Walk 3 – Holywell Dene and Old Hartley

Walking trail

A 5-mile (8km) self-guided walk taking in the points of interest around Holywell Dene and Old Hartley, including the history of the local area, the Delaval family, and Seaton Delaval Hall.

Seaton Sluice harbour, Northumberland


Map route for Walk 3 Holywell Dene and Old Hartley


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. Retrace your steps back to the main road and turn left to walk up the Avenue towards Seaton Delaval.

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Turn left at the first junction (signposted 'Public Bridleway' 'Holywell Dene') into Harbord Terrace. Go to the lane end, round the metal gate, and straight ahead between fields then through a kissing gate and onwards. To the left you can see the obelisk which is a landscape feature of the hall's pleasure grounds and would be a focal point for the Delavals and their guests to walk to when the weather was fine (today it's on private farmland and is not accessible). The fields are called after the Dairy House Farm and Pit, which were in the hummocky area with several gorse bushes just before the next metal gate with a wooden bypass. Carry straight on along the bridleway (signpost on right) to reach the wooded Holywell Dene.

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Go through the gate and turn left on to the bridleway. After a short distance on the opposite side of the dene was the site of the Hartley Engine House, birthplace in 1756 of Willie Carr, the 'Hartley Samson'. Walk past Hartley West Farm on your left. Stay on the main path. In the vegetation to the left is a fragment of wall, part of Hartley Mill. When you reach the lower path bear left and ignore the first path to the right. At the fork in the path, either go left then through the gate and turn right down the farm road, or go right down the steps, through the squeeze style to walk beside the burn and across a grassy area to the stile on the same farm road. Cross the stone bridge and follow the tarmac road to reach Hartley Lane. Turn left and follow the road passing, on your right, the remains of the bridge abutments of the 1914 railway line (never used) from Monkseaton to Seaton Sluice, to reach the roundabout on the main road.

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Carefully go straight across the main road to reach the mid 18th-century Delaval Arms. Keeping the Delaval Arms on your left, proceed straight ahead. As you continue you pass what was Old Hartley's village green. Go down the road to the car park on the cliff edge.

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Turn left along the cliff-top footpath with the sea to your right. Just past the caravan site notice Fort House. Walk around Crag Point and arc right on to the cliff top path. In the bay is a sandstone pinnacle known as Charlie's Garden. It is named after the man who cultivated the top before the sea eroded the rocks joining it to the land. It is not a sea stack but the result of 19th-century quarrying. Turn right along Collywell Bay Road and when the road curves left go straight on along West Terrace with the First World War Memorial Garden on your left; in there are a war memorial and toilets. At the end of West Terrace is the 18th-century Kings Arms pub. Opposite it find the iron pivot of an earlier swivelling footbridge which spanned The Cut; the pivot is set onto the base of the Harbour Master’s shelter.

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Cross the footbridge if you'd like to explore Rocky Island. Retrace your steps to the old bridge pivot. Ahead of you across the Memorial Garden is the Waterford Arms. Turn right down stairs to the harbour, signposted Holywell Dene. Over the harbour is Sandy Island, created by dumping ballast from ships.

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Walk along the side of the harbour, turn to cross the small metal bridge. Then turn left and down a short flight of steps to pass under the road bridge and continue half right to reach the bungalows on Seaburn Grove. Bear right in front of the bungalows.


At the roundabout turn left and stay on the footpath all the way back to Seaton Delaval Hall. As you climb, notice the old wall on your left topped by slag, which is a waste product of glass making. Beyond the wall lay Lord Delaval's deer park, and above that his hare park. On your right, notice Lookout Farmhouse built in 1721 and used as a lookout post in time of war. Opposite it you may be able to glimpse the Mausoleum. 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.

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Seaton Delaval Hall main gates, grid ref: NZ321766

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Walk 3 – Holywell Dene and Old Hartley


Flat walking on public paths and pavements, may be muddy in places, some steps and also need to cross a main road busy with traffic.

Walk 3 – Holywell Dene and Old Hartley

Contact us

Walk 3 – Holywell Dene and Old Hartley

How to get here

Seaton Delaval Hall, The Avenue, Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, NE26 4QR
By train

West Monkseaton Metro 3 miles (5km).

By road

A190 passes, linking to A193 coast road and A19; 5 miles (8km) from A1.

By foot

Network of footpaths: Seaton Sluice (¾ mile/1.2km), Seaton Delaval (1 mile/1.6km), Blyth and North Tyneside.

By ferry

North Shields Ferry Terminal 8 miles (13km).

By bus

Services from Newcastle centre to Blyth every 30 minutes, stopping at Seaton Delaval Hall (connects with services to Whitley Bay and North Tyneside).

By bicycle

National Cycle Network route 1, cycle paths to local towns, villages, old mining waggonways, coastal paths.

Walk 3 – Holywell Dene and Old Hartley

Facilities and access

  • There are toilets and refreshments available at Seaton Delaval Hall, ideal for before and/ or after