70.33 ha (173.79 acres)

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Explorer 308
OS Landranger 88

Take a stroll among remnants of ancient woodland and mature conifer, look out for a wealth of wildlife, admire the fascinating and varied flora and unearth the vestiges of an intriguing past.

Made up of a number of woods and plantations and with its very own orienteering trail, a visit to Elemore Woods is not to be missed.


  • Public access

How to get to Elemore Woods

Elemore Woods lies around 13km (8 miles) north-east of Durham, near the villages of Easington Lane and High Pittington.

The site is made up of a number of woods and plantations surrounding Elemore Hall: Dog Kennel Bank, Brown’s Plantation, Lily Hill Plantation, Elemore Wood, East Wood and Hetton-le-Hill Wood, the latter being separated from the rest by non-Woodland Trust land.

From Durham, take the A690 eastwards for 6.4km (4 miles) and continue over five roundabouts. Drive past Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, and turn right onto Pittington Road. Continue onto Station Road then turn left for Front Street. Turn right onto Coalford Lane and then left for Elemore Street. Continue on to Elemore Lane.

The nearest train station is Seaham, 7km (4.5 miles) away.

Visit National Rail for more information.

There are bus stops on the A182 in Easington Lane and South Hetton, both around 1.6km (1 mile) from the woods along public footpaths.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

There are several entry points via public footpaths connecting Elemore Woods to adjacent farmland and nearby woods, including the young White Hill Woods - another Woodland Trust site. Access is through squeeze stiles or step stiles.

The woods have many trails, including a surfaced path on level ground, and an orienteering course running through Elemore and Whitehill Woods. You can approach it from Easington Lane, Elemore Vale or Littletown. You will need sturdy footwear as some of the control sites are on steep slopes.

There is no car park directly at the woods, but you can park in one of the nearby villages and follow one of the public footpaths from there.

There are public toilets on Front Street (A182) in South Hetton, next to the church.

Wildlife and habitats


Elemore Woods is teeming with varied wildlife. Listen out for the hammering of great spotted woodpeckers or the mewling cry of a buzzards wheeling high over the open areas, or see if you can catch a glimpse of an elusive goshawk as it searches for prey.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Elemore is rich in a variety of ground flora, including bluebell, red campion and wood avens. Meadows are full of wild flowers such as poppy, cornflower, campion and daisy which attract an abundance of wildlife, including butterflies and dragonflies. The conifers here are gradually being thinned out to allow the scattered native broadleaves to regenerate.

Look out for:


Elemore Woods contains a wide range of habitats, including wildflower meadows, a mix of conifer and broadleaf trees and areas designated as a County Wildlife Site (CWS),


About Elemore Woods


Elemore Woods has a rich history. In the Elizabethan period, Elemore Hall was built in the valley for the Baker family, who were local colliery owners. As part of the landscaping, the woods were transformed into ‘pleasure grounds’ and some of the unspoilt character of the ancient woodlands destroyed. Carriageways were constructed though the valley, walkways cut into the valley sides and the stream dammed to form lakes – the site of a lake, drained in the 1920s, can still be seen today. 

In the 19th century, much of the ancient woodland was felled and replanted with non-native conifers to provide timber. This continued until the mid-20th century when Elemore Hall was purchased by Durham County Council and turned into a residential special school.

We purchased Elemore Woods in May 1994 with financial assistance from the Countryside Commission, Durham County Council and the Will Charitable Trust. Since then, we have been working to restore the ancient woodland. 

Early purple orchid with blurred background

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do in Elemore Woods


If you’re looking for an adventurous way to explore Elemore Woods, why not have a go at orienteering? The orienteering trail here extends into nearby White Hill Woods, also owned by the Woodland Trust. So grab some sturdy shoes and give it a go!


With so many paths to follow, flora to admire and wildlife to spot, a walk around the many woods that make up Elemore Woods is a must-do.


Elemore Woods Management Plan

PDF  (152 KB)