Frenchmen’s Cove

This stretch of the Durham Coast south of Seaham was once an industrial eyesore. At Nose’s Point in the distance stood Dawdon colliery where for 84 years coal was mined from deep below the North Sea and the waste spoil dumped back into the sea offshore. The result was a total devastation of the coast and marine life. The far end of the bay below  Nose’s Point had already been named Blast Beach on account of the blast furnaces built in 1862 to produce pig iron from ironstone from the Cleveland Hills, coal from Seaham and the local limestone. Although this venture was short-lived the name stuck and the original name of Frenchmen’s Cove, possibly because of smuggling of French brandy, was regulated to the southern half of the bay.

Much effort has made to clean the beach up although the sea regularly exposes evidence of the past activity. The magnesium limestone cliffs above provide a lime rich grassland with unique flora and is now under the guardianship of the National Trust.

The beach was used as a location for the 1992 science fiction film Alien 3. Here is a clip

Fishermen's Cove map

Lawns Hill

An overcast Summer Solstice with heavy rain this morning but the sun finally dropped below the clouds on setting. View from Greenhow Avenue.

Lawns Hill map

The Esk Valley at Castleton

Looking down Canting Hill from High Castleton. The Danby Court Leet is a manorial court having medieval origins. It is responsible for the Common Land of the Manor of Danby. This is the moorland, village greens, garths, enclosures and roadside verges. The Court is composed of a Jury of thirteen local men with an elected Foreman. One of their roles is to keep a Register of Common Rights which records residents Common Rights on the Common Land such as turbary (the right to cut peat) and grazing rights.

The Esk Valley at Castleton map

Barn, Weighill’s Plantation

This barn has always intrigued me. So big it’s almost out of context. Above Bilsdale Hall. The pines beyond are the last remnants of Weighill’s Plantation probably named after John Weighill who, in the 1901 census was living in Bilsdale Hall, aged 61. And in the distance is Garfit Gap, the col between Hasty Bank and Cold Moor.

Barn, Weighills Plantation map

Rawthey Valley

In the Howgills, a quiet triangle of grassy round fells between the M6 and the towns of Kirby Stephen and Sedbergh, and, since 2016, part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The River Rawthey forms the eastern boundary separating them with Baugh Fell. The photo was taken from Fawcett Bank Rigg on a climb up to Arant Haw.

SD6894 map

Cottongrass, Hutton Moor

A brilliant morning with cloudless blue skies, the moors no longer have their drab winter colours with fresh greens of bracken and bilberries. Around the moorland edges purple bell heather is in bloom. And in the damper hollows cottongrass, neither cotton nor grass, nod in the breeze, growing in profusion this year but the moors are not particularly wet.

Cottongrass, Hutton Moor map

Greenhow Botton

Foxgloves like their toes in slightly acidic soil especially if the soil has been disturbed as in this clear felling of the forestry plantation along Greenhow Bank. The latin name, Digitalis purpurea, gives a clue to the main usage of this plant, as a source for the drug digitalin, used to treat heart complaints. Across the flat valley of Greenhow Botton are Carr Ridge and White Hill with Clay Bank in between.

Greenhow Botton Map