Railway Paths Project

Following community interest in developing family outdoor recreational space, that creates focussed points of interest for all ages and highlights key points along a given route.  In 2011 Durham County Council’s Countryside Service and Mid Durham Area ActionPartnership  commissioned D3 associates to consult with local residents in settlements adjacent to the three railway paths that passed through the AAP and to produce a masterplan for the development of the paths in line with the results of the consultation.

Aim of the Project
To engage the local communities in Ushaw Moor and Langley Park in developing a future proofed package of signing, interpretation and play based materials on the railway paths running through (and joining) the two communities, and develop a local sense of ownership and encourage active participation in the development and management of the railway paths.  The finished plan was produced in 2012 and included development ideas for each of the settlements based on the aspirations of the respondents in each area.  There was a wide range of ideas in the plan, but there were also a number of recurring themes including singing of the villages (to inform users of the routes about the facilities in the villages), interpretation of the routes, ‘destination benches’ (features to be walked to) and natural play.

Groups from various settlements have been contacted, and those from Ushaw Moor and Langley Park are keen to develop a project that will allow modern interpretation and signage, while encouraging active use of the sites by families and young people.

Ushaw Moor Project with Kids Club Ushaw Moor
The project offers an opportunity to raise awareness about the local natural environment and the part the children can play in its development as a local asset.


The children and parents met with 5 officers from Durham County Council to gather ideas for the project from the Deerness Picnic Area to the Station Road entrance to the cycle path.

The following are discussion points raised in consultation with the children at that time.

Original Discussion points:
Log seating linked to destination points
Natural orienteering route – linked to carvings into the tree stumps
Interpretation and info boards – linked to pond, wetlands
Sign posting village – New Brancepeth route, route into Ushaw Moor and to Deerness picnic area
Themed play Seating
Shelter / camps
Throne style seating making use of the stumps – story areas seating in the round
Mushroom style seating linked 3 legged frog!
Use of logs and felled trees to create climbing and balance play
Logs across ditches – trails
Walk way into pond

kc-41After a long delay in getting the project started, on Tuesday 11th August 2015 children and volunteers from Kids Club Ushaw Moor walked the Railway Path from Ushaw Moor to the Broompark Picnic Area with Grace Crawford from Groundwork North East to refresh ideas about improvements and features they would like to see implemented along the walk and at the picnic area.

railway-paths-06Following discussion along the route children came up with the following project ideas:

Wild flower meadow at the woodland walk
Proper signs to direct them through
Wooden figures
Bug hotels and creating points of interest signboards regarding wildlife through the woodland walk
Natural play equipment

The following week was about putting their ideas on paper and creating models.



A booklet was produced to raise awareness of wildlife and the variety of flowers, shrubs and trees along the railway walk. It includes images of seating made from fallen timber and natural stone, and sample signs, information boards and objects of natural play and to act as an aid to reinforcing their project ideas.

It was anticipated the children would be involved in all aspects of the project design to give them a complete understanding of what they have created and why, supported by experts. during the summer holidays some of the children sowed wild flower seed along the route to create a strip of colour.



Proposed Budget
Ushaw Moor – 1 x Wooden seat:
Materials: Oak trunks and sleepers: £240
Construction and carving: 3 days @ £250: £750

Ushaw Moor – 1 x Wooden Feature sign:
Materials: Oak boards and posts: £200
Construction and carving: 3 days @ £250: £750

Ushaw Moor – 3 x Stone boulder seats:
Materials: Boulders (including positioning) £600
Carving: 3 days @ £250: £750

Ushaw Moor – 3 x Wooden wildlife sculptures:
Materials: 2 large oak trunks: £450
Carving: 8 days @ £250: £2000

Ushaw Moor – informal play structures such as balance logs and timber stepping posts:
Materials: Assorted oak logs with thicker branches still attached: £500
Construction: 2 days @ £250: £500

Sub total: £10490

2 days community workshops:
Materials: plaster, timber: £50
Artist’s time 2 days @ £250: £500

Concrete, fixings and treatments: £500
Artist’s time: 5 days @ £250: £1250.          

Grand total: £12790

It is anticipated the project will be completed in December 2016.