What is it about something that makes you just stop and have to take the photo? I’m not sure, but this little guy and his crab friend have it. I was heading into our railway station when the mural caught my eye. I’ve created a small square to fit Becky’s challenge, In the Pink. It’s such a very nice representation of Hartlepool Headland, with its pastel houses. Below you can see the whole. Am I pushing my luck to say Small is Beautiful?
Walking home after a lovely lunchtime with a good friend, I was full of Christmas cheer. The sky was a blaze of fire but the chill was nipping at my toes. As the Christmas lights came on in our town centre, I just had to stand a little while and admire.
Paula has chosen a spectacular way to say ‘farewell’ to the Thursday Special until the New Year. If you like a bit of drama too, that’s the place to be.
I really shouldn’t be here this evening but today I found a “must share”. The ‘Follow the Herring’ exhibition of knitting and crafts is travelling down the east coast of England and today I caught a preview in Hartlepool Art Gallery.
How do you knit a coat for a boat? The coble boat, made by the North East Maritime Trust, will be at the centre of each exhibition, brought to life with locally made artwork.
A travelling show, ‘Get up and Tie your Fingers’, uses the background of the 1881 Eyemouth Fishing Disaster to tell the story of the ‘herring lassies’ who followed the fishing fleets down the coast to meet the catch at each port of call. With knives at the ready and strips of cloths tied around their thumbs and forefingers to protect from the blades, they gutted, salted, and barrelled the ‘silver darlings’, the bountiful herring that were destined for markets across the world. Sometimes at the cost of their menfolk’s lives.
A wooden ‘wave’ has been constructed and at each venue a section of local handiwork is added. The exhibition set off from Musselburgh in Scotland and the shoal will be beautifully and creatively increased by the time it reaches Hastings on 3rd July.
More details about the exhibition and the show can be found on this link to The Customs House.
An amazing collection of work, isn’t it? You can even download a ‘Follow the herring’ knitting pattern and join in on the website.
I probably won’t be able to respond to many of your comments until I return from the Algarve next week. The laptop is going into rehab, but I thought that this was a nice way to leave you.
This week I’m going to take you for a simple little stroll from Hart Village, through Nesbitt Dene and back again. Hart is only 2km north of Hartlepool, and if I’m not walking on a beach, the chances are I’ll be somewhere near this village. It’s not very big, but has 2 pubs, a village hall (where I do t’ai chi on Wednesday mornings) and a lovely little church. More of this later. Time to put on the walking shoes.
From the main street, a public footpath sign directs you through a gap in the housing, down to a little stream and round to St. Mary Magdalene’s Church. Sometimes it’s open and you can take a look inside, but if the sky is blue we’ll keep on striding. A right turn onto Butts Lane will lead you out of the village, towards farm land. You’ll usually pass a nosy sheep or two on the way.
The road heads gently up an incline, and you should carry on until you see Thorpe Bulmer Farm ahead of you. It’s a large white building and not easy to miss. When you reach the farm a path splits off to the left, taking you around the side of the farm to the lovely view in the top picture.
I was surprised by the bright yellow of the seats by the duck pond. Last year they were a more soothing duck egg blue. Either way, the ducks don’t seem to mind, and wouldn’t it be a nice spot to recline? But not for us! We’re going to the woods.
Following the path to the side of the farm, you very soon come to the woods, on your right. There are a number of paths leading through them, crossing a little stream, and back out again. Take the steps down and over the bridge, then continue straight ahead.
Emerging from the dene you will see Nesbitt Hall across the fields ahead of you. It is a Grade ll listed building, dating from 1697. Keep it on your left hand side and follow the edge of the field.
Not good for pollen sufferers, I’m afraid! Take the path to your right, away from the Hall, and continue downhill, back into Nesbitt Dene and the woods.
Then you are climbing back out of the dene and retracing your steps to Hart Village. Here you might want to linger in the churchyard. Or try one of the village pubs. I can personally recommend ‘The White Hart’. If you have driven to the village there is a car park conveniently beside the church, signed Butts Lane.
