Much of the Consett & Sunderland Railway Path follows the line of the former Stanhope & Tyne Railway. This was Britain’s first commercial railway, which was closed in 1985. The route itself takes you past the new Stadium of Light, along the riverside, through the marina and onto the beach at Roker.
There is plenty to visit along the route. Between Stanley and Beamish you pass the intriguingly-named Hell Hole Wood, managed by the Woodland Trust and part of the Great North Community Forest. You may spot red squirrels here.
The Beamish Open Air Museum is famous for bringing history to life. Its 19th-century manor house and early 20th-century town, colliery and railway station are well worth a visit.
Further along the ride, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Washington is a haven for overwintering migratory waterbirds and has large flocks of curlews and redshanks. Make sure you bring your binoculars.
When the route was built in the late 1990s, Sustrans commissioned artworks along the route so make sure you keep an eye out for these fantastic sculptures.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.
To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure that you follow the Towpath Code.