GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Castle Eden Dene

3 miles (5 km)

Enjoy miles of woodland trails, pretty streams, rushing waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife in this splendid nature reserve in Peterlee. The reserve is the largest area of semi-natural woodland in north-east England. There are well surfaced trails running along the pretty Castle Eden Burn and through the atmospheric gorge.
There are two waymarked nature trails to try. The Yew trail runs for 2 miles following the Yew markers. On this trail you'll pass the reserve's majectic Yews and climb Craggy Bank where you can look out for nuthatches and goldcrests. The Squirrel trail also runs for about 2 miles following the squirrel markers.
The reserve contains over 450 species of plant including wild garlic (ransoms) with their distintive aroma, pretty yellow primroses, lily-of-the-valley and bird's-nest orchid. In the spring months there are also carpets of bluebells to admire. It's great for wildlife too. Look out for roe deer, foxes and numerous different types of bird as you make your way along the trails.
You can start your walk from the car park on Stanhope Chase. National Cycle Network Route 1 passes through Peterlee and close to the reserve if you would like to visit by bike. Please note that cycling is not permitted within the reserve though.
This walk starts at the Stanhope Chase car park and explores the western section of the reserve. You can head east and walk all the way to the coast where you can pick up the Durham Coastal Footpath.
To extend your walking in the area you can pick up the Castle Eden Walkway and follow the disused railway line to the lovely Wynyard Woodland Park.
If you follow the coast path north towards Seaham you could visit the lovely Hawthorn Dene Nature Reserve. The coastal reserve has more nice woodland trails and interesting flora and fauna.


SR8 1NJ - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Castle Eden Dene OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Castle Eden Dene Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


Try the nearby Castle Eden Inn for some post walk refreshments. It's located just to the south of the reserve in the village of Castle Eden. They do very good food and also have two beer gardens where you can sit outside on warmer days. It's a welcoming place with a cosy atmosphere and is also dog friendly. You can find it on Stockton Rd with a postcode of TS27 4SD for your sat navs.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

Hurworth Burn Reservoir is located just south of the reserve on the Castle Eden Walkway. It's a lovely place for a peaceful stroll with lots of wildlife to see and a good circular trail running around the perimeter.
Head a few miles north and there's Hetton Lyons Country Park to explore. There's a fine lakeside cycling and walking trail here with good facilities including watersports and a cafe.
On the western side of the reserve you can pick up National Cycle Route 14 and the Haswell to Hart Countryside Walkway. The multi-user trail uses the trackbed of a disused railway line to travel between the two old stations.
For more walking ideas in the area see the County Durham Walks page.


Information board at entrance to Castle Eden Dene - - 1473198

Information board at entrance to Castle Eden Dene The board reads: Castle Eden Dene is the largest of eight very deep valleys, or denes which cut spectacularly into the gently rolling countryside of Eastern County Durham and run to the North Sea coast. Because of the comparative inaccessibility of the steep wooded valley sides, the denes have escaped clearance for agriculture, leaving them as precious remnants of ancient woodland. The combination of landscape and unusual soils formed in the magnesian limestone has created a variety of habitats within the denes and these have become home to a remarkable range of wildlife, particularly flowers and insects. Today the site is managed for the benefit of the unique wildlife that thrives here as well as for the thousands of people who visit each year.

Garden of Eden Bridge, Castle Eden Dene - - 1582907

Garden of Eden Bridge, Castle Eden Dene

Limestone cliffs, Castle Eden Dene - - 282938

Limestone cliffs, Castle Eden Dene

Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve - - 1584474

Castle Eden Dene is the largest area of semi-natural woodland in north-east England, renowned for its yew trees. The tangled landscape is a survivor of the wildwood that once covered most of Britain. The Dene, with its strange rocks and mysterious atmosphere, has fascinated people for thousands of years. The reserve covers 221 hectares of woodland and lowland grassland, where post-glacial melt waters have carved out some spectacular limestone cliffs and gorges

Gunners Pool Bridge, Castle Eden Dene

Gunners Pool Bridge in Castle Eden Dene, County Durham, England. The bridge is one of sixteen that cross the Castle Eden Burn. It was fabricated in Hartlepool in the late 19th century for the Rev. John Burdon, whose family owned Castle Eden Dene, and is thought to have been erected in June 1877.

Castle Eden Dene Nature Reserve Office - - 282898

Castle Eden Dene Nature Reserve Office. English Nature took over the management of the Dene in 1985 and immediately designated it a National Nature Reserve.


GPS Files

GPX File

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Memory Map Route

Castle Eden Dene.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Share>Save to Files)