I can guarantee you peace for a week or so, because I’m heading off to Poland tomorrow. I hope to have time to respond to your comments before I go, but if I miss anyone, my apologies in advance. I’m hoping you’ll join in and share a favourite walk with me. If not this week, then maybe when I return? You have a little extra ‘think time’.
As usual, you can leave a link to your walk post in my comments, or you can link back to me from the post. I really don’t mind, and any day of the week will do. It would be lovely to have some walks to cheer me up when I return. I’ll try to entertain you with a Polish walk in exchange. Seem fair? Great! I’ll see you then. Take care in the meantime!
Just got time for some shares before I go. Don’t miss Amy’s lovely River Walk :
And Yvette, being zany 🙂
And you simply can’t miss Sonel taking a Mantis for a walk, in her own inimitable style!
Bluebell woods, anyone? Thanks, Elaine!
I’ve been promising this particular walk for quite a long time. I hope you like it!
The Hartlepool Story Trail follows a sequence of 18 signs, crowned by a monkey. You’ll see why later. It traces the history of Hartlepool back to AD640, highlighting local landmarks along the way.
It’s a walk that I often do, paying no particular attention to the signs because my eyes are focussed on the sea. Hartlepool’s history is irretrievably mixed with the maritime and the walk starts midway along the promenade. Why, I really don’t know!
It will be fairly obvious, I think, that I took some of these photos on different days. The sea is always a magnet to me, whether it’s thundering against the sea walls or softly licking the shore.
This point marks the north eastern end of the town wall. The ‘Fairy Coves’ were man-made circular excavations, 5 metres in diameter, about 12 feet above the shore, and intended as ‘places of concealment’ for humans.
- The bandstand still exists, though in rather dilapidated condition. Gone are the days when it witnessed street theatre, boxing matches and even motor bike racing time trials. Elephant Rock, sadly, is no more, but there are still numerous smaller stacks along the shoreline.
The first lighthouse on this site dates from 1847 and was one of the world’s first to be operated by gas. It was dismantled during the First World War because its position prevented retaliatory fire from the Heugh Gun Battery, in the Bombardment of Hartlepool on 16th December, 1914.
You may have noticed the darkening sky, and my wonky photo, above. Rounding the lighthouse one day last week, I was met by a storm of hailstones, and this! Happily I wore a waterproof.
As the sea lashed the promenade, I made a dash for the next sign, no.6- Cliff Terrace.
No. 7, just off the seafront and a little more sheltered, rather strangely comes in two parts- ‘a’ and ‘b’. Billy Purvis, the subject of 7a and something of a jester, is buried in the grounds of nearby St. Hilda’s Church.
So far this year, there’s been no snow in the north east. Hush! Don’t even think about it. Neither has it been paddling pool weather, but that’s where we’re going next.
As the sign says, we once boasted a handsome paddling pool set into the rocks beneath this promenade. I dimly remember it from my childhood, but in 1953 a tremendous storm hit the north east coast, and the damage was irreparable. There is a much tamer version of the paddling pool set into the lower promenade, and it continues to delight small persons in Summer.
Unthinkable that we could have a town without a lifeboat, and one has been in existence since 1803. The first cost just £300 to build locally, and was propelled by 10 oars.
This is a crucial sign, and the one I started this post with, seen here on a hazy summer’s day. The sign includes the tale of the monkey-hanging, which no self-respecting Hartlepudlian can fail to know, though it doesn’t reflect well on us. Allegedly, during the Napoleonic Wars, a severe storm hit a French vessel off the coast of Hartlepool. Following the wreck of the ship a sole survivor, a nautically attired monkey, was washed ashore on the Fish Sands. Being unfamiliar with monkeys and naturally suspicious of the French, the people of Hartlepool decided to hang this “Frenchman” as a spy, and have been trying to live it down ever since.
The Croft Gardens now sit below St. Hilda’s Church (but beside Verrill’s Chip Shop- another famous landmark!) This was the site of the former old town, which was demolished in 1938.
Amazing to think that our pretty Town Wall, which has often been admired as my former header, has stood firm against elements and enemies since 1322. ‘Chalybeate Spring’ was a thriving Health Spa, said to cure indigestion and other ailments. Must have been the bracing sea air!
