Beach Activities

A useful guide for making your visit more enjoyable

There are a lot of things we do to help make your visit or walk enjoyable, however you may not be aware of some of the rules and guidelines we have in place. Below is listed some valuable information:


Beaches and Special Sites under Council Management and Licence

Download map to see the 8 Key locations


Clean Seas

In 2017 the United Nation (UN) Environment launched #CleanSeas with the aim of engaging governments, the public, community groups and the private sector in the effort to reduce marine plastic litter.

Over the next five years, the UN will look to address the root-cause of marine litter by targeting the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic. For more information go to the Clean Seas web site.

he Marine Conservation Society is also tackling this issue (see balloon releases below) in relation to the waters around the UK.  Their web pages explain our responsibilities when considering the marine environment.


Your Safety and our Lifeguard Service

The Council provides a Lifeguard Service on certain beaches between July and August, covering Seaton Carew, Block Sands and Fish Sands.

Council’s Beach Lifeguard Service information

Crown Estate and Metal Detecting

The Crown Estate is the area of the beach between the mean low tide and mean high tide lines. View the Interactive Map for details.  

Hartlepool Borough Council leases the land from the crown and its duties include the licensing of vehicular traffic on the Estate. The Sea Coalers are granted an annual license to drive on the foreshore.  Most foreshore metal detecting takes place on Crown Estate land and information is found on their website.

For non Crown Estate beach/foreshore, the Council follows Crown Estate guidelines.

Seaton Carew Wreck Site

The wreck of a collier is located buried under sand behind the Bus Station on Seaton Sands and it is legally protected.  

Interactive Ship Wreck Map

Dogs on Beaches

Some of Hartlepool’s beaches have Public Space Protection Orders (Dog Control) placed on them, between 1 May to 30 September.  Other beach areas are covered by year-round Dog Exclusions.  Visit our Public Space Protection Orders (Dog Control) page for further information.



Litter is an important issue for both the Council and the public.  The Council aims to keep the beach clear of litter through the provision of litter bins, beach cleaning, volunteer help, and beach cleaning events.  We ask that you dispose of your litter responsibly, using the bins that are provided.

Motor Vehicles and Access onto the Beach

With a greater need for safe access onto our beaches, the Council has considered vehicular access to the beach and has determined which types of vehicle are permitted.  Regarding access to beaches, the following definitions apply:

Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (MPVs) are vehicles that we normally see on our roads. They include cars, 4x4s, motorbikes and quad bikes.  All vehicles that are road worthy, insured, taxed and/or licensed for use on roads, as a means of transport, fall within this category.
Non-Mechanically Propelled Vehicles may be used on roads but are more often seen on pavements, walkways and cycleways.  They include bicycles and mobility scooters.

Main access points to beaches have notices explaining the restriction to MPV users under the ‘Road Traffic Act 1988, section 34. Public MPVs are not allowed onto the beaches unless they are licensed, for example for sea coal extraction.

The above does not restrict the use of suitable mobility scooters, on beaches.

Balloon and Chinese/Sky Lantern releases

The Council would ask members and groups of the public to consider not releasing balloons or Chinese/Sky Lanterns on any of the beaches. Evidence shows that deflated balloons in the sea, endanger and kill marine life and break down into particles which can be ingested by marine animals and so enter the food chain up to and including humans.  Chinese or Sky lanterns can be mistaken as distress flares, over water, raising false alarms to the Coastguard and RNLI and so wasting their valuable time and resources.

Please consider the environment and the wider implications of your actions, as they can impact other people, organisations and marine life.


Private Bonfires, BBQs and Fireworks

Private bonfires and the setting off of private fireworks are not allowed on any beaches.  It is hazardous to other beach users and disturbs wildlife, especially internationally important flocks of birds. 

If you are to have a BBQ then only use the manufactured disposable type.  Be responsible and do not leave the BBQ on the beach.  Allow for it to cool down and then pour on sea water on to extinguish the remaining lit embers.  Dispose of the cold BBQ in Council provided bins.  Do not forget to dispose responsibly any other rubbish (cans, bottles, food wrappers etc).


Horse Riding

Horse riding is permitted on beaches if the entry point used, is a location approved by the Council, for example at Seaton Carew ‘Coach Park’ where a  ramp has been provided.

There is a Bye-Law in place stating that horse riders must not ride in a dangerous manner that would cause a nuisance to or be a danger to the public, eg by cantering or galloping.  To those who ignore the bye-law, prosecution can take place and if convicted a fine of up to and including £500.00 can be imposed.

During the busy seasons of the year (bank holidays and summer holidays etc.); the Council requires horse riders to take care not to use areas of beach that are specified as bathing areas or that are heavily populated at the time that they exercise their horse(s).  Horse riders are also required to take care and not cause conflict with other beach users or to disturb shore birds.