Hetton Lyons Country Park is another of those places right on our doorstep that I had never heard of or visited until a few weeks ago when researching for another blog post. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when visiting however I was pleasantly surprised when we went. There are so many things to do in the park I really don’t know how I haven’t came across it before.
The park made for a great place for a Sunday walk in the winter sunshine. Especially right now as the majority of the paths are nice and wide so social distancing isn’t an issue.
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Something I wasn’t aware of before visiting is that the park wasn’t always what it is now. The park itself was once Hetton Lyons Colliery which was a massive contributor to the coal industry in the North East. The mine was open for 130 years, and was pushing out 300,000 tonnes of coal a year in its peak.
It wasn’t until over 35 years after the pit closed in 1950 that reclamation on the site began to turn it from a post industrial dumping ground into the park it is today. It wasn’t until 2003 when the park was taken over by Sunderland City Council and the Hetton Lyons Springboard Country Park was opened.
The only real notion in the park to the history of it is the wheel shown in the picture above, which if you are from Sunderland will be a familiar sight. This wheel is the only reference to the once massive part of our cities heritage here.
Parking is available at the park itself. It is free to park and there were a fair few spaces although I imagine it fills up pretty quickly in the summer or a bank holiday. The park is always open so you can visit at any time of the day.
Postcode: DH5 9NL
Things to do
The park is an ideal place if you have children as there is a great play area, and the paths are pretty flat so if you have a buggy or pushchair it shouldn’t be too bad. It is also a great place for feeding the ducks, swans and there were even some geese there last weekend!
There is also the outdoor gym equipment which was installed with covid in mind. It was added to the park in march 2020 and each exercise machine is 10 meters apart so it is perfect for social distancing! There are 10 different machines in total making a great spot for anyone missing the gyms right now.
You could also have a go on the assault course near the cafe which could result in some great videos for ‘You’ve been framed’!!
Walking around this park is definitely one of the best things to do here. There is the woodland area, and the grasslands and of course the path around the lake itself which is a part of Hetton Burn. The lake is really beautiful to walk around. You can also go fishing is you so wished, although when we visited the lake was mostly frozen over. There were quite a few benched around the lake if you wanted to stop and take it all in.
There is also the café open on the waters edge. It is currently only taking cash payments. It is open:
Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 3pm
Toilets are also open 7 days a week 10am-3pm
However, if you get a dry day there are loads of places to sit on the side of the lake in the sunshine. Being sat there with a nice coffee would be so amazing. It will also be a great place in the summer for a nice picnic!
The park also (in none covid times) often has events and things on so it is worth following their Facebook page to stay up to date with anything they get booked in for this summer (or next) when things are safer and big gatherings can happen again!
Overall, if youre looking for some fresh air and want somewhere new to visit, Hetton Lyons country park is a perfect spot to do so!
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Stay Safe, Happy Adventuring!