Hartlepool Headland is formed on a peninsular of magnesium limestone which reaches into the North Sea. This geological make-up has created a coastline of mixed treasures.
From golden sandy beach of the North Sands stroll along to the teeming rockpools towards the end of the peninsular where you might find yourself rolling up your sleeves and searching for crabs. This area was also home to the fabled ‘Elephant Rock’ which finally succumbed to the erosion of the sea on May the 10th 1891.
The historic Hartlepool Headland is at the northern end of the town and is home to several historic sites pertaining to Hartlepool’s rich history. The beautiful 12th century St Hilda’s church can be found on the Hartlepool Headland with oldest parts the nave and tower. Hartlepool headland however has a religious history stretching right back to the earliest spread of Christianity in Britain. A monastery was founded here on Hartlepool Headland by St Aidan around AD 640. The nun St Hilda, from which the church derives its name, arrived here in 648 AD. Danish raiders later destroyed the monastery in 800. Visitors are welcome to take tours of the historic Norman St Hilda’s Church which features many of its original Norman features.
Other historic attractions on the Hartlepool Headland include the Heugh Gun Battery and the Heugh Battery Museum. The Heugh Battery famously saw service just before Christmas in 1914 when three German Battle cruisers attacked Hartlepool killing 114 men, women and children. Volunteer gunners fought back from the Heugh Battery on the Headland for 45 minutes. The episode is explored in-depth within the Heugh Battery Museum.
A tour of Hartlepool Headland takes in a selection of World War 1 and World War II historic defensive sites including a WW1 and WW2 Emplacement with guns, a battery command post and range finder, a parade ground and the Battery Command Post. Underground Magazines and Stores also feature as part of the tour and a coffee shop is located near the museum.