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Seaton Sluice Waggonway

Holywell to Seaton Sluice

55.073440, -1.483686





Entry Created:

16 Jun 2023

Last Updated:

16 Jun 2023

Partly Preserved



Lord Delaval

Description (or HER record listing)

NEHL - The Seaton Sluice Waggonway had existed from at least the 1800s after John Crook, the agent of Lord Delaval, illustrated a proposed railway to carry coal from his estates around New Hartley and Holywell to Seaton Sluice via a timber viaduct over the Seaton Burn. This included a stationary engine to haul waggons from the coast up an incline to the viaduct.

It was connected to Hester Pit via a curve at the Dairy House between Seaton Delaval Hall and Holywell. There were also a number of pits along its course near the Dairy House field - two of which are still easily identifiable.

There was a very short running passenger service between Hester Pit and Seaton Sluice on Tuesdays and Saturdays, as well as from Percy Main up the Backworth Colliery Railway to the Avenue for transportation to Seaton Delaval Hall. There was also possibly a station at the Dairy House - the trackbed where this station may have been situated is still extant. Passenger services ended in the mid 1850s.

The railway was closed by the 1870s. The viaduct was ripped up around the same time. The only remains are stone reinforcements on the side of the burn which support a modern footbridge as well as stone footings in the valley. There are no known illustrations or photographs of the viaduct, but it may have been similar to that over Wallsend Burn.

The course of the railway can be seen on the 1890s maps, with a footpath occupying the course of the railway at Seaton Sluice.


The course is great for walkers, however the ground can be uneven with historic bricks embedded in the path as well as it being uneven. With this said, it's an enjoyable short walk. As the viaduct no longer exists, it requires a steep trek down from the top of the valley to the bottom. In wet weather this is potentially lethal, so please only try this on a dry day. The walk takes you to Starlight Castle which is a pleasant visit.

Ordnance Survey, 1865

Ordnance Survey, 1865

Course of the waggonway looking west in 2023

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The railway leading to the viaduct over the Seaton Burn in 2023.

The railway leading to the viaduct over the Seaton Burn in 2023.

Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors. 


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