Summer Walk No 7, Holywell Dene Waggonway Walk - Sunday 17th July 2016.

        

The first afternoon walk of the Summer Programme was held on Sunday 17th July 2016 as club members gathered outside
the Melton Constable in Seaton Sluice. This public house built in 1839 was named in honour of the Astley family of Melton
Constable in Norfolk, who inherited the Delaval estates in 1814, so it was quite fitting that this should be the start of our
walk around the home of the Delavals .
A short stroll took us west to Seaton Delaval Hall, a stunning Baroque mansion house built by Sir John Vanbrugh for then
Admiral George Delaval between 1718 and 1728. Stopping for several images of the hall we then continued to the small
Church of Our Lady, tucked away in the hall grounds. Built in 1102 this Norman church was a private chapel for 800 yrs,
becoming a parish church in 1891. With the chancel, choir and nave separated by two Norman arches and the white walls
decorated with a number of large hatchments of the Delaval and Astley families, a longer more detailed future visit is recommended.
Leaving the church we headed West down The Avenue and turned left onto the bridle path. Now heading south we passed
Harbord Terrace a neat row of cottages and out into the Dairy House Fields. On a warm but cloudy day we were greeted
by several horses as we crossed pasture then open meadow, where wild flowers, butterflies and moths came the subject
of our attention. Moving on we then turned east and joined the old waggonway that was used to transport coal from the
numerous mines in the area to the harbour at Seaton Sluice. From this waggonway we had a magnificent views of the
southern aspect of Seaton Delaval Hall and of the strange obelisk, erected in memory of Sir Francis Blake Delaval. This
obelisk is a landscape feature of the hall pleasure grounds and would have been a focal point for the Delavals and their
guests.

      

Following the waggonway to Holywell Dene Nature Reserve, we dropped down to cross the Seaton Burn that flows through
the valley to the sea. Turning north we followed the path down to Seaton Sluice and it was difficult to imagine that in the
16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries this quiet seaside village was once a thriving industrial area that exported coal, salt
and glass bottles. In 1777 the following goods were recorded as exported from the port: 80,000 tons of coal, 300 tons of
salt and 1.75 million glass bottles. Walking over the site of the old bottleworks we again crossed the burn and returned to
our starting point to complete our four mile circular walk.
                                                                                Davy Bolam.