Meandering through the area's towns and villages is the 26 mile South Tyneside Heritage Trail.
The Trail is a pathway from the past and travels through a variety of landscapes from rugged coastline and farmland to reclaimed industrial sites and bustling streets.
The Trail details thousands of years of history, but also touches on a wide range of topics including:
- the river and sea
Colourful interpretation panels along the route help to reveal our rich heritage. You can walk the Trail in its entirety or break it up into more manageable chunks to suit your fitness/ability.
Much of the route follows established trails such as the Coastal Path, Linnet Way and River Don and there are a number of loops and possible connecting paths.
As well as a leaflet highlighting the route and points of interest, each of the panels features a map and the location of the next panel. Many of the panels can be visited relatively easily by car too.
The structure of the landscape itself has helped shape much of what has gone on here.
The limestone deposits which formed the Cleadon Hills and the stunning cliffs and rock formations along the coastline; the rich veins of coal which for many years provided the backbone of the region's economy; and the River Tyne itself, providing the means for exporting the coal to foreign parts.
From prehistoric times, through the Roman, Anglo Saxon and Viking periods, across the Middle Ages and into the industrial era, people have come from many parts of the world to settle in South Tyneside and they have all made a contribution to its achievements.
Life in the region has rarely been easy as its rewards have always had to be hard earned, often in dangerous circumstances. But this has bred a population with lots of pride, remarkable spirit, a strong sense of community and who are always ready to have fun!
Continuous change and people's ability to adapt is another strong theme which emerges.
Around 200 years ago, South Tyneside was very rural with just a little industrial development along the riverside.
The 19th century witnessed a manufacturing explosion, in which the local population grew tenfold to provide the workforce for some of the world's greatest shipyards and engineering works.
Today, these too have all but gone and the area has come through the traumas of industrial decline to emerge as a bustling, vibrant place to live and work, with many of the old industrial sites regenerated for modern business or reclaimed for nature.
To meet the future
1300 years ago, Bede propelled South Tyneside to the very forefront of western culture and his legacy is still felt around the world today.
100 to 150 years ago, the banks of the River Tyne again became globally renowned as a centre of excellence and innovation.
Those days may have gone - the shipyards and mines have fallen silent - but the area's greatest asset still remains.
It is the people of South Tyneside who have made it great in the past and who will continue to make it great in the future.
To download the route map and for more information on walking trails in South Tyneside go to Walking