Sadly I don’t remember the ferry, which stopped running in 1952, but I well remember Middleton and the dockland area.
The alert amongst you may have noticed a leap in the signs. No. 13 is absent because I simply couldn’t find it! Having got this far, in spite of inclement weather, I decided to terminate the walk. I already have more information than you can readily digest and I don’t want to bore.
If you are interested and stop to read every one of the signs, the walk will take you no more than an hour or two. There’s a map at the bottom of each sign so you can’t get lost. On a nice day there are plenty of spots to linger and just watch the sea, and the boats heading for harbour. If it rains I could recommend you to Mary Rowntree’s tearooms. A former chapel, it has been beautifully converted, and you will pass it on your route. Or you may be lucky enough to find St. Hilda’s open, and step inside. For background history, if you can’t get here, this is an excellent article.
So what did you think of this week’s walk? And, more importantly, do you have a walk you’d like to share with me? If you do, I’d be delighted if you could leave a link in the comments below. Or even link back to me from your post, if it’s a new one. I look forward to an evening’s reading.
You can join in too!
First of all I need to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of the people who joined in on my Monday walk last week. I was so happy with the response I got that I really can’t wait to do it again. Let’s take the walk first, shall we, and I’ll explain a little more later.
This is another local walk, and probably comes in the ‘ugly’ category. I can’t just show you pretty pictures can I? It wouldn’t be truthful, or fair to the area. Crimdon lies just north of Hartlepool, on the north east coast of England. It is one of my childhood beaches. A day trip to Crimdon was exciting in those days! To this day, a caravan park sits atop the beach, and you can wander through it playing the ‘I’d like this one’ game. Front facing the sea, naturally.
But I’m getting away from the subject. This is a circular walk which includes the beach and Crimdon Dene. Our start point is the cliff top car park.
As you can see, it’s part of the Durham Coastal footpath, very easily accessible and with some excellent cliff top walking. Hartlepool was once a part of Durham County, but that is history.
With the tide out, you can walk right along this beach to Hartlepool. In the distance you can still see the disused pier that is all that is left of a former magnesium works. In Summer you might observe protective fencing along the dunes, where a nesting colony of Little Terns make their home for 4 months every year. They spend Winter in West Africa, lucky things!
But today we are going into Crimdon Dene. A wooded valley cutting through cliffs of magnesium limestone, it forms the boundary with County Durham. The Dene’s dominant landmark is the lofty railway viaduct, completed in 1905, over which the north coast railway service periodically rattles. I remember being hugely excited by it when I was small.
A steepish climb will bring you back up to the cliff top car park. The distance is little more than 2 miles but you can extend it as far along the beach as you wish. There are no facilities as the club house on the caravan park is ‘members only’. Hard to believe that back in the 50s this was a thriving resort. A Six word Saturday post from about this time last year will show you the area from a slightly different (and sunnier) aspect.
And now it’s your turn! Last week I suggested that I would love to hear about walks in your area. I can never cover as much ground as I’d like to, so I would really appreciate sitting back in my armchair for a virtual walk around your neighbourhood. If you have a post about a favourite walk that you’d like to share, please leave a link in my comments box. You can do this any day of the week, and it can be a full walk or just a few photos- I’ll be delighted either way.
In return I will tweet or post it on Facebook for those of you who use social media. I usually share when I like a post anyway, but sometimes I forget. Age, you know! I don’t know if you’ve found my Restlessjo page on Facebook, but I’d love to see you there. Happy walking!
Jake has asked the question this week- how do you like to travel? You might have noticed that I’m very partial to boats- all shapes and sizes. How about you? The last five shots were taken when the Tall Ships Race came to Hartlepool in 2010. My lovely friend Viveka admired them but it wasn’t a bright day and one of them needed a hint of brightening up. She was kind enough to do it for me, unasked. Isn’t that what friends are for? I think my husband may have taken some of the Tall Ships. My memory’s not so good these days! But I do remember to join Jake in his Sunday Post challenge whenever I can. The subject this week is Transport. Come take a look!