12 great places for Autumn family walks in and around Sunderland - as chosen by you
With a chill in the air and darker nights on the way, we asked you – the Sunderland Echo readers – to reveal your favourite autumnal walking spots in Wearside and beyond.
And you took to our Facebook page to share the best places in and around Sunderland to enjoy some fresh air with the family.
From our beautiful coastline and riverside to further afield, here are some of your top picks for places to enjoy the great outdoors and get that step count up!
Thanks to everyone who shared a suggestion on the Echo’s Facebook page.
*Backhouse Park – Thomas William Backhouse gifted the park, formerly Ashburne Park, to the Corporation of Sunderland in 1922 who renamed it in his honour.
It is overlooked by the Grade II-listed Ashburne House.
*Castle Eden Dene – A Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve just a few minutes off the A19 at Peterlee, the Dene is one of a series of deep Magnesian Limestone ravines in the area.
The Squirrel Walk will take up to two hours but isn’t suitable for everyone with mobility problems. Click here for a map.
*Cleadon Hills – Just off Sunniside Lane, rugged landscape provides the perfect setting for a bracing trek or a gentle stroll.
Check out the Cleadon Windmill and Water Tower and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Exmoor ponies.
*Coastal path from Roker to South Shields – Grab a coffee from Fausto, then head north on the promenade and through Roker Park, then along the stunning Seaburn Beach.
Highlights on the way to Shields include Marsden Grotto and the wonderful Souter Lighthouse.
*Fatfield Riverside leading to Cox Green – A pleasant walk alongside the Wear, passing under the historic Victorian Viaduct.
The river is tidal here, ensuring a range of wildlife, especially birds and even seals, if you’re really lucky.
*Herrington Country Park – Once the site of Herrington Colliery, since the pit’s closure in 1985 the colliery waste heap has been landscaped to create a hugely popular facility for the city.
Highlights include paths, ponds and stunning views of Penshaw Monument.
*Hylton Riverside – The path takes you past the Stadium of Light and then down onto the riverside. The highlight is the chance to walk under the stunning Northern Spire bridge.
*The Seven Sisters at Houghton – The Seven Sisters were originally a group of seven Beech trees standing guard over Houghton from on top of the Copt Hill Barrow. There may actually only be Six Sisters left now, but it’s still a spot that offers stunning views of the surrounding coalfield towns.
*From Sunderland city centre to the National Glass Centre – Head out across Wearmouth Bridge, then follow the road as it curves down to the riverside for round one mile and you’ll reach the Glass Centre. Look out for some of the stunning artworks forming the Sunderland Sculpture Trail and extend the route around the Marina which is less than a mile from the Glass Centre.
*Tunstall Hills – The site of Sunderland’s Easter Walk, the site is a glorious expanse of countryside in the very heart of Sunderland. Click here to download an information booklet.
*Hawthorn Dene, Durham – The second largest coastal Dene in the county, with a number of walking trails for you to enjoy. Make sure you take your wellies – it can get a bit muddy! Click here to find out more.
*Hetton Lyons Country Park – Come rain or shine, there are plenty of picturesque views to enjoy on your trip to the park. Visit the Facebook page here.