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County Durham
Ryhope Village Green
Location: 54°52’4"N, 1°22’11"W
Population: 10,484  (2011)
Post town: Sunderland
Postcode: SR2
Dialling code: 0191
Local Government
Council: Sunderland
Sunderland Central

Ryhope is a coastal village in County Durham, immediately to the south of Sunderland, with a population of approximately 14,000, measured at 10,484 in the 2011 census. Ryhope is three miles from the centre of Sunderland and three miles too from the centre of Seaham.

The older village section is centred on a triangular 'green', which contains a war monument. The newer 'Colliery' area of Ryhope flanks the Ryhope Street/Tunstall Bank road, which lead toward the Tunstall and Silksworth areas of Sunderland.


The A1018 'Southern Radial Route', which opened in 2008, bypasses Ryhope along the clifftops and takes traffic toward the Port of Sunderland in Hendon and other routes to the centre and north of Sunderland. The B1287 Sea View Road links Ryhope with the town of Seaham to the south.

Ryhope is surrounded by farmland meaning it is a relatively isolated suburb of Sunderland.

A number of cycle routes run through the village, including the National Cycle Network Route number 1 which is looked after by a local team of Sustrans Rangers. The Rangers have their own website for assistance and feedback on the cycle routes in Wearside this is www.cycle-routes.org/wearsiderangers.


Ryhope (from the Old English reof hoppas, meaning 'rough valley'[1]) is first mentioned in AD 930 when king Athelstan granted the land of Bishopwearmouth (including the township of Ryhope) to the Bishop of Chester-le-Street.

In 1183 the Boldon Book records that there were 22 recorded villeins in Ryhope. In 1380 the population had swollen to approximately 150. In 1860 common grazing land was split into plots, which radiated out in strips from the village green. Ryhope's proximity to the sea has allowed it to serve as a seaside destination for centuries. The beach is said to have been a favourite sea-bathing spot for the Bishop of Durham.

Located on the Durham coalfield, it was inevitable that Ryhope would follow the path of many other villages in the area, and abandon agriculture as the main employeer in favour of coal. In 1859 a colliery was opened, causing huge changes in the geography of the village. The settlement of Ryhope extended west toward the area of Tunstall, creating two distinct areas of Ryhope; the 'Village' and the 'Colliery' (the post-war, council-built estate of 'Hollycarrside' forms a third section.) Railway lines were introduced to the area, linking Ryhope to Sunderland, Seaham and other Durham Coalfield mining villages. Now only a single railway line runs through the village, although there is no longer a station. The colliery was closed in 1966.

Second World War

In March 1944 Ryhope was the scene of the conclusion of the epic last flight of the Handley Page Halifax bomber LK797 from RAF Bomber Command's raid on Nuremberg, which crash-landed in Ryhope, resulting in Pilot Officer Cyril Barton being posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.


The village's most-visited man-made landmark is Ryhope Engines Museum, based on the Ryhope Pumping Station which was built in 1868 to supply water to the Sunderland area.

Among natural features, Ryhope adjoins Tunstall Hills which afford spectacular views of the entire city of Sunderland and far beyond (on a clear day, down the coast almost to Whitby.) The Tunstall Hills are located on the southern outskirts of Sunderland between (New) Silksworth and Ryhope. The disused quarries and cuttings at Tunstall Hills provide exposure through part of the Magnesian Limestone succession of Permian age. Gentle slopes on the "Maiden Paps" section support species such as blue moor-grass, common rock-rose, perennial flax and locally uncommon plants such as Frog Orchid, Autumn Gentian and Purple Milk-Vetch. These areas have been designated a "site of special scientific interest" (SSSI).

Ryhope has a large number of public houses for a village of its size. These include the Blue Bell, Railway Inn, Guide Post, Top House, Albion, The Queen's Head and Forrester's Arms in addition to several private clubs.

There is a King George V Playing Field in the village.


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Ryhope)