Hart Warren Dunes Local Nature Reserve

This is the only magnesium limestone dune system of any significance in the British Isles, a SSSI and supports a rich variety of both flora and fauna.

With spectacular sea views and rare calcareous grassland Hart Warren Dunes is also home to a colony of Little Tern, who nest at the northern end of the site at Crimdon. The nesting area is fenced annually by Hartlepool Borough Council's Countrysde Team and INCA and other partner groups, who organise wardens to visit the area to assist in the conservation of this rare bird. The Little Terns arrive in April each year and nest on the foreshore in shallow scrapes just above the high tide. They return to West Africa at the end of August.

Many species of butterflies are found here; the dunes have a breeding colony of the rare Durham (or Northern) Argus Butterfly which feeds on the rock rose growing along the coast in this area, the rare Dingy Skipper an also be found here.

Damp hollows on top of the dunes support many species of orchid including two regionally rare species; the Burnt Tip and Pyramidal Orchid.

The site suffers from major erosion caused by a combination of tidal effects and the course of the Crimdon Beck.

Hart Warren Dunes also feature some Second World War historical interest, the site contains a number of Second World War defences, including pill boxes, anti tank obstacles and a battery and bombing decoy.


Hart Warren Dunes is located south of Crimdon Beck but has limited access due to the nature of the site. Access is possible either by approaching the site along the beach from Crimdon to the north or the Headland to the south.

Alternately, there is a Public Right of Way which accesses the area via the footbridge on the Hart to Haswell Walkway on Ocean Road.

Grid Ref: NZ 491 365

Local Map