Walk 1 – Wagonway
This is a self-guided walk around the wider estate of Seaton Delaval Hall, incorporating local points of interest and historical facts about the Delaval family and the hall.
This walk follows the Old Wagonway to the south of the hall, providing a magnificent view of the estate.
Seaton Delaval Hall main gates, grid ref: NZ321766
Leave Seaton Delaval Hall by the main gates, turn left on the footpath and follow the estate wall around the bend as far as the gates to the grounds of the Church of Our Lady and its secluded graveyard (open Summer only - Fridays 11:00 to 4:00, Sundays 2:00 to 4:00). Retrace your steps back to the main road and turn left to walk up the Avenue towards Seaton Delaval.
Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady was built by the Normans, and is more than 1,000 years old.
Turn left at the first junction (signposted 'Public Bridleway') into Harbord Terrace. Go to the lane end and continue straight ahead between fields. There are lovely views across to the left where you can see the Mausoleum and the Obelisk. The fields are known as 'The Dairy House Fields' and before you reach the second iron gate there are traces of the Dairy House Farm on the right-hand side with the duck pond on the left. A short distance further on and you can see on your left traces of the former Nightingale Pit.
Harbord Terrace, named after Elizabeth Evelyn Harbord, the wife of the 20th Lord Hastings, was built in the late 19th century for estate workers, the first cottage being the blacksmiths.
Go through the iron gate and immediately turn left down the wide grassy track, this is the Old Wagonway. On your left, as you walk along the Wagonway, is a magnificent view of the Seaton Delaval Hall and you can see the South Front steps where Sir Francis Blake Delaval fell and broke his leg, from which he subsequently died in December 1752. The Obelisk you can see is a landscape feature of the Hall Pleasure Grounds and would be a focal point for the Delavals and their guests to walk to when the weather was fine. The wagonway was used to carry the coal from the various mines in the area to Seaton Sluice, either for export or for the industry there.
Cross the stile at the iron gate and continue on the path with a hawthorn hedge on either side; you then come to a steep descent over a stile on the left and down a series of steps. You are now in part of Holywell Dene (in Saxon times known as Merkell Dene). At the bottom of the steps, on the right-hand side, you can see the foundation stones of a timber viaduct built to carry the wagonway over the Seaton Burn.
Turn right and cross Seaton Burn using the metal bridge, turn immediately left on the path, keeping the burn on your left-hand side. On the left can be seen the remains of Starlight Castle, said to have been built within 24 hours by Sir Francis Blake Delaval for a wager of 100 guineas. After a short distance further, on the left-hand side of the burn, are two 18th-century cottages and the site of Seaton Lodge, a large Jacobean house bought in 1694 by Sir Ralph Delaval and lived in by his brother Sir John Delaval. It was Sir John Delaval who sold most of the estate to Admiral George Delaval. Samuel Pepys is said to have stayed here in 1672 and, six years later, the Scottish inventor James Watt. The Lodge was demolished in the 1960’s. Opposite, in the burn at low tide, can be seen the foundation stones of a footbridge used by the Delavals to reach the works complex in the now quiet and peaceful Seaton Sluice.
Continue around the burn side and under the road bridge, pause and then contemplate the scene in front of you. It is difficult to imagine that in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries Seaton Sluice was a major exporter of coal, salt and glass bottles. In 1777 the following were exported from this port: 80,000 tons of coal, 300 tons of salt and 1.75 million glass bottles.
Seaton Sluice harbour
The 'cut' was created by the Delaval family to create a harbour.
Retrace your steps (do not go under the road bridge) but turn right and down the short flight of steps to cross over the metal footbridge. Then turn left to pass under the road bridge and continue half right to reach the street of bungalows (Seaburn Grove), bear right in front of the bungalows.
At the roundabout turn left and stay on the footpath all the way back to the Hall. On your way, on your right, you pass the 18th-century farmhouse Lookout Farm, used during the Napoleonic War as a look out post. Opposite is another view of the Mausoleum, built in 1777 by Sir John Hussey Delaval for his son John, who died in 1776 aged 19. The Mausoleum was never consecrated and John is buried at Doddington, Lincolnshire. Further on you may also see, over the wall, the Orangery and the houses previously used by the garden employees. You will then reach your original starting point at the main gates of the Hall.
Seaton Delaval Hall main gates, grid ref: NZ321766
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