Revealing Hidden Heritage

Using innovative methods and participative approaches to ensure our heritage is better recorded, in better condition and better understood, engaging beyond our usual audiences.

Much of our seascape heritage is hidden: from submerged prehistoric landscapes to the amazing mosaic of seabed habitats strewn with shipwrecks. Estimates of the number of wrecks within the seascape area vary widely but are likely to be in excess of 300. Out of sight and out of mind, these forgotten wrecks tell a crucial chapter of the seascape story. From the shipyards of Tyne and Wear and Hartlepool to the devastating loss of life incurred in clearing the vital East Coast War Channels during WWI. The world beneath the waves remains inaccessible for the vast majority of people and requires innovative approaches to reveal the secrets of our seas. SeaScapes seeks to bring this incredible hidden heritage to life.

Our Coast, Our Wildlife 

Project Lead: National Trust 

A conservation and engagement project to protect and enhance the national heritage of our species-rich habitat along coastal cliffs and slopes. Key project activity will be:

▪ Protecting and enhancing the unique species rich maritime grasslands along our cliff and slope habitat, through habitat improvement

▪ Undertaking wildlife surveys recording key species to increase the knowledge of the invertebrate communities of these cliffs.

▪ Celebrating the importance of this coast for butterflies and moths, increasing the habitat range for important species.

▪ Providing engagement opportunities for local people to increase appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of the unique flora and fauna.

Intertidal Interactive 

Project Lead: Durham Wildlife Trust 

An overarching project which aims to provide opportunities for local people to engage with SeaScapes marine and coastal wildlife through events, activities, wildlife recording groups and citizen science. The project will provide a range of opportunities for people to explore, discover and record the natural heritage of the coast and marine area.

Intertidal Interaction will empower local people to take action to discover, record, monitor and celebrate the natural heritage of the SeaScapes Coast. From cetaceans to crustaceans, fulmars to shellfish, and urchins to invertebrates, there is a natural treasure trove waiting, Intertidal Interaction gives people the keys to unlock these jewels.

Beneath the Waves

Project Lead: Newcastle University

Using immersive activity, this project aims to reveal the hidden heritage (natural and maritime), bringing it to audiences previously not capable of accessing this world beneath the waves.

It will create opportunities for our local communities and new visitors to interact and experience the marine environment, both physically and virtually, to increase appreciation, enjoyment and promote an understanding of our seascape, while enhancing the capacity of existing underwater explorers to appreciate multiple dimensions of their marine heritage.

This project will address both natural and cultural heritage streams, building capacity in each by encouraging divers to find out more about 1) the wrecks they dive and their history and 2) the natural habitats at local dive sites and the species that inhabit them; both encouraging ownership of and advocacy for the marine environment.

Wave Basin Battery 

Project Lead: City of Sunderland 

The Wave Basin Battery is Grade 2 listed and adjacent to the old South Pier in Sunderland Harbour. This project will clear vegetation, consolidate and make safe the existing structure.

The Battery was built between 1859-60 by the War Office as one of several coastal batteries constructed during this period in response to the fear of a French invasion. Others in the immediate area include the Heugh Battery at Hartlepool and the Lighthouse Battery, together with the refortification of the 18th-century Abbs Battery at Roker. 


Project lead: Newcastle University 

Food habits are always changing. Some practices have become less common (certain traditions like eating wild birds’ eggs are now illegal, whilst others seem to be fading away, for example, winkles/willicks and whelks were a common food until just a few years ago). A few food practices have even been lost completely (for example, the North-East would once have had its own seaweed eating traditions but these can now only be imagined).  Still other dietary habits have been gained (from Viking techniques for smoking fish to Japanese uses for seaweed the food we eat is influenced by the people who have come to live here).  

Foodscapes is a research project with three strands: Food Heritage, Food Today and Food Futures. We are investigating the changing coastal food practices, folklore and traditions of individuals, families, communities and industries all along our coast. Whether that is catching, gathering, preparing or eating fish, shellfish, shore plants or even seaweed we want to hear your stories and experiences to add to our food atlas of the region.  We hope that together we can write the next chapter for our foodscape – celebrating, protecting, maintaining and respecting our communities, our food, and our shores and seas.