190. Amble to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

The view from my bedroom at the B&B faced onto the sea front and came with a wide panoramic view out across the North Sea and the lights of Blyth some 8 miles away, the view also enabled me to be treated to a beautiful sunrise. The B&B had let me leave my car parked there while I walked back from Amble. I needed to get two buses again today. The first was the X21 to Ashington, the second was the X20 which called at virtually every village before arriving at Amble 45 minutes later.

The weather was again beautiful and on arriving Amble I quickly headed for the spot I finished yesterdays walk. Within 20 minutes I had dropped down to the beach, where I spent the next 2 hours walking. At Low Hauxley I found a brilliant section of an  exposed ancient forest sandwiched between the lower glacial boulder clay and the upper dune system. The ancient forest was about a metre thick and composed of rich black peat, interspersed with large tree trunks. The forest was discovered in 2016 after rising sea levels cut back the dunes and has been dated at 7000 years old.

As I rounded a small point I entered Druridge Bay; this is a long sweeping sandy bay stretching for about 5 miles towards the village of Cresswell. I could also make out the power station at Lynemouth in the far distance. The underfoot conditions along the beach was  on firm sand and  a joy to walk. Unfortunaetly, the low sun made for poor photographs of any anything towards the south. I made excellent progress, passing small groups of people out with their dogs enjoying the late autumnal sunshine.

Coquet Island
Ancient forest sandwiched between Lower Boulder Clay and Upper Dune system
The view south down Druridge Bay
Looking back north along Druridge Bay

I eventually re-joined a minor road at Cresswell, running adjacent to the shore. The road headed straight towards the Power station but then swung around into the village of Lynemouth. The village of Lynemouth and the surrounding area has a rich heritage of coal mining where coal was extracted at a number of collieries up until the early 2000’s. The road passes the Power Station which looks at first glance to be dormant. However, ongoing work to convert the station to a biomass electricity generating station have been underway for some time. I turned left towards the main gate of the Power station  and then took a public footpath which shepherded walkers through a gate in the high perimeter fence onto the open golf links. I headed around the outside of the golf course heading first to Beacon Point and then along the links all the way into Newbiggin.

Memorial to Lynemouth Colliery
Miners Institute Lynemouth
Lynemouth power station
Walkers path close to power station main entrance
Heading to Beacon Point
Arriving at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

Distance today = 15 miles
Total distance = 3,337 miles

 

 

 

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189. Craster to Amble

No chance of a clear two days in Scotland, so I opted to continue my walk down the east coast of England  following the Northumberland Coastal Path. I set off early from Shropshire, this time continuing on up the M6 and then cutting east across country from Carlisle. I made good time and parked in the small coastal town of Amble. Here, I caught the X18 bus to Alnwick, where I got off and waited 20 minutes to catch the #418 to continue my journey to Craster.

It was a beautiful, clear, still, dry and sunny morning as I set off south along the Northumberland Coastal Path. Most of this path runs very close to the shoreline, it is well-marked and wide. From the footfall, I could see  it receives a lot of visitors and you can understand why, with the numerous castles and expansive sandy beaches. Although sunny, the slight breeze has a sharp ‘bite’. The first village I arrive at is Boulmer, a collection of houses and a pub right on the shoreline, giving its name to an old RAF airfield close by. I continue south and begin walking along the beach.

I entered the small village of Alnmouth, situated at the mouth of the River Aln where it enters the North Sea. The riverside path linking the town with the bridge across the Aln is closed for repairs. I walk through the town, cross the River Aln and continue a short distance along the A1086 before heading back towards the coastal dunes. The dunes are quite high and I get fantastic views south towards Amble and the offshore island of Coquet.

Looking back at Craster with Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance
Footbridge over the Howick Burn at Iron Scars
Looking back at Boulmer
Limestone “pavement” near Seaton Point
Looking back at Alnmouth
Looking towards Amble across Buston Links

I continue along the coast before cutting inland slightly to cross the River Coquet at Warkworth. The River Coquet forms a meandering loop around the town with the large and impressive ruins of Warkworth castle dominating the skyline. I continue along the A1068 which follows the River Coquet until it reaches the North Sea at Amble. Before I reach Amble I pass a weir on the Coquet, complete with fish ladder. The weir was probably constructed to keep a steady water level around Warkworth, as the river has a large tidal range. I spot a grey seal in the river, almost a mile inland! I head into Amble following the shoreline and out along the South Jetty, which is a large wooden structure running along the river and out into the sea. There is a lighthouse at the end of the jetty.

I locate my car and drive south to the small coastal town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and book myself into my B&B for the night at The Old Ship Inn.

The gatehouse to the Old Bridge across the River Coquet at Warkworth
Looking down towards the Market Cross at Warkworth
Warkworth Castle
Warkworth Castle
Looking back along the River Coquet to Warkworth
Weir with fish ladder on the River Coquet
Heading into Amble along the River Coquet
Late afternoon on the South Jetty at Amble

 

Distance today = 15 miles
Total distance = 3,322 miles