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Hesleden Dene’s name derives from ‘hesle’, a corruption of ‘hazel’ hich can be found in abundance alongside ash and wych elm.
The reserve has exceptional natural exposures of magnesian limestone eroded to produce impressive outcrops with many caves and fissures.
The name derives from ‘hesle’, a corruption of hazel in abundance there alongside ash and wych elm.
Damp, humid conditions provide niches for impressive displays of mosses, lichens and fungi. Magnesian limestone grassland supports plants such as devils-bit scabious, common spotted orchid and twyblade. Woodland wildlife thrives with regular sightings of roe deer, fox, woodpeckers and tawny owl.
Hesleden Dene is best visited in spring for the woodland flora and autumn for the fungi and turning leaves.
Reserve Map & Access
Mixed terrain with unsurfaced pathways which are steep at times.
Access and Parking
From the A19, take the B1281 towards Blackhall Rocks and turn right at the sign for Hesleden Village. Cross the Hart to Haswell cycleway and enter the reserve. Situated south of Hesleden Village, there is a small amount of parking in the lay-by at Station House at the south end of Station Road.
Public transport is available from Durham and Sunderland Hutton Henry via Peterlee. The reserve is a short walk down Station Road.
On leads during spring and summer.