The Southwest of the city of Sunderland is comprised of the suburbs of Farringdon, Silksworth, the Herringtons (East, Middle & West), Grindon, Thorney Close, Gilley Law and Doxford Park. Located roughly 3 miles or so from the city centre, the modern suburbs were all built following World War II in the 1950s, but nonetheless have deep embedded histories dating back to the Middle Ages and Ancient Times. Although often overlooked, the Southwest of Sunderland embeds some of the area’s most visually appealing areas of beauty and nature.
Although a large area geographically, the most effective way to reach the Southwest of Sunderland is to use the Durham Road (A690) as your primary route of access. This will allow you to reach Farringdon, Thorney Close and the Herringtons directly, from which you can branch off into other areas. If you do not have a car, then good bus choices from Sunderland City Centre include the number 4 (stagecoach), or the number 20 or 20A (Go NorthEast). The latter can be found at Park Lane bus station.
Silksworth Park, Ski Slope and Sports Complex
Built on the site of a former colliery that closed in the 1970s, Silksworth Park encompasses a series of rolling hills, forests, two artificial lakes (inhabited by swans), a children’s play park and an artificial Ski Slope. The accompanying sports complex encompasses a swimming pool, a gym and tennis courts. This makes the area an excellent day out as it has “something for everyone”.
Farringdon County Park, Foxy Island
Foxy Island is a large, spacious and open wilderness of Moor Land located adjacent to Gilley Law, Farringdon and Doxford Park. Its name, “Foxy Island”, is derived from a wordplay on the last two areas. This area was designated to be a country park by the council in 1998, but plans never made in progress. It is a very interesting area to take a walk around and explore.
Herrington Country Park
Similar to Silksworth Park, Herrington Country Park was a regeneration of a former colliery site into an area of man made natural beauty. The park has lakes, forests and hills, including a skatepark, a café and amphitheatre, all with Penshaw Monument towering over it in the distance. Arguably so, Herrington Country Park is one of the finest parks in the city and is a tremendous choice for long distance walking. If you are driving, however, unlike the other areas we recommend you enter by Chester Road.
Hasting Hill is a large limestone hill located to the East of the A19, and can be reached from Herrington Country Park over the Foxcover Lane Bridge. If coming from the other way, it can be reached by foot from Thorney Close or Grindon. The hill is of historic importance as it was a bronze age burial ground, believed to be of a religious significance in the prehistoric era. Although the walk to the top is steep, it offers an immense panoramic view of the surrounding region which allows you not only to see all of Sunderland, but also as far south as the city of Durham.
The Secret Garden and Doxford Park
The Secret Garden is an assortment of woodland and park space which compromises part of Doxford Park. It is one of the most tranquil and beautiful locations in all of Sunderland. As its name suggests, it contains a “walled garden” which once belonged to the accompanying manor Doxford House, one of the city’s most iconic shipbuilding families. The Hendon Burn stream also runs through it, which is also visible through the neighbouring Farringdon Country Park, then onwards to Silksworth Park and later Backhouse park.