The Castle Eden Walkway formed the heart of the former Castle Eden Walkway Country Park. Although the site has expanded over the years and has been renamed Wynyard Woodland Park, the walkway is still at the centre of it all.
The walkway is a disused railway line that extends from the middle of Stockton as far north as Hurworth Burn Reservoir in County Durham. The Wynyard Woodland Park section extends for some 3 ½ miles in a north-south direction from the Redmarshall railway junction, in the south, to the A689, in the north. The former Cleveland County Council opened the walkway for public recreation, amenity, education and conservation in 1982.
Most visitors think of the walkway as the straight route of the railway line through the heart of the park, whereas infact the Castle Eden Walkway (CEW) takes a westerly turn into Brierley Wood at the northern tip of Pickard’s Meadow and continues in a loop through Tilery Wood, past Tilery Wood Hut and emerges in Tilery Wood car park next to the A689. The continuation of the railway line from the junction where the walkway diverges, up to the Durham Gateway Bridge is maintained by Hartlepool Borough Council as part of the Sustrans Route 1 cycle network. For the purposes of subdivision of the site we will treat the straight route of the old railway line as the walkway in this section, but the rights of way maintained by the park follow the route of the CEW.
The walkway encompasses several valuable wildlife habitats and is of local importance as a nature reserve due to the diversity of its wildlife and the presence of locally uncommon plant species. The railway bridges along the walkway are also of historical, architectural and atmospheric value (many have unusual acoustic characteristics when you stand under them) although sadly the large viaduct that once spanned the Durham Road was demolished in 1979.