Sedgefield News

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What a response!

Last month’s cycling article brought forth such an avalanche of ideas that within a few days 9 people were engaged in a pretty lively online discussion, and one thing became clear very quickly. We’re interested in improved access for everyone, pedestrians, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, pushchairs... so what can we do? Well, maybe make a suggestion on Street Space County Durham, DCC’s consultation on what needs to be done now to ensure space for physical distancing.

Go to and have your say or agree/disagree with other people’s ideas.
The first time you comment you have to answer a number of questions but that is a one off. After that it recognises your email address. So far, suggestions include widening paths and reducing speed limits. There’s also an option to say if the change should be permanent so, is there a dropped kerb which would make wheeled access easier?
What do you think about reducing the speed limit in Sedgefield?
Would you like more pedestrian crossings and if so, where?

Go to Street Space and make your voice heard.
But it isn’t all about waiting for others to do things. An offer on Facebook has seen bikes being given a new lease of life, and when lockdown eases, we hope to include a bike repair stall at the Farmers Market. There’s also a feeling that travel to school initiatives, local taxi service, even car free events in the village are all within our control. It’s just a case of going for it. Of course we are all road users, so perhaps a good starting point is to be aware of our own behaviour and be considerate.

Our email address is at the foot of this page. Jo & Mark (Your Letters) have told us what they think. You can too!
Thanks to Jane Spink for use of her painting

Why I joined the discussion about cycling and walking routes.

I would not call myself a cyclist, in fact I am very nervous on a bike. When we go for family outings Dad leads the way, our two boys follow, and no one can tell I am putting on a brave face. There are so many great places to explore locally, yet we take the bikes by car to safe parks and trails away from traffic. This goes against our hopes to reduce our car use and enjoy our environment.

My boys go to Sedgefield Hardwick and because we live in Bradbury there is no public transport, so this means a twice daily car trip to do the school-run. The areas around both schools have a huge number of cars and our children are rightly being taught sustainable values, to walk, cycle, and use public transport where possible. But for us, and others living in the villages around Sedgefield, it is not currently an option.

Before lock-down I would get requests from the kids “to come to school on our bike so we can save the environment”. A few small modifications might make all the difference – over-grown paths cleared, safer places to cross, or a way on to existing paths around the roundabouts. How might we make it easier for bikes, wheelchairs, and pushchairs to enjoy our local area? The council is inviting suggestions, so now is time to share your thoughts about the routes around and in Sedgefield.

Although my husband and 9-year old try to cycle along the A689 to get to Hardwick Park the road is currently far too dangerous in places. We dream of a safer route to Sedgefield and might then be able to make cycling to school and work part of our new routine. We could even walk home after enjoying a night out with friends supporting local establishments too!
Jo Gooding

A commuter’s lockdown

I have lived in Sedgefield for 14 years and been a cyclist since my teens, so I consider myself to be relatively confident on the road, but during lockdown I have greatly enjoyed the quieter roads. I have commuted by bike far more than before, and my half hour ride to our school in Billingham has been a fantastic way to arrive at work feeling good, and a great way to unwind after a busy day. I am healthier for having been able to get some exercise, and even the hill at Wynyard Hall has been if not easier, a little more manageable! I’ve also saved a small fortune in petrol.

I really think we have an opportunity at present to make a great start in changing to a more sustainable, cheaper, more enjoyable and healthier way of getting around, particularly in a little village like ours. Other than for commuting to work, most of the journeys we make are very local and can easily be made by walking or by bikes, and I would love for more people to be able to use these modes of transport for getting around the village.

I would also love for people to be able to connect up our communities to the other facilities nearby – the other villages nearby could be linked together by good paths and cycle ways, and then we could look at how to link up to the National Cycleway and the larger towns of Stockton and Billingham. Of course, the people of these communities could also cycle to visit Sedgefield, bringing in much needed business. It would be really wonderful to engage with other people who would like to get into more active travel. The range of bikes is huge, including e-bikes that make things easier if you need a hand; there is something for everyone. It may seem a scary idea to swap the car for the bike for some of our journeys, but the worst part is taking that first step.
Mark Darling

Regular Feature

Greener Sedgefield

Each year the warmer weather gets people out in their gardens, but lockdown has posed difficulties for gardeners when it came to getting plants, compost and fertiliser. Every year billions are spent in garden centres across the UK, but plants often come quite a distance before they are sold locally.

Plant trays often aren't recyclable by local authorities, although some nurseries and stores do take them back for reuse. Or you can use them for growing your own plants. This year seed sales soared as more people took to growing their own plants and vegetables. There was also the added concern of vegetable supplies not being as reliable, so many have opened up areas of their gardens to growing at home. It's quite satisfying and reduces your carbon footprint when some products will have travelled many miles to get to you. Choosing what to grow can also influence wildlife coming into your garden. Plenty of seed packets show if they will attract bees and butterflies. Leaves, once decomposed provide a good natural fertilizer, placing less reliance on chemicals. The Woodland Trust recommend putting weeds in water for a few weeks to make a natural fertilizer so nothing harmful is added to the soil and then washed into our waterways and as most gardens have weeds it's a free resource.

Making your own compost does take a little time but is fairly easy to do; you're just using what you'd normally throw away, like vegetable peelings. There's plenty of information online of what to put in your compost bin and what to avoid. There are clever systems like Bokashi bins, where you can have a natural fertilizer in just a few weeks without the need for a bin in your garden. Purchased compost often contains peat which when removed from peat bogs, damages the habitat. Also, spreading peat releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Making your own reduces both factors. As for keeping the garden watered, consider a water butt so you're not using the tap. Re-using the water from a paddling pool to water the garden ensures less waste. You could plant drought resistant plants like hebe and lavender so less water is needed to keep the garden happy.

