Ryhope Beach and Clifftops are one of my favourite places to visit. Especially right now as we cannot go far from home and this is right on our doorstep. Its a perfect spot for lockdown and I visit all the time.
Sat between the very popular beach at Seaham and the very unpopular beach at Hendon, Ryhope is incredibly understated and I feel, very forgotten about. It is a little bit of a hidden gem as it is never very busy and people rarely talk about it. Accessibility might be an issue here and as a result, people tend to go elsewhere.
There is no real carpark here. There are a few spaces at the pinpoint on the screenshot below.
Postcode: SR2 0NR
It is free to park there, and there is a dog waste and litter bin so if you are bringing your dog or have some rubbish with you, USE IT! If this car park is full, you could always park along the south side of the Village Green.
The photo above shows the information sign which is at the car park, just in case you get lost or need a point of interest to look out for! There is nothing in the way of toilets or services at all here. There are a couple of corner shops on the village green for snacks, and a couple pubs for non-covid times. Highly recommend the Albion for Sunday Lunch and the adjoining beer garden for summers days!!
Alternatively, if you just wanted to walk along the clifftops you could park at the north end of the beach. However, there are even less parking here, and its a little ropey. But its right next to Mcdonalds, so there’s that!
Postcode: SR2 9ST
There are a couple ways to get onto the beach and cliff tops. The first parking spot I recommended is the best option for the beach. There is a tunnel under the A1018 which takes you to the Durham Heritage Coastal Footpath. From here you come to a cross roads. By going straight down, you will get to the stairs which take you down onto the beach. The left and right take you up onto the cliffs which I will come back too.
If you are walking down here, be careful because it can get incredible slippery, especially on the groin itself as its covered in seaweed! While on the beach you can either walk north or south. If you choose to go north be aware that the next place you can get off the beach is not until Hendon. This is quite a walk so if you are going to do this, be aware of tidal patterns and just BE CAREFUL! It is easy to get cut off by the water.
If you go south, there are two places you can get off the beach before you get to Seaham, and you get more options as to how long of a walk you do.
Ryhope beach is very pebbly and rocky. Sensible footwear is a must, no sandals or flipflops here! I wouldn’t really call it a relaxing walk because of how scrambly it can get. Its for this reason that we generally stick to the cliff tops. However, if you wanted a change of scenery, then by all means go for it.
The clifftops are much easier going than the beach. And I think the views are better! If you were to park, or start your walk at the first place I recommended, you get more options here. Again you can either walk north along towards Hendon Beach or south towards Seaham.
The photo above shows what was once a path down the Hendon beach on the northside. However coastal erosion has taken the bottom of this path away making it very unsafe to get down this way so I DO NOT recommend going this way. I really hope the council or someone comes and fixes it soon because I worry that in the spring when people come back outside for daily walks, people will get hurt here.
The other option you have for a route from the tunnel is to go up onto the south path. This is the route we frequent most often as the views are better this way.
If you follow me on Instagram then you will have seen multiple variations of this photo many times. This spot is one of my favourite places in Sunderland. From here you can see Roker Pier which is incredible and you can watch the waves come in.
If you follow the path along the cliffs you will be able to get some incredible views out to sea. Just be wary of the cliff edge as it is a steeper drop you than you think. Take my word for it, don’t go close to see for yourself!
If you get the time of year right, at the end of spring and beginning of summer, the fields along this way are usually covered in these beautiful yellow flowers! It makes the whole place look really beautiful.
If you carry on along you will get to the bench at the end of Ryhope Beach. This is near enough where it becomes Seaham Beach and you can see all the way down and out to the pier and lighthouse there. This is a perfect spot to sit and take in the view!
The Durham Heritage Coastal Footpath runs right along to Seaham and it is very easy to follow down if you wanted too. If you wanted to head back to the start of this route, you can walk around the field on the cliffs, or just go back the way you came.
Overall, Ryhope Beach and Cliff tops are a really great place to visit, especially right now as it is SOOOOO quiet there! But if you are visitng here are a few things to take away:
- Wear sensible shoes, and clothes as it can get slippery and windy!
- Be careful when on the beach, or near the clifftops!
- Take any rubbish with you!
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Stay Safe, Happy Adventuring
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