South Hylton to River Wear to South Hylton (8.5 miles)
- Nearest metro:
- Disabled access
Leave South Hylton Metro station, cross over the road at the pedestrian lights, with the Hycroft pub on your right and go straight ahead through the metal barrier. Proceed along the broad path that was once a continuation of the railway line, until you reach another metal barrier just before a tunnel under the main road (A19). Turn right and follow the track as it descends between the main road and the houses, ignoring any paths off. At the road junction with the River Wear ahead, turn right and walk some 75 yards to a clearing opposite The Golden Lion. Here you will find a useful information board with details of the history of this area (A).
Now retrace your steps along the riverside road and proceed straight ahead beneath the road bridge to join a stony track. You pass Riverside Lodge and go over a little footbridge as the track becomes narrower. You now need to follow the riverside path that offers a variety of terrains and surroundings. Birdwatchers should enjoy seeing an interesting selection of birds including herons, cormorants and oystercatchers. When you reach an open area with arable land, the temple-like Penshaw Monument becomes visible on your left, a landmark which will be seen at other points on the walk. You pass a golf course behind a hedgerow on your left and you will also notice a number of “James Steel Park Fitness Trail” signs (James Steel being Chairman of the Washington Development Council 1964- 77) as well as River Wear Trail waymarks. On the opposite side of the river you will see a landing stage behind which is the large enclosed area of the Washington Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre. The modern building beyond the wildfowl area contains Government offices. A bridge comes into view, you go through a kissing gate and pass a livery yard to go onto a metalled road with stables on your right. Proceed ahead a short distance to the Oddfellows Arms (limited opening times) and the adjacent information board at Cox Green. At the pub there is a road to the left that you will follow later (unless you wish to take a short-cut now and continue the walk from (D) below). To continue on the walk, proceed ahead and cross the River Wear via the footbridge near the old passenger ferry site (B).
Turn immediately left and walk a short distance to follow the river in the direction of a fingerpost “Victorian Viaduct” and a Cycleway 7 sign. In an open area on the right, a stone bears an inscription relating to the Woodland Trust. When the Cycleway 7 turns right, continue straight ahead by the riverside on the narrow path. Bear left at a junction and go through a metal barrier passing a Woodland Trust sign. As you continue ahead the viaduct comes into view. Pass under the impressive viaduct (1838) and continue ahead to join a metalled lane. After passing a row of houses, the lane meets a main road opposite the welcoming Biddick Inn, behind which is Worm Hill said to be where the legendary Lambton Worm was slain (C).
To continue on the walk, turn left, cross over the road bridge and turn immediately left down some steps. Continue ahead with the river on your left and some houses on your right. Keep by the riverside to pass the Mount Pleasant Lake and Riverside Area and an information board, You go beneath the Victorian Viaduct again and there are good views of an attractive pro p e rty on the opposite side of the river. Eventually you return to Cox Green where you turn right at The Oddfellows Arms in the direction "Coxgreen station" (D).
Climb steadily uphill on the quiet metalled road. Look out for a reminder of local industry behind the metal gates of Church House on your left. Turn left and leave the road at a “Sunderland C2C” sign, about 50 yards before a T-junction. This was an area once occupied by a station and in a short distance you join the track along the dismantled railway. Now continue along the track for about 11/2 miles to return to South Hylton Metro station and the end of the walk.