dippers - and the Waterfalls Walk. This latter trail takes you past High Force, the breathtaking spectacle that is one of Britain's highest waterfalls. There is also the option to take on something more easy-going - the Waskerley Way. There is a ten-mile paved footpath from Consett to Parkhead near Stanhope which is suitable for wheelchair users, and as well as the many sights on offer, the route is said to be a fantastic place for butterfly spotting.

If you fancy seeing for yourself what County Durham now has to offer with spring approaching, have a look at our range of great-value local hostels to give yourself the ideal base from which to explore this beautiful part of England.

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