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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

7-Aug-18

The Fauna page of the Flora and Fauna section has been updated with a report for July.

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Dates for your Diary

A list of forthcoming events throughout the year.  

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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.

10-Jul-18

Eleven volunteers – nearly a full turnout – met up at Hartley Lane carpark to continue the 2018 strimming effort between the carpark and the estuary. The weather was sultry and sweaty, under grey clouds which relieved the temperature somewhat. The ground underfoot is very dry indeed...

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17-Jul-18

Eleven volunteers – nearly a full turnout – met up at Hartley Lane carpark to continue the 2018 strimming effort between the carpark and the estuary. The weather was sultry and sweaty, under grey clouds which relieved the temperature somewhat. The ground underfoot is very dry indeed...

READ MORE

12-Jul-18  Love Northumberland Awards

The Duchess of Northumberland helped to celebrate the very best in community and voluntary environmental work across the county at a special LOVE Northumberland awards ceremony held at Alnwick castle on Thursday 12 July...

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31-Jul-18

A work party of six volunteers turned up at Newburgh Avenue, south-west Seaton Delaval, for another Himalayan balsam-bashing session – or at least five turned up and one got lost (see below). The weather was, really, too hot for working, but once you’ve got the balsam bug, you just have to keep going...

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24-Jul-18

The work party numbered eight this morning, and the task we were set was a welcome change from strimming, namely balsam bashing. The weather was rather too hot for hard work, but we were in the shade most of the time. The mud of winter is a distant memory, and the ground today was very dry...

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7-Aug-18

The work party numbered eight today, and the work was split between path verge strimming and Himalayan balsam bashing. It was another hot, sweaty day, but fortunately Holywell Dene is well shaded. ...

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14-Aug-18

The work party of seven volunteers were given a variety of tasks this morning: strimming, logjam removal and balsam-bashing. The weather was dull, damp and cool, and it was rather muddy underfoot. The party met up at Crowhall Farm and had to brave the rather sullen-looking cows in the field to get there from their parked cars...

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