Try these child-friendly Durham walks if your children are looking for something to do and they need to burn off some energy.
Durham is blessed with some fantastic scenery so you're never short of options for walking routes, which is a great way to keep the family entertained over half term or the summer holidays. For the perfect child-friendly Durham walk you need to have relatively flat terrain, something to keep them interested, and a route length that's not too far for their little legs.
So if you're looking for child-friendly Durham walks, especially within easy reach of the city, consider one of these.
Child-friendly Durham walk #1: Derwent Reservoir
The Derwent Reservoir walking and cycling route is well maintained and - most importantly - flat(ish), meaning there'll be no moans about long uphill struggles.
If you're driving from Durham city, then head up the A691 towards Lanchester, through Consett, then join the A68 north, and you'll see signs for Derwent Reservoir as you reach the bungalows at Carterway Heads. It's about a 40 minute drive.
You can either head down to the Derwent Reservoir car park, which is just next to the Derwent Reservoir dam, or carry on around to Pow Hill Country Park, where there's also a picnic site to enjoy lunch.
Whichever car park you use, walking to the other should be a nice walk of about two miles. Alternatively, walking from the north shore of the dam to Millshield picnic site is about 1.75 miles. If you're feeling adventurous, the walking and cycling path from Pow Hill Country Park to the Millshield picnic site is about 3.5 miles.
Child-friendly Durham walk #2: Durham riverside walk
The big benefit of this child-friendly Durham walk is that it's right in the centre of Durham city - which means that you can combine it with a wander around the shops or lunch at one of Durham's numerous cafes.
Starting in Durham marketplace, walk down Silver Street to Framwellgate Bridge. Just before you reach the bridge, the steps down to your left will take you on to the Durham riverside path.
Choose the right hand fork (downhill to the river rather than up to Palace Green), and follow the path as it takes you on the inside of the Durham peninsular bend. Most of this section is tarmac which makes it suitable even when it's been wet.
On the way you'll pass the University College boathouse and the attractive Prebends Bridge. Depending on how far you want to go, this could be a good spot to turn back: walk across Prebends Bridge then head back until you reach the other side of Framwellgate Bridge. This makes it about a 20 minute circular walk (or an hour, once the children have investigated every puddle and leaf they find). To make it a longer walk, the Kingsgate Bridge (the tall thin concrete footbridge that links the Durham University Student Union building with Bow Lane) offers your next opportunity to circle back.
Child-friendly Durham walk #3: Seaham waterfront
Seaham offers a totally different landscape compared to the previous two walks. Again, it's easy going as it's mainly along paving stones on the seafront, but it's a beautiful view the whole way along.
As you drive in past Houghton le Spring past Seaham Hall, follow the road around to the right, up the hill then look out for a car park on the left marked 'Vane Tempest Beach'. This is the beach famous for its seaglass, and you can spend some enjoyable time searching for pieces of coloured glass. Afterwards, instead of heading up to road level, there's a path between the beach and the road, made of concrete slabs just below the cliff. You can follow this along part of the way, then head back up the steps to rejoin the path.
At the top, the walk continues past the famous Seaham Tommy sculpture of the soldier sitting on the ammunition boxes, and on to Seaham Marina, where you can grab some refreshments. Heading back the same way makes it just under two miles - a good distance for younger children.
Child-friendly Durham walk #4: Waldridge Fell Country Park
Waldridge Fell Country Park, a much underrated gem, is great for a stroll in some very different terrain, only a short drive out of Durham city. Located near Chester Moor just off the A167 to the north of Durham, Waldridge Fell is covered in gorse bushes, which makes for an exciting maze of paths among which children can enjoy choosing their own route.
Come off the A167 at the roundabout just before the Church Mouse pub and head left; go left at the next roundabout and this will take you to Waldridge. At the top of the bank is a tight bend; head left, then you'll find the Waldridge Fell car park entrance on your left after a minute or so.
A note of caution: it is fairly easy to get lost among the gorse bushes as the paths split and wind around, so keep an eye on where you've come from!
Child-friendly Durham walk #5: Rainton Meadows
Another great walking spot that you can reach quickly from Durham but that feels away from it all, Rainton Meadows walks are generally flat and easy, with good parking and well-made paths. What more could you ask for?
Again, if you're travelling from Durham city, get to Rainton Meadows by heading up the A690, past Ramside Hall, and you'll see a sliproad coming off marked Fencehouses, Hetton and a brown sign for Rainton Meadows. Then just follow the brown signs.
There's ample Rainton Meadows parking and a choice of well-made paths with ponds and undergrowth to explore and keep the children entertained. If you go down in late Spring, you might also be lucky enough to see the migration of the frogs: hundreds of tiny frogs, just developed from tadpoles, all hopping in the same direction to reach the safety of the larger ponds.