Herrington Country Park ~ March 2018~ Part 3

Part 1 HERE

Part 2 HERE

After we’d finished at the standing stones, Sophie and I made our way down the hill and went on to the next hill where there appeared to be a big rock.

The rock has square metal engravings fastened to it, as you can see, each one bears the face of a miner (not sure whether living or dead)

I think if you had some paper and charcoal or crayon you could do like a brass rubbing in churches and get a better idea of the face. Each panel had a different face and a letter in the bottom right corner that when put together spelled out Johns Rock. No relation. 🙂

On the far side of the rock we discovered these,

there’s a story there somewhere but I don’t know and can’t guess what it is.

When we were back at the stones, we had seen some big wheels in the distance, so headed back down the hill in the general direction of where we thought they were. Passing a curve of trees

and found the lichen shot of the day

I ♥️ lichen

we came across some more miners houses

before reaching the wheels, and a cracking puddle for the reflection.

These are old pit wheels flanking a path leading to a Miners’ Memorial Garden, though the garden was pretty bare at this time of year.

We continued walking, heading back towards the lake and passing some more watery sections of the park, and some more swans

I think this sculpture is based on a ribcage, but of which animal I am not too sure, and I could be completely wrong!

We are almost back to the lake from here, where we go to lunch, meet some hounds, see more majestic swans and capture a birdy fisticuffs, so stay tooned for the next episode!

all images can be clicked on for bigger versions so you can appreciate their magnificence so much better 🤣





Herrington Country Park ~ March 2018 ~ Part 2


Part 1 Here

We left the lake behind and went off to walk around the park. It had been raining quite a lot in previous days so the ground was a bit soggy, but the paths not too bad.  There are seating bits all around the park which are decorated with scenes supposedly celebrating the heritage of the area. The first, I presume, is to do with Sunderlands ship-building industry. They made some great paper boats. 😉

Sailing ship seat

This next one I’m not too sure about, sunbathing I think is not part of Sunderlands cultural heritage, nor indeed is any sunshine much at all, but I guess it’s good to dream..

Sunbathing seat
Flipflops and lovely lichen

The other seat we came across also doesn’t really have anything to do with cultural heritage, though it’s closer in weather conditions,

Snowman seat

Plenty of dog-walkers about of course, and this little Chappy at the back here jumped up at Sophies legs, the bottom of her new red trousers nicely splotted with muddy paw prints, she isn’t keen on dogs on the whole. 🙂

the three mudkateers

The old colliery had miners cottages for the workers, some of which are still lived in today

Miners Homes

The park is just opposite the Penshaw Monument, and as I took a few photo’s of it I’ll fill you in on the history…

it is a folly built in 1844 on Penshaw Hill between the districts of Washington and Houghton-le-Spring, and is dedicated to John George Lambton (1792–1840), 1st Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada and affectionately known as Radical Jack. It was built as a memorial to the Earl’s work on the Durham report which was commissioned by Lord Melbourne in 1838 to seek direction on how best the British Empire should manage its colonies around the globe. The report recommended nearly complete self governance for advanced colonies and became one of the most important documents in the whole of the British Empire, formulating a new relationship between London and the colonies.

Penshaw Monument

Turning around from that view, we could see what looked like a standing stone circle, being held up by some kind of robots,

The standing stones

so we made our way up to it.

Standing stones and metal Mickys.

The robots seemed to be viewing places, if you stand and look through the rectangular spaces at the top of them you get a kind of photographic view.

Penshaw Monument through metal Micky’s eyes.

I think I’d have preferred the metal things not to be there, they looked ugly and out of place to me. And really you don’t need to have the views pointed out for you, the stones are on the top of a hill so views all around were good.

Penshaw Monument and the amphitheatre

In summer they have concerts and things going on in the amphitheatre. If they get a summer I suppose.

All the photo’s click through to bigger versions so you can get the full view if you are so inclined.

Stay tooned for the next instalment, when we visit the next weird sculpture thing.





Fraggle Report~ Herrington Country Park~ March 2018~ part 1


Last weekend, Sophie and I got together and this time went off to Herrington Country Park. It sounded promising on the website- an adventure play area, skate boarding, Nordic walking, model boat sailing in the lake and a variety of sculptures that celebrate the heritage of the area.  Wasn’t sure if Nordic Walking involved Viking re-enactment groups having a stroll, but according to Wiki it’s walking with poles, a bit like ski-ing without snow. Anyhow it all sounded very interesting so off we went.

The History Bit

Back in the days when England had industries the North East was a mine of ..well..mines really. And shipbuilding, but heaps of mines. The park was made on the grave of the Herrington Colliery, which closed in 1985, and had a waste heap of 11,000,000 cu. M. of shale, which must have looked like a mountain to the surrounding villagers.

