Elba Park
Landscape Houghton-le-Spring Tyne And Wear

Elba Park

Landscape In Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne And Wear

52 acre park near Houghton-le-Spring with a sculpture trail and plenty of wildlife.

In a previous life, Elba Park was in the heart of a coal mining area. There had been mining here since the 1600s, as coal seams ran close to the surface and were therefore easier to mine. Industrial activity continued here until the closure of Lambton Cokeworks in the mid 1980s.

The park's transformation began in the late 1990s, when a staggering 77,000 trees were planted and 3,700 metres of footpaths were created. The result is a very inviting and open country park where you could spend an hour or so getting your steps in after a Sunday lunch. The site has woodlands, wetlands and meadows and apparently attracts Kingfishers and Green Woodpeckers, though we are yet to see them.

One of the highlights of the park are the fantastic sculptures by artists Craig Knowles and Colin Wilbourn.

You may remember Colin Wilbourn as the artist behind Kathedra on Durham Riverside and Red House in Sunderland. Both fantastic works of art. His sculpture Underground at Elba Park was created in 2010 and depicts a miner working underground in cramped conditions.

You'll also find the work of Blacksmith Craig Knowles dotted around the park, which include his sculptures, 'The Lambton Worm', 'The Work Bridge' and 'Gala Days'. All spectacular.

The Lambton Worm references the song about the huge worm that wrapped itself around Penshaw Monument, which can be seen from the highest point in the park.

The Work Bridge consists of over 100 hand forged pickaxe heads. Back in the day, miners had to pay for their own pick and wages were deducted if picks needed sharpening.

Gala Days is a series of four sculptures which are modelled on the banners that adorn the streets on Gala Day to celebrate Durham's mining history.

Elba Park is a great place to stretch your legs, enjoy nature and remember the legacy of the area. If you wanted to extend your visit to Houghton, you could also have a wander up to the Seven Sisters which is around a ten minute drive away.

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How To Find Elba Park

Where Is Elba Park?

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54.853452, -1.503117

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Where To Park For Elba Park?

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54.857145, 54.857145

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There are two car parks. We parked at the larger car park on Whitworth Park Drive, but there are some spaces at the Ravensworth Park entrance too.

Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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Elba Park was listed in Landscape // Tyne And Wear // Houghton-le-Spring