• Kelly

Our Guide to The Durham Wildlife Trusts Hawthorn Dene Nature Reserve.

We went on a bug hunt at the gorgeous Durham Wildlife Trust Hawthorn Dene.






The reserve is a steep sided ravine that cuts through the limestone of the Durham Coast. Once owned by the Pemberton family. It even had its own railway station once.





The walk through the woods is very picturesque, with plenty to take photos of and you could also print a woodland scavenger hunt before you go to take with you and let the kiddies go wild.


The boys love being out and about in nature and this nature reserve is amazing for looking for little critters. We walked for around 2 hours around the reserve looking for bugs and other wildlife, whilst also taking in the gorgeous smells of the woods.

The smell of wild Garlic is pungent! I love the smell of wild garlic, it had been raining not long before we visited, so it was pretty muddy throughout.




I love it here, so many different types of tree, one of the games we like to play whilst out walking is to try and guess how old the trees are. We also carry a handy flip book of trees to help us identify them.


The boys splodged through the mud spotting various bugs and climbed a few trees, Elliot likes to hug the trees that he likes the look of.


The regular wildlife you can see here include Deer, woodpeckers, owls, various finches, jays,tree creeper, stoats and lots of bugs. Throughout the year you can enjoy the beautiful bluebell woods and wildflower meadows in abundance.

The boys managed to find snails, slugs, quite a few different bee species, moths, butterflies, a Wolf spider, a beautiful spider web covered in dew and an interesting cocoon. There is also a great spot near the bridge that you can get down to sit by the stream.





To get to the beach it is a pretty steep drop, if you go from the top of the cliff, or further through the woods you can slide down a steep slope which we didn't do because of the mud. Fingers crossed we can get down to the beach next time we go.

It would probably be a good idea to wear wellies or walking shoes.





Important Info

Car parking is free and to the side of the road.

No other facilities here.

Postcode SR7 8SH

Some of the path is ok for pushchairs but you will start to struggle the further in you get.

I would say it is not suitable for wheelchairs.

No shops, so I would suggest you take your own water and please take away any rubbish you may have.



Check out:

Our Guide to Rainton Meadows nature reserve HERE

A printable list of Nature activities list for kids this summer HERE

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