Herrington slag heap-from Sunderland message board, photographer unknown.

For the transformation of the park, only the coal was removed, the minerals left behind went into making the park, sandstone for the sculptures, red ash for the walkways and clays to line the lakes.  Over a hundred different species of birds have been sighted since it’s inception, and many events are held there.

The weather wasn’t too bad, at least it was dry, but the promised-by-the-weather-forecasters sunny day never happened. No matter, there was a big lake and loads of birds on it.  We couldn’t believe how close the swans allowed us to get to them, no hissing or chasing us off, and I assume that is because of all the people who go there and feed them.

Good Morning. Feed me now!




Tufty Duck


Black headed gull (1st winter plumage)
I see no ships!

As well as birds, a couple of chaps were sailing remote controlled boats

24 (maybe a Jack Bauer fan!)


Swanning off

After a while at the lakeside we went for a walk around the park, and we’ll set off in the next episode to have a look at the sculptures, so stay tooned.








Northumberlandia~ February 2018

After Sophie and I had finished in Druridge Bay, We travelled back towards home via Northumberlandia, The Lady of the North.

The History Bit

Northumberlandia is a  human landform sculpture of a reclining lady.  Made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil, she is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long. Her creation was part of the planning application made by the Banks Group and Blagdon Estate when they requested to create what is now the largest surface mine in England, Shotton Surface Mine. It’s made out of the left-overs from the mine nearby.  Designed by American landscape architect Charles Jencks,   the sculpture was built on the Blagdon Estate, owned by Matt Ridley, a journalist, businessman and author of “The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature” which I’ve not read, or ever heard of. I’m not sure if it’s a panacea to locals whilst the ground beyond is torn up for the opencast mining of coal, but it cost £2.5 million, paid for by the Blagdon Estate and the Banks Group, who carried out the construction work. and it will last a lot longer than the mine.  Locals didn’t want the mine but Northumberlandia should bring in tourists so that’ll make up for it apparently. 🙄  The mine will eventually dry up in a few years time and they’ll landscape it over.

So here are some pictures of it, I wish I had a drone for this!

She’ll have backache keepiing that position up.


Panorama from the head end.


Going up to the head_ no nasal hairs spotted


Hole in the ground- the opencast mine


Ready to roll


View from the top looking towards her feet


bottom right corner-nose tip/ middle rounds-tits/ top left- hip/ top right knee


her right hand, palm up


left hand palm down


hand sculpture pointing to the eye of the universe (which I didn’t know had been discovered!)

On the way back to the car I took a few photo’s of her over the lakes next to her right hand side, populated by blue billed tufty ducks, which has to be the best named duck species ever.




Blue billed tufty ducks

It’s a place that will change over time, so there’ll be a re-visit now and then. There’s a large carpark which is free to park in, with a couple of recharging posts for the rechargeable car brigade. There’s also a visitor centre and cafe though we didn’t go in this time. Although walking/ running /being pushed in a wheelchair or perambulator is acceptable, bike riding is prohibited.

Full album HERE

stay tooned for our next trip to Herrington Country Park.


Druridge Bay~Feb 2018~ Part 2

Part 1 HERE 

There is a thing happening, the latest craze over from the USA, mostly I see it on Facebook, where people paint little rocks, and hide them in woodlands, on beaches, in towns, anywhere really.  We came across 3 of them whilst walking around the lake,

When you find one you are supposed to photograph it, post it to the Facebook page it belongs to (written on the back of the rock) and then re-hide it somewhere different or keep it, doesn’t seem to matter.

Not knowing all this at the time I just took pictures and didn’t re-hide them, life’s too short!  As always I liked the lichen I found on the trees, found a ball of it here..

liking the lichen

A Chinese (!) bridge takes you over to the far side of the lake

where I found a poignant memorial to someone’s mam

To Mam, I love you to the moon and back

There’s also a stepping stone crossing further up the edge of the lake which we ignored to go over the Chinese bridge, but had to have a go on it when we were on the far side. They were wobbly.

Intrepid Sophie

Then we found the swans, some of them still teenagers, and terns, gulls, ducks and geese

Teenage dirtbags
tern around bright eyes

Mummy swan saw us from afar photographing her kids and came to see what we were up to

She was a beauty

and when she decided we were no threat, she turned round and went back to hubby

and that’s about it from Druridge Bay,

Full album HERE

Druridge Bay has free parking and a cafe and visitor centre with things for kids to do. We had toasted cheese and ham sandwiches for our lunch, but they were a bit meh. As Phil would say, they filled a hole.

Next post we will be visiting The Lady of the North, or Northumberlandia as she is known so stay tooned folks!