New cafe aims to encourage more people to explore natural beauty of Castle Eden Dene
Nature explorers will be able to enjoy a slice of cake and a cuppa as a new cafe opens at a popular beauty spot.
Natural England and the National Trust are joining forces to open a cafe at Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve.
Café in the Dene will be located near the reserve’s car park at Oakerside Dene Lodge on the edge of Peterlee, and it's hoped the new venture will encourage more people to explore the area's rich natural landscape.
Brad Tooze, Northumbria area manager for Natural England, said: "Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve is special for its wildlife and geology, and just a wonderful place to enjoy a walk in the woods.
"By working in partnership with the National Trust on developing the café, we hope to encourage new visitors to come and explore this fantastic place right on their doorstep."
Eric Wilton, general manager for the National Trust’s South of Tyne property group, said: ‘We’ve worked closely with Natural England for many years, pooling resources to do nature conservation work, delivering events and improving visitor access to some fantastic parts of the local coast and countryside.
"It makes perfect sense to work together to open the café too. It’s in a brilliant location and will offer a welcoming spot for visitors to the dene.
"They’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that enjoying coffee and cake or a sandwich there will help protect a place they love."
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Café in the Dene will be open between 10am and 5pm every weekend from Saturday 27 October.
It will offer a range of hot and cold drinks, sweet and savoury snacks, cakes and light lunches, provided by the National Trust.
Profits from the café will be put towards looking after Castle Eden Dene, which is owned and managed by Natural England, and the five mile stretch of coastline between Seaham and Horden cared for by the National Trust.
At 3.5 miles (5.6km) long, Castle Eden Dene is the largest of the series of wooded valleys which run down to the coast between Sunderland and Hartlepool.
The reserve covers 221 hectares of wildlife rich woodland and grassland, limestone cliffs and gorges.
Visitors can explore via a network of walking trails, while Natural England has also created a short easy access wheelchair friendly path from the car park at Oakerside Dene Lodge.
Dogs will be welcome in the café’s outdoor seating area, situated in the wildlife garden.