SeaScapes is a landscape partnership project and is the first to be focussed on the coast. The area covered is between the Tyne to the Tees rivers. The project has a wide range of partners including the four councils of Durham County Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland City Council with a range of archaeological, environmental and charitable partners including the National Trust and the Durham Wildlife Trust. There are almost 20 partners and these bring their expertise and knowledge to the project.
The project is almost £5million made up of a grant of £2,787,200 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and match funding from partners. The project will:
Deliver 23 projects that will enhance the natural, cultural and built heritage of the Durham Heritage Coast, increasing its understanding and engagement with local communities.
Enable Capital works to built heritage will be undertaken to consolidate, interpret and improve access to Hartlepool’s Harbour High Light, Red Acre Point and Sunderland’s Wave Basin Battery.
Engagement of a wide range of local audiences with the history and cultural heritage of the coast through volunteer research projects, community archaeology and accessible interpretation. Including recording local residents and their past experience of the coast and of their coastal food experiences.
Creation of volunteer groups to record biodiversity and undertake shipwreck photogrammetry, creating accessible data for enhanced future management of coastal heritage. A new PADI course in Photogrammetry has been created.
Enhance beach access at six locations, with links to existing national trails including the King Charles III England Coast Path and cycle routes. Interpretation and wayfinding installations will complement schools engagement and guided walks. At Hartlepool a new cycle and a new walking route. In other areas improvements are being made to existing pathways.
Deliver a dedicated BlueScapes engagement programme will provide activities aimed to encourage greater recreational, education and tourist use of the sea including sea-based activities including sailing and paddleboard training.
Construct a new Conservation Centre will be established at National Trust Souter site to showcase the area’s diverse heritage with a focus on marine conservation, providing space for volunteer groups and public education activities. This opened in January 2024 and will be bookable for community groups and other organisations.
Enable volunteers are being trained to monitor the coastline’s environmental health, alongside activities to reduce beach litter and raise awareness of the impact of single use plastics on the seascape. An awareness campaign with local businesses seeks to eliminate plastic pollutants at source.
Provide £41,328 Community scheme to offer a range of organisations and landowners to enhance habitats, conserve built heritage or run complimentary community projects.
The SeaScapes team includes a Delivery Manager, an Access & Volunteering Officer, 2 Durham Wildlife Trust officers and BlueScapes Officer, a Beach Care Advisor training volunteers to monitor the litter on the coastline and a Creative Producer will support art-based activities along with researchers at Newcastle University who are looking at the wrecks off our coast and the food histories along our coast.