Celebration of the seaside to give families a week of free fun

People enjoying a day out on the Heritage Coast at a previous Reach for the Beach event.
People enjoying a day out on the Heritage Coast at a previous Reach for the Beach event.
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A week filled with free activities - from dog health checks to sea glass searching - has been lined up for the half term break on the Heritage Coast.

The events will be hosted from Sunderland town to Hartlepool as part of the Reach for the Beach is an outdoor festival.

Niall Benson, heritage coast officer.

Niall Benson, heritage coast officer.

It will run from Saturday, May 27, to Sunday, June 4, and help families make the most of the school holiday and to encourage more local people and visitors of all ages to appreciate the coastline.

This is the second annual Reach for the Beach festival and more than 30 organisations are involved in delivering more than 50 activities, at locations from Sunderland to North Gare, and both on and off-shore.

Activities include guided walks, arts and crafts, bike rides, litter picks, kite making, opportunities to learn about geology and wildlife, dog health checks and park fun days.

New activities this year include the Easington Colliery Sea Glass Safari, which is an opportunity to find sea glass and create an illuminated keepsake with the help of artist, Stuart Langley.

There are also Reach for the Beach activities on the water, with paddle board taster sessions in Seaham Marina.

Freelance travel writer, Paul Steele, is founder and editor of BaldHiker.com and he is helping conduct several walks, including the eight-mile Fairy Flax to Andy Capp - a Crimdon to Hartlepool Headland circular walk.

Paul said: “I’m relatively new to this area and walked from the Wear to the Tees recently.

“That really opened my eyes to what is, for me, an undiscovered gem in the UK coastline. There’s so much to enjoy here and it’s incredibly peaceful.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts about the area and hearing more from local people on our Reach for the Beach walks. And I think new visitors will be as impressed as I’ve been.”

All of the sporting, creative, environmental and heritage-based activities are completely free of charge and Niall Benson from the Heritage Coast Partnership is hoping the festival will be extremely popular.

Niall said: “Working together with other organisations, we’ve been able to ensure we have activities that will appeal to all age groups and we’re confident there is something for absolutely everyone to enjoy.

“There’s a Toddle Round the Dene on International Children’s Day and a 25 mile River to River Walk, and any amount of varied activities in between the two extremes.

“This coastline is very special and we’re, rightly, proud of it.

"Reach for the Beach is our way of attracting more people here over the half-term to find out for themselves why this area is becoming more popular with visitors every year.

“We’re grateful to all the organisations who have helped create Reach for the Beach. It’s glorious out there and we all want people to get outside and enjoy it.”

More details are available online here and leaflets are available from community centres, libraries shops and across the area.

Advance booking is required for some activities and they are all free of charge.

The Heritage Coast runs from Salterfen Rocks, near Ryhope in the north, to Crimdon Beck in the south.

It encompasses some of the most dramatic coast line in the North and is home each May to a breeding colony of Little Terns, one of Britain’s rarest sea birds.