THE most healthy and unhealthy places in County Durham have been revealed following analysis by experts at the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC).

Specialists at CDRC investigated wellbeing by monitoring pollution levels, the number of parks and recreational spaces in each Tees Valley neighbourhood.

The availability of health services, such as GP surgeries and pharmacies, and the number of takeaways, pubs and gambling shops were also factored in.


Rural areas are likely to score low on the health index due to the distance from healthcare.

Green spaces, such as woods, meadows and parks, or blue space such as rivers, lakes and sea are also referred to as 'blue/green spaces'.

The interactive map tracks CDRC's health index, also known as Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards (AHAH), findings.

The following items are used to calculate an overall AHAH score for areas:

  • Retail environment (access to fast food outlets, pubs, off-licences, tobacconists, gambling outlets)
  • Health services (access to GPs, hospitals, pharmacies, dentists, leisure services)
  • Physical environment (Blue Space, Green Space - Active, Green Space - Passive)
  • Air quality (Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter 10, Sulphur Dioxide)

The Northern Echo: CDRC Indicators: Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards CDRC Indicators: Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards

The lower the score the healthier the area is, which then appears in blue on the map. The higher scores, representing less healthy areas, are red.

Areas are also ranked one to ten on an AHAH scale, with one being the healthiest areas.

Here are some areas in County Durham:

Durham City 

The Northern Echo: County Durham. Picture: CDRCCounty Durham. Picture: CDRC

Durham is neither healthy nor unhealthy, with most of the city being in rated 5 on the AHAH scale. Just Pity Me falls beneath this, being the most unhealthy neighbourhood around Durham city according to the map.

Areas closer to Old Pit Lane are the unhealthiest, ranked nine on the scale and with an overall score of 28. The area ranks low for access to health services, blue/green space and dentists but highly for air quality.

South eat Durham near the cathedral, Langley Moor and areas between the A1 and Ramside Hall are amongst the healthiest in Durham.

Spennymoor and Ferryhill

The Northern Echo: Spennymoor and Ferryhill Picture: CDRCSpennymoor and Ferryhill Picture: CDRC

There is a clear split in Spennymoor between healthy and unhealthy places, with Middlestone Moor and along Clyde Terrace being generally more healthy. This may be due to the proximity to small green spaces.

The neighbouring Binchester Moor, however, is the most unhealthy area in Spennymoor with an AHAH rating of 8 and an overall score of 27.5.

When looking at accessibility to retail, the neighbourhood scores 4 and comes in at 2 on the scale.

In Ferryhill, areas around Broom Road and the nature reserve are more healthy than others in the town, ranking 3 and 4 respectively on the AHAH scale. 

Bishop Auckland and Shildon

The Northern Echo: Bishop Auckland and Shildon. Picture: CDRCBishop Auckland and Shildon. Picture: CDRC

Bishop Auckland is very healthy, with most of its neighbourhoods coming in on top of the AHAH scale. Etherly Dene and Woodhouses are less healthy but not unhealthy. 

The town performs well for air quality and off licences while the outskirts of the town ranked low for access to GPs. 

Shildon has healthier pockets, especially around Auckland Terrace. This may be due to the closeness of Hackworth Park. When looking solely at retail accessibility, this same area does not rank highly. 

Newton Aycliffe

The Northern Echo: Newton Aycliffe. Picture: CDRCNewton Aycliffe. Picture: CDRC

The west side of Newton Aycliffe is unhealthy, ranking 9 on the AHAH scale, with an overall score of 30. This area sits between School Aycliffe and Aycliffe Village. 

The healthiest neighbourhood is by Woodham park, ranking 2 on the AHAH scale. 


The Northern Echo: Sedgefield. Picture: CDRCSedgefield. Picture: CDRC

Sedgefield is a mixed bag, with neighbourhoods next door to each other having different health scores.

Along Durham and Station Road, neighbourhoods rank 3 on the AHAH scale while across the road comes in 2. This makes up the healthy parts of the town. 

Edges of Sedgefield by the A689 rank 8, with an overall score of 27.1, making it the least healthy area.