Way of Learning – Section 02 (South Shields to Monkwearmouth)

Section 2 of the Way of Learning starts from the services at the southern end of King George Road, South Shields and finishes at St Peter’s Church and Monastery, Monkwearmouth.  The route passes through the village of Whitburn on its way to the coast and the resorts of Seaburn and Roker before arriving at Monkwearmouth on the banks of the River Wear.

Distance 10.8 km (6.7 miles) | Elevation Gain 94 m/309 ft | Maximum Elevation 79 m/259 ft (Cleadon Windmill) | Profile Undulating>flat>hilly> – descending | Terrain Urban, farmland, parkland | Going Generally firm with potentially muddy sections on footpaths, trails, roads and tracks | Exposure Fairly sheltered though exposed over the Cleadon Hills | Hospitality & Refreshment King George Road (services); Whitburn (all); Seaburn (all); Roker (all); Monkwearmouth [0.5 km] (all)


Section1


Section 3



Route File (.gpx)


Cleadon Water Tower
© The Durham Cow


Cleadon Windmill
© The Durham Cow


Cleadon Hills Pathway
© The Durham Cow


Whitburn Parish Church
© The Durham Cow


The Red Cottage
© The Durham Cow


Cornthwaite Park
© The Durham Cow


Seaburn Beach
© The Durham Cow


Bede Memorial Cross
© The Durham Cow


St Andrew’s Church
© The Durham Cow


Roker Pier & Lighthouse
© The Durham Cow


Sunderland (North Dock) Marina
© The Durham Cow


St Peter’s Church & Monastery
© The Durham Cow

Section 2 of the Way of Learning begins on the wooded footpath <Bede’s Way> known as Occupation Road (though there doesn’t appear to be any signage to that effect) heading east, away from the pedestrian crossing by the roundabout, at the southern end of King George Road near Ridgeway Services. After crossing Sunderland Road, a bit further on, it takes to the fields, heading towards the chimney-like structure that is actually Cleadon Water Tower.

When it reaches Sunniside Lane, the route turns right, past Sunniside Farm then left uphill, still on the lane, to a gate on the right, and the path towards Cleadon Windmill. At the windmill, the Way of Learning joins the Cleadon Hills Pathway to continue along the wall before bearing left downhill, then left again to the stile in the corner (the path through the gate to the right joins up a bit later). Following a distinct trail around the edges of several fields you’re heading for Wellhouse Farm and Wellands Lane, in Whitburn, beyond.

On Wellands Lane, the route turns right, then twists and turns through North Guards, Sandy Chare, past the war memorial on the main road, and across the green to Church Lane, where you’ll find Whitburn Parish Church and several listed structures including the striking, tudor-style, Red Cottage. The route then continues down a narrow path between Cornthwaite Park and fields to the the coast at Whitburn Bents. By turning right after crossing the busy A183 coast road, you can see the tower of St Andrew’s Church at Roker, on the skyline atop the hill.

How you get there is now up to you: you’ll pass through Seaburn with its immensely popular beach – the heart of the resort – then, as you start to climb the hill, there’s the unmistakable White Lighthouse on the grassy slopes of Roker Cliff Park, the top of which, during the war years of the c20th, was occupied by a succession of coastal defences. At the summit you’ll find the elegant Bede Memorial Cross. Backing up a bit, Rock Lodge Road leads directly to the imposing bulk of St Andrew’s Church.

After that it’s back to the coast: my recommendation would be to head for seafront via Roker Park and Roker Ravine, then continue along Marine Walk past Roker Beach, Roker Pier and lighthouse (get the feeling you’re in Roker now?) heading for Sunderland Yacht Club HQ on the the Old North Pier. Round the yacht club you come to Sunderland Marina in the Old North Dock. The route leaves via Sand Point Road and continues on the C2C cycle path past the National Glass Centre, then rounds Sunderland University’s Sir Tom Cowie campus, heading away from the river, to reach the finish of the section at St Peter’s Church and Monastery.

Scroll to Top