THE NORTH NORTHUMBERLAND COAST
(from Warkworth to Holy Island)
region steeped in history

land of history and sandy beaches


The official Northumberland coast web-site

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( Many properties and land on Northumberland coast are owned by the National Trust)

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Warkworth Seahouses
Craster Farne Islands
Alnwick
Dunstanburgh Castle Bamburgh
Lower Newton-on-Sea Holy Island

assume-xml-procins: no 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.
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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.




Warkworth church








14th Century bridge Warkworth

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 North Sea

Just three miles inland from Alnmouth is the town of Alnwick , which from the 14th century was the home of the Percy family. It was formerly the county town of Northumberland (which was ceded to Newcastle, and after the formation of Tyne & Wear to Morpeth). Today it is an attractive and bustling market town serving a large area, with many grand granite buildings. It is best known for its castle, founded by the Normans but renovated over the centuries and the newly dveloped Alnwick Gardens, with its impressive water-fountains. One of the medieval town gates, the Hotspur Gate still marks the southern entrance to the town


Street in Alnwick

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.
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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 Lower Newton-on-Sea . 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

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Low Newton bay (looking toward Dunstanburgh
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Sqaure with Ship Inn, Low Newton

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.
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Longstone Lighthouse

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 public.



Bamburgh castle

Bamburh Castle keep

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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.
Visit my new site about Holy Island

nave of Lindisfarne Priory