Running from Hart Station, on the A1086 north of Hartlepool, through Hesleden and past Shotton Colliery to Haswell, this fine railway path offers good views of the coast and the Cleveland Hills. The Walkway was once a railway line designed by George Stephenson to take coal from the Durham coal fields to the docks in Hartlepool, where the coal was then distributed throughout the world.
The line streches from Hart Station in the south to Haswell in the north, with the walkway forming the first mile of the line. There are ever more links in the network of traffic-free paths in this part of the world for example from South Hetton north to Seaham or Ryhope and south from Wingate along the Wynyard Woodland Park (Castle Eden Walkway) to Stockton.
Today, the Hart to Haswell Walkway has been developed into one of the most diverse and beautiful Local Nature Reserves in the area. The thin lime-rich soil enables a species rich meadow to flourish. The former railway cuttings provide sheltered environments and have been developed into grassland glades which attract many species of butterfly including the Common Blue and Dingy Skipper.
The site also has several ponds and some of the most substantial mature deciduous woodland in Hartlepool which provide a home to many insects, amphibians, birds and mammals.
This wildlife haven is a magnet for cyclists and walkers and is an important link in the Sustrans National Cycle Network which provides cyclists with a safe off-road travel route through beautiful coutryside to South Shields. The site provides a flat surfaced track suitable for wheelchairs and for those on foot to Nesbitt and Castle Eden Denes and the smalll village of Monk Hesleden.
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