The official Northumberland coast web-site
( Many properties and land on Northumberland coast are owned by the National Trust)
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The Northumberland Coast
The Northumberland coast is known best
for two reasons. First it is an area of holiday villages: there is no
major coastal resort (nearest perhaps is Seahouses). The area inland is
of gentle hills or in parts of a flat and rather bleak landscape. There
are higher hills inland to the west, and the western skyline is
dominated by the curve of the Cheviots, which mark the Scottish border.
The proximity of the border reminds us of the other feature of this coast. There is a history of invasion from the north, which leaves a legacy of castles which seem to dominate the coastal skyscape from Lindisfarne in the north to Warkworth in the south. It is also a region rich in Christian history. From the 6th century it was the cradle of Celtic Christianity in the north of England.
Although so much of the coast is sandy- wide beaches of fine sand (free of shingle), there are periodic outcrops of the volcanic whin-sill rock, which manages to divide the coast into its various bays.
The Coquet river flows south-eastwards
from the Cheviots to enter the sea just north of Amble, formerly a
port; now developing as a marine and fishing centre. Northward three
miles of dune-backed sand stretch northward. Inland and on the north
ban of the Coquet is the village of Warkworth . This is a delightful
village with the broad main street (now the main A1068 road) stretching
down from the castle. The site of an Iron Age fort, of the 12th-13th
century castle all that remains are the walls and the Carrickfergus
tower. At the foot of the hill the street open out into a market place,
at the end of which is the church of St Lawrence
, wholly from the Norman period. The main road crosses the river by a
modern bridge alongside the original 14th century bridge.
The next few miles are mainly rocky. Sitting on top is the RAF
station of Boulmer. Alnmouth
is a fishing village at the point where the river Alan flows into the
In one of the inlets is the fishing village and harbour of Craster . Lobster is one of the main fish caught here. High up above the harbour is one of the few remaining smoke houses, where kipper and salmon are smoked, and served in the Craster restaurant. A former quarry is now managed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust as the Arnold Memorial nature reserve.
North of Craster is Castle Point, where the coast turns to
face north-east rather than due east. Castle Point is so called being
dominated by the ruins of Dunstanbugh
Castle Built in 1314 by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. All that remains is
his gatehouse, which was turned into a keep by John of Gaunt in 1380.
North of Castle Point a wide sandy bay (Embleton Bay)
stretches to Newton Point. Out to sea is number of whin-sill islets. At
the northern end of the bay is the village of
. This is surely Northumberland's hidden treasure. It may be 3 miles
from the nearest shop, but for those who love peace and quiet this is a
haven. It is owned largely by the National Trust, who manage Newton
Pool Nature Reserve where the many birds can be viewed from hides
alongside the coastal footpath Nearest the beach is a square of houses,
originally built as fisherman's houses in the late 18th century. In one
corner is the Ship Inn (where you can eat 'seriously good food': you
need to book in advance for the evening) The hill above the village is
dominated by the coast guard's lookout
North of Newton and Snook Point is Beadnell Bay with Beadnell
village at its northern end. This is in turn gives north of Ebb's Nook
to Annstead Rock at the north end of which is Seahouses
. .This large village comprises two(of which the earlier was North
Sunderland). Later houses were built around the harbour. These were the
'Sea houses' has some pretensions as a resort; the former fishing
village has become somewhat commercialised. The harbour is the starting
point for (daily) sailings to the Farne Islands.
See slideshow There are
14 islands at high water; 26 at low..The islands are best known for the
many birds which nest here, many on the vertical rock faces, and
include puffins, guillemot and shag. There are also colonies of seal to
be seen on Longstone- the furthest island 5 miles out. Longstone also
houses its famous lighthouse- operational for over 160 years and famous
for the rescue of survivors from a stranded boat in a gale in September
1838 by Grace
Darling and her father.
The nearest to shore, some 1 mile out is Inner Farne St Cuthbert died here in 687 and a chapel to his memory was rebuilt in the last century. Arctic Tern nest here in multitude. All the islands are owned by the National Trust.
Dunes near Bamburgh
Puffins on Staple Island
3 miles north of Seahouses is one of Northumbria's main
attractions. The village of Bamburgh
, home to the Grace Darling Museum and home to her grave is dominated
by its castle, perched high on a rock. The Saxon king Ida founded the
kingdom of berinicia in 547 and Bamburgh was almost certainly their
seat. The present castle
dates from the 12th century and its many stately rooms are open to the
North of Bamburgh Waren Mill lies in the sheltered Budle Bay. North of the bay the Fenham mud flats extend north to Holy Island (known earlier as Lindisfarne ). It was always accessible on foot at low tide, at some risk. Now a roadway has been built and can be reached (and left) for two 7-hour periods each day. Oswald, king of Northumbria gave the island to St Aidan in 635. he brought the Christian faith from Ireland to mainland Britain, via Iona, before settling on Lindisfarne. It was the life and teaching of St Cuthbert (d. 687) who made the island a centre of attraction. It was in these early days of British Christianity that the famous Lindisfarne Gospels were written, painstakingly with magnificent illustration. They are one housed in the British Museum, but a copy can be seen on Holy Island in St Mary's church.
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