This is a 2 mile (4km) walk starting from Roker promenade.
The skirts Sunderland’s coastline and passes through the attractive Roker Park as well as covering a number of interesting historical features and locations, including:
Red Naval Mine
This type of mine was used during the Second World War for coastal defence. It is now used as a collection box by the Shipwrecked Mariners Society.
Erected in 1904, Bede’s Cross stands as a memorial to one of Sunderland’s most famous sons – the monk and scholar, the Venerable Bede. 1300 years ago Bede lived and worked at the nearby church of St Peter’s.
On the eve of the First World War the local authorities secured Sunderland’s coastline from a potential German attack. A series of defensive trenches were dug along the coast from Cliff Park towards South Bents. Soldiers patrolled the coast for signs of invasion and gun detachments were set up close to Bede’s Cross to defend against hostile forces.
Originally built in 1856 on Sunderland’s South Pier, the lighthouse was dismantled and re-erected here in 1983 to allow for harbour improvements.
The Lowry Connection
LS Lowry (1887 – 1976) is one of the country’s best known artists, famous for his distinctive paintings of industrial scenes. From the 1960s he regularly visited Sunderland, always staying in room 104 at the Seaburn Hotel (now the Marriot). Some of his work can be seen at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.
St Andrew’s Church
Built in 1907, St Andrew’s is recognised as one of Britain’s finest early 20th century churches. It was known as the “Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts movement” because of its decorative interior by Eric Gill, Ernest Gimson and A.H. Payne.
Roker Park opened on 23 June 1880 as a recreational space for the expanding suburb of Roker. The northern end of the park is dissected by Roker Ravine. In the 17th and 18th centuries the ravine was notorious as a site frequented by smugglers. One of the caves in the ravine was home to “Spottie”, an 18th century sailor whose ship was wrecked off the North Sea coast.
Roker Pier and lighthouse were built between 1883 and 1903, and developed into a popular tourist attraction. A tunnel runs along the length of the pier, to aid access to the lighthouse in bad weather. To the north east of the pier lies the wreckage of a German U Boat, which sank in February 1917 after accidentally mining itself. The U Boat was part of the German campaign of “unrestricted warfare” which aimed to starve Britain into submission during the First World War.
For more details, including a map and full route information, download the leaflet below.