Turning the Tide Project:1996 – 2000
All of the pits in County Durham were closed; the last to close being Easington Colliery in 1993. The Turning the Tide Project was a £10million programme of environmental improvements which restored 12 miles of the Durham coast. It removed the pit head workings and landscaped the pit sites, removed the aerial flights from the beaches, removed 1.3million tonnes of spoil from the coast and created 20km of coastal footpaths. Once spoil from the collieries was no longer being dumped at the tideline; the action of the sea also did a lot to clean up the beaches. So called ‘minestone’ near to the cliffs has proved more resistant to the tides.
The National Trust bought the coastal strip and White Lea Farm at Easington Colliery and aided this work by restoring some of the agricultural and former pit land into natural grassland and encouraging the growth of wild flowers and maintaining footpaths. The coastline is unique in that it is the only part of the British coast which is magnesian limestone.
District of Easington’s Settlement Renewal Initiative (SRI) aimed to undertake regeneration of the village whose buildings and infrastructure were ageing. Other projects have been aimed at unemployment and antisocial behaviour.
Durham Heritage Coast Project follows on from the Turning the Tide Project: Most of the coast is designated a National Nature Reserve and there are several sites of ‘Special Site of Scientific Interest’, one of these being Warren House Gill. The coastline now has stunning scenery while footpaths and amenities for walkers continue improve.
This information was taken from many sources. Special thanks to (in alphabetical order) Denis Allison, Anne Crute and Susan Skirving.