Situated in the north of the county, the AAP of Stanley stretches from Quaking Houses in the south to Tanfield in the north, and is centred on the town of Stanley.  The AAP is bordered by Gateshead Borough to the north and by the other AAPs of Chester-le-Street & District, Derwent Valley and Mid Durham.

The Stanley AAP is predominantly ‘urban’ in nature with a population of over 33,300. Covering an area of over 3,650 hectares (14.1 sq. miles), the AAP has a population density of 9.0 (people/hectare), which is over three times that of the county (2.3).

Stanley AAP covers Stanley, along with the settlements of Annfield Plain, Tanfield, Tanfield Lea, Tantobie, South Moor, Craghead, Quaking Houses, the Kyos’ (New, West and East), Greencroft, Catchgate and Harperley.

The town of Stanley is centred on a hilltop between Chester-le-Street and Consett, and lies south west of Gateshead Borough.  The majority of settlements in this area are former pit villages, a legacy of the significant mining undertaken in the area up until the 1980s. Interspersed between the settlements are areas of rough moorland and fells, a reminder that the land which covered the coal was mainly agricultural.