New summer bus service launched to boost heritage coast visitor numbers

GEARING UP: Durham Heritage Coast nature and tourism project officer Louise Harrington.
GEARING UP: Durham Heritage Coast nature and tourism project officer Louise Harrington.
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VISITORS to coastal beauty spots can take a ‘tern’ on a new bus service.

Transport is being laid on during the weekends throughout the summer to improve access to the Durham Heritage Coast.

The Little Tern Coastal Bus is named after the area’s most famous feathered visitors.

It will be free for anyone to use, thanks to funding from Leader, part of the Rural Development Programme for England.

Drivers from East Durham Community Transport will operate the service and provide information on the coast, while passengers will be offered the chance to complete a questionnaire which will help improve services for future visits.

Niall Benson, Durham Heritage Coast Officer, said: “We’re really pleased to have funding for this new bus service. It will hopefully encourage even more people to explore this fascinating stretch of coastline.

“Travelling by bus is a very green and convenient way to get around, and it means walkers, including their dogs, can jump on and off, depending on how far they want to go.

“We’re launching the new service on Saturday, May 25.

“That’s the same day as our Low Tide Community event at Seaham, which will be a fantastic occasion for local people, families and visitors alike.

“For us, it will feel like the official start of Durham Heritage Coast’s summer.”

Durham Heritage Coast runs from Salterfen Rocks, near Ryhope, to Crimdon Beck, covering some of the most dramatic coastline in the North.

Each May it welcomes a breeding colony of little terns, one of Britain’s rarest seabirds.

Niall added: “We don’t envisage many of our visitors will travel as far as the little terns do each year, and it seemed right to name the new bus after them.”

The bus service will run every weekend until September 1.

The route begins at Ryhope Dene, with stops at Seaham, Nose’s Point in Dawdon, Cold Hesledon, Hawthorn, Easington Village, Easington Colliery, Horden, Blackhall and Crimdon.

The service starts at 9.20am from Ryhope Dene and the last bus arrives back at 5.58pm. For details, call 03000 268131.