Lockdown has inspired people to adjust the way we do most things, gardening included, so how green are your fingers?

27th Ceddesfeld Beer Festival falls victim to Covid19

It is with great sadness and regret that due to the pandemic, this year’s annual beer festival has been cancelled.

The first Ceddesfeld Beer Festival was part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary, in July 1993, of the building of Ceddesfeld Hall. Dr David Jenkins was Bishop of Durham at the time and he came and planted a tree!

SCA will look forward to next year’s event and wish to thank all volunteers, sponsors, and visitors past and present for supporting this event over the years.

How to prevent Type 2 diabetes:

Interview by Paul Savage with Skerne Medical Practice The chances are you already know someone with type 2 diabetes. Over 3.8 million people are living with diabetes in the UK and a further 1 million are thought to have the disease but are yet to be diagnosed. If you are over 40 years old and white, or over 25 and with a black African Caribbean, black African or South Asian ethnicity, you have a 1 in 10 chance of having type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious illness and is a major cause of complications such as amputation, blindness, stroke and renal failure. People with diabetes are no more likely to catch coronavirus, but they are more vulnerable to developing a severe illness if they do.

The good news is that it is possible to delay, or even stop, type 2 diabetes from developing. I talked to Annette, Practice Nurse at Skerne Medical Practice, to understand more about the condition and how it can be prevented.

Some patients have a blood sugar level which is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. This is called pre-diabetes and can be identified by a blood sugar test called an HbA1c level. It means raised glucose within the blood cells and signifies a higher risk of developing diabetes and / or heart disease.

Around 80% of cases of type 2 diabetes could be delayed or prevented through making lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy balanced diet (low in salt, sugar and fat) rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as being physically active, is the best way of reducing your risk. It has been shown that losing 5% of your body weight could half your chance of becoming diabetic.

Even if you’re not overweight, maintaining a healthy weight through eating well and being active is an important part of managing blood glucose levels and avoiding other health complications.
The main things to consider are:
Lose weight if you are overweight or maintain a healthy weight.
Reduce the total amount of fat in your diet. Replace saturated (animal) fat with monounsaturated fat (olive, rapeseed and vegetable oils and spreads). These should still be used sparingly if overweight.
Include at least one or two portions of oily fish each week.
Have five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
Choose sugar free, diet or No Added Sugar drinks. Limit sugary foods.
Eat 3 meals daily including something starchy such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta or breakfast cereals.
Reduce salt & salty foods. Flavour foods with pepper, herbs & spices instead
There is evidence that 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week can help improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. If this is not possible some activity rather than none is beneficial.
Smoking not only causes lung cancer, but greatly increases the risk of stroke and heart disease especially for people with pre-diabetes. There is a great deal of support available for people who want to stop smoking. Your practice reception will be able to provide the information of how to access the smoking cessation services.
To check if you are in danger of being pre-diabetic head to You will be asked a few questions (you need to know your height, weight and waist size) then you will get a score showing your risk. If you have any concerns, please contact your surgery for more information and advice.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious illness that has long term health implications, but you can take steps to delay or prevent it. Please take care and stay safe

Foodbank still needs help

During the lockdown period, the Foodbank distribution point has continued to operate every Tuesday afternoon from Trimdon Village Hall, with strict social distancing protocols in place. A number of people have accessed the service requiring support with food poverty, in particular, those who have found themselves unable to earn a living due to the closure of businesses. Donations of NON PERISHABLE food items are needed more than ever at the moment. They can be put in the bins in the Co-op in Sedgefield (placed near the self service tills) and in Trimdon Village, as well as the bins by the check outs in Sainsbury’s in Sedgefield. Obviously with all churches currently closed the collection bins in our church buildings cannot be used. Please continue to support food bank if you are able to, when you do your weekly shop.

Sedgefield News: from the past

by Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller, for Sedgefield Local History Society.

In July 1820 – 200 years ago
The Rev. W Middleton had placed notices in a number of newspapers letting people know that the ‘Professional and Mercantile Seminary’ in Sedgefield would re-open, and advising them of the fees charged.
In July 1920 – 100 years ago
Following the end of World War One, both jobs and accommodation were scarce. Hardwick Park was advertising for some Stable Helpers, who would receive Bed and Mess-room and be paid £2 and 5s a week Sedgefield RDC was considering a request from West Cornforth Comrades of the Great War to convert a hut into a dwelling house for their steward as he could not find accommodation locally.
In July 1870 – 150 years ago
The Durham Regatta had taken place. The Steward’s Plate was won by the Lady Mortimer (Cambridge) crew. It was noted that there were a number of local rowers in the crew, including the son of the MP for Stockton, Joseph Dodds and R. Ord from Sedgefield.
For more about your local history, visit Facebook/Sedgefield Local History Society

Sew Easy

Lovely photos received by super-stitchers, Dorothy & Gloria, with this message from Newton Aycliffe & Shildon Health Visitor Service. “Thank you for your kind gesture.” “We scrub up well!”

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Sedgefield Energy Switch is a new initiative from Sedgefield Development Trust.

Working together with iChoosr, we're trying to help Sedgefield residents save money on their domestic gas and electricity bills. Sedgefield still continue to have the highest switching rate in the country.

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Sedgefield Farmers Market is held every first Sunday of the Month, on the village green, from 8.30am to 12.30pm. The market has about 20 stall holders each month, varying throughout the seasons, providing meats, vegatables, Handmade pies, pastries and cakes, Fish, Spices, Cheeses and more.

To book a stall call Roger Clubley: 01740 620609, email Farmers Market:

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