Tunstall Hills - the Goddess in the landscape.....



View from the north showing the magnesian limestone 'breasts' (paps) of Tunstall Hills


Tunstall Hills lie to the SW of Sunderland (Grid Reference: NZ 391546, NZ 393540 and NZ 399537) and are one of the most distinctive features of the Sunderland landscape. Historically named The Maidens Paps because of their shape and the proximity of the two hills, They are now a designated nature reserve.

Saved from conversion to a golf course by public outcry and the creation of the Tunstall Hills Protection Group, they are a well used social amenity: and not only for dog walking!



Easter visitors


Throughout his life, William lived within a mile of Tunstall Hills and they very much underpinned his goddess concepts. The idea of gods and goddesses being an intrinsic part of the landscape goes back to the days of the great henges in Britain and one which is represented in all cultures.



The view across Sunderland


The hills are a great vantage point too and on a good day, much of the old Northumbria can be seen, from the Cleveland Hills in the south to the Cheviot in the north. To the west can be seen the moors of the Pennines and the hill Warden Law, where St Cuthberts coffin was said to have rested before its arrival in Durham. To the east the coastline from Kettleness in Yorkshire to the south, up to Blyth in Northumberland, in the north, can be seen.  This is a massive vista for hills just over 300 feet high and it was to revitalise and inspire William throughout his life. He last walked on the hills only 3 days before he died.

The Maidens Paps featured in the poem Wiramutha Helix, from the book Hinny Beata:




















William at the trig point of the slightly higher 'rocky' hill. Behind is the village of New Silksworth where he was born.