Your refuge from the bustle of daily life © 2012 Friends of Holywell Dene. All Rights Reserved

History of the Dene

The first reference to Holywell Dene was in 800AD although it was then known as Merkel Dene. It was part of the Manor of Hartley.

In 1219 the Manor of Hartley was conferred to Gilbert de Laval and became part of the Delaval Estate, as it is today.


About Us

In 2000 Holywell Dene was in a bad state and deteriorating rapidly. The tenant farmer’s right to over-winter cattle in the Dene had heavily affected the ground flora and natural regeneration, as well as severely damaging the numerous paths.

Welcome to Holywell Dene!


Holywell Dene is in the South East corner of Northumberland, with a small part straddling the border into North Tyneside.


The Dene stretches for approximately 6km between the villages of Seghill in the west, passing close to Holywell and Old Hartley, and thence to Seaton Sluice on the coast in the east.


Holywell Dene is a steep sided ancient semi-natural woodland and is traversed by a small river known as the Seaton Burn. Between Old Hartley and Seaton Sluice, where the river enters the sea, the valley widens into a tidal flood plain.


Much of the Dene is part of the Delaval Estate. In 2000 the Estate granted the two Councils a 99-year lease; they in turn designated their areas Local Nature Reserves.

 

In the same year, 2000, a voluntary community group called Friends of Holywell Dene was established.

Flora and Fauna

The woodlands of Holywell Dene, together with its adjacent agricultural fields, support a wide variety of Flora and Fauna.

Wild flowers found, which are indicators of native woodland, include:                                


Bluebells in the Dene

Latest News

Upcoming Events

Dates for your diaries - a list of events occurring throughout the year can be found here.

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11-June-2024

Eight volunteers assembled this morning at the metal gate on Hartley West Farm road for another morning of strimming, on a day of mixed sunshine and showers that was rather cold for the time of year….

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4-June-2024

Strimming was again the task facing the working party this morning, on the eastern side of the estuary and up the footpath from there towards the Hartley Lane carpark….

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25-June-2024

A decent-sized working party of nine volunteers met up at the Crowhall Farm cattle grid this morning for a bit of strimming in the hot sun….

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18-June-2024

Despite the wet weather, we managed to assemble a working party of ten volunteers this morning to continue the summer 2024 strimming effort….

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2-July-2024

An eight-person working party resumed the summer strimming project this morning. This time the theatre of operations was the part of the Dene upstream of the Holywell road bridge….

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Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan balsam, an attractive but invasive alien plant, is trying to invade the banks of the river. Please keep an eye open for it, and report it if you see it. To find out what it looks like, view our Himalayan Balsam Guide.