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Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve

Address

Off Durham Way
Nr. Shotton
Peterlee





Access and facilities

  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Customer toilet facilities
  • Accessible toilets
  • Customer parking facilities

Toilet Facilities available in the Summer months only.

 
Photograph of Natural England - Off Durham Way, Nr. Shotton, Peterlee,

Access in Summary


Overview

Castle Eden Dene reserve is located off the A19 on the outskirts of Peterlee in County Durham. Brown local tourist information signs direct you towards the reserve when exiting from the A19 and also from Peterlee town centre.

There is a small car park at Oakerside Dene Lodge that is within a few metres of the Reserve and its trails. Natural England has a small office located adjacent to the car park there are public conveniences including an accessible toilet (both Offices and Toilets were closed at the time of assessment and no indication was given as to there opening details-suggested at peak Summer times only).

The reserve is the largest area of semi-natural woodland in the North East of England. The Dene or Valley has been forged over thousands of years into the Limestone Gorge that provides an unspoilt habitat for a multitude of flora and fauna.

An information board outside the Lodge provides leaflets including some trail information. An interactive visual display board was not operative at the time of our visit.

There are 2 designated trails at Castle Eden Dene:
* Yew Tree Walk (In Miss Mary’s Footsteps)
* Red Squirrel Walk (Over the High Bridge)

Car Park / Drop Off

The Car Park at Oakerside Dene Lodge is constructed on a tarmac surface which has level parking for approximately 15 vehicles. There are no designated accessible parking spaces.

Access into the reserve and its trails is down a moderate 20 metre ramp from the car park. Customers should also note that the Kissing Gate which enters onto the reserve and its trails would not be accessible to wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs.

Trails & Walks

Yew Tree Walk

This trail is a circular walk of almost 4 kilometres around the reserve starting and finishing at the Oakerside Dene Lodge car park.

The trail is considered suitable for those with a reasonable level of general fitness but not those whose mobility may be impaired. The trail is not suitable for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs.

The majority of the trail is over natural trodden ground and involves a number of steep inclines and descents with severe adverse cambers. Conditions under foot can be slippery and prone to standing water particularly in low lying parts of the reserve. The pathway can be very narrow in places.

There are some man made steps constructed into the hillside along the route and areas of raised boardwalk.
The trail has good signage along its way indicated by a Yew Tree symbol on signposts. There are limited seating areas on the route mainly concentrated in the last 2 kilometres of the walk.

Customers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and clothing particularly during or after periods of adverse weather.

Red Squirrel Walk
This trail is a circular walk of almost 3 kilometres around the reserve starting and finishing at the Oakerside Dene Lodge car park.

The trail is considered suitable for those with a reasonable level of general fitness but not those whose mobility may be impaired. The trail is not suitable for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs.

The majority of the trail is over natural trodden ground and involves a number of steep inclines and descents with severe adverse cambers. Conditions under foot can be slippery and prone to standing water particularly in low lying parts of the reserve. The pathway can be very narrow in places.

There are some man made steps constructed into the hillside along the route and a bridge over “Gunners Pool”, which is a very steep gorge, protected by guardrails to either side.

The trail has good signage along its way indicated by a Red Squirrel symbols on signposts. There are limited seating areas on the route mainly concentrated in the last 2 kilometres of the walk.

Customers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and clothing particularly during or after periods of adverse weather.

Access Symbols Explained:


  • Assistance dogs welcome Assistance Dogs
  • Customer toilet facilities We provide customer toilets.
  • Accessible toilets We have fully accessible toilets installed at our premises.
  • Customer parking facilities We provide customer car parking.

Castle Eden Dene Reserve and Car Park
Castle Eden Dene Reserve and Car Park

Natural England Signage
Natural England Signage

Touch Screen at the Oakerside Dene Lodge
Touch Screen at the Oakerside Dene Lodge

Red Squirrel Trail
Red Squirrel Trail

Scene from Gunners Pool Bridge
Scene from Gunners Pool Bridge

Seating along the route
Seating along the route

View across the Dene
View across the Dene

Boardwalk along the Yew Tree Trail
Boardwalk along the Yew Tree Trail

Scenic View from the Yew Tree Trail
Scenic View from the Yew Tree Trail

Yew Tree Trail
Yew Tree Trail