Hawthorn Dene is what I would genuinely class as a hidden gem on our coastline. The dene sits in valley of the Hawthorne burn which joins the north sea on the Durham Heritage Coast.
The dene is just outside the village of Hawthorn just north of Easington. There is a great deal of wildlife here as deer and badgers can often be seen. As well as many variety of trees and flowers growing in the area.
Parking is a bit problematic if you’re wanting to visit. You essentially park on the side of the road and I can imagine if it was a busy day, this would be a nightmare. I am incredibly surprised that neither Durham County Council or the national trust have created a proper car park here.
Postcode: SR7 8SH
If you are wanting to make a day of your adventure, I’d highly recommend walking here from Noses Point which is about no more than 3 miles away. All information on this can be found in my blog post Guide to Durham Heritage Coast.
The ‘This is Durham’ website recommend a route that starts from the road I have just mentioned. From here there are 3 possible paths you can take. the first two which are on the left run parallel to each other down to the coast sticking to the north side of the dene.
These two paths take you through the trees and down to the coast. This area is incredibly muddy right now so wellies or sturdy waterproof boots are essential! You will also walk alongside the quarry if you stick to the leftmost path. This is quite a spectacle however it is an incredibly dangerous place with steep drops and loose surfaces so bare this in mind.
By following either of these two paths, you will eventually end up in the Hawthorn Meadow. In the Summer when we visited, this place was simply beautiful. It was a complete suntrap as its surrounded by trees which kept any breeze at bay and also kept the heat in. Back in May 2020, we had a picnic in the meadow which was absolutely perfect!
Both of the left paths from the parking area will lead to here so it is up to you whether you walk back along the alternative path, or you can head down into the dene itself.
The path through the dene is quite steep on both sides so watch your footing. Especially right now it will be quite slippery. If you cross over the bridge in the bottom of the valley and go back up the other side you can either go left from here and onto the back itself, or go right and follow the burn back to the carparking area.
While walking through the dene you will see remnants from what look like old buildings. There was once a family who resided in the dene called the Pemberton Family. The buildings were demolished in 1969 but there are still some remains here (Source This is Durham)
This area through the dene was incredibly beautiful when we visited in May. There was so much garlic blooming and so many different wildflowers. I cannot wait to visit in the spring again.
With this being so close to home it really is a perfect place to go exploring right now for those of us who crave adventures but want to do our part and keep others safe.
Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring