Exit from Seaburn Metro station, noting on your right Fulwell Windmill a distinctive landmark on the Sunderland horizon for nearly 200 years (open to visitors at certain times). Turn left and follow the B1291 passing the Windmills pub before you reach the traffic lights. Proceed ahead at the lights, then turn immediately right over Sea Road (unless you wish to visit the Sugar ‘n Spice Coffee Shop just beyond the traffic lights) to go along Fulwell Road with The Blue Bell on your right. Follow the road for about 400 yards and turn left at Side Cliff Road. Walk along this pleasant street until you arrive at the crossroads at the corner of Roker Park (not to be confused with the former Sunderland football ground). About 100 yards on the left, and well-worth visiting (Monday-Friday 9am-1pm) is St Andrew’s Church, described as the “cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement” (A).
To continue on the walk, turn right, proceed for about 100 yards and cross over the road to enter Roker Park. Follow the path through the park, passing to the left of the bandstand, to arrive at an information board at the sea
Turn right and walk along the promenade passing The Smugglers pub. The piers at the mouth of the River Wear lie ahead and after passing the first pier you soon pass the large brightly coloured Banner Belles’ Mural/Mosaic one of the many public artworks that you will find on this walk. The promenade leads to the mouth of the Wear, just beyond the Sunderland Yacht Club, where there is a Royal Bank of Scotland millennium milepost. (C).
Turn right and follow the riverside path with excellent views of the river on your left and ahead. It is difficult to imagine that this river was not very long ago the location of a thriving shipbuilding industry. The path winds its way around a marina where you will see some metal birds and some interesting stone carvings, part of the St Peter’s Riverside Sculpture Project. You pass the Marine Activities Centre where a plaque commemorates fallen members of the Royal and Merchant Navy. The Snow Goose Gift and Coffee Shop lies to the right. Just beyond the RNLI office you find further examples of public artworks. Continue by the riverside until the path comes to a dead-end at a car parking area. Climb the 58 steps away from the river and bear left to meet another path. (To avoid the steps follow the access road (Beacon Drive), turn left at the T-junction, go up the road and turn left just before the BP filling station to meet the path reached from the steps) (D).
Now follow the path as it gradually descends back towards the river. You pass a bench on your right with a railed viewing area on the left opposite the Fina oil depot. About 30 yards further on, turn right then left to detour via the sculpture The Red House. Go through the “house” to rejoin the riverside path, turn right and walk ahead. Take the lefthand fork to descend to meet the river and arrive at the National Glass Centre. You might then like to visit the Glass Centre where refreshments are also available (E).
Continue along the riverside path that soon passes some University of Sunderland buildings. The aptly named sculpture Pathways of Knowledge stands in front of The Prospect Building, opened in 1993 by the President of the European Parliament. Proceed ahead for about 100 yards towards the large metal sculpture Shadows in Another Light with Wearmouth Bridge and the adjacent rail bridge just beyond. Before reaching the sculpture, turn right onto the metalled path that climbs away from the riverside. St Peter’s Church appears ahead on the right. Proceed to a T-junction at Wearbank House, turn right and walk to a further T-junction. Cross the road and turn left to the entrance to the church grounds. An information board just beyond the gates gives a few details about the historic church of St Peter’s, first built in AD674 (open for visitors Easter to October on weekdays 2.00-4.30pm) (F).
Leave the church grounds, turn right and walk a few yards to a T-junction with a busy road (Dame Dorothy Street). Turn left and walk for about 500 yards to the traffic lights. Proceed ahead via two sets of pedestrian lights to St Peter’s Metro station and the end of the walk.