A Walk on the Wild Side
The best way to explore Northumberland is on foot. You’ll get up close to some wonderful native wildlife while you walk off that tasty pub lunch!
If you’re heading to the coast you’ll be spoiled for choice. Think wide sandy beaches, often with only a handful of dog walkers for company, interspersed with mighty castles and seaside villages offering local delicacies. Here, in no particular order, are some of the best beach walks within easy reach of Eshott (all are dog friendly, year-round).
Craster Beach, NE66 3TR
Home to the famous smoked kippers, some lovely art galleries and the starting (or finishing) point for some fabulous coastal walks. You’ll find a small, sandy beach within the harbour with shingle beaches on either side. Head north to Low Newton across National Trust land to the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, one of the most photographed sites in the county and named as one of the top ten walks in the whole of the UK. Toilets and a pay and display car park are located behind the Tourist Office. You can book to look around the castle (English Heritage) and then head back to Craster (4 miles round trip), or continue onto Low Newton via Embleton Bay for a longer leg stretch.
Embleton Bay, NE66 3XQ
A natural beauty. Fine golden sand, big skies and with the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in view this beach doesn’t disappoint. It was voted Best Beach in the UK by BBC Countryfile Magazine’s readers. Park in the village of Low Newton, where you’ll find a couple of shops and a pub and walk towards Craster for a decent leg stretch.
Bamburgh Beach, NE69 7DF
A pristine, and often wind-swept, sandy beach with arguably the most iconic backdrop of all Northumberland’s beaches: the majestic Bamburgh Castle. Sand dunes offering a diverse mix of flora and fauna, interesting rock pools and views out to the Inner Farne Islands: this beach has it all. But do wrap up warm whatever the season!
Seahouses, NE68 7SU
A vast stretch of sandy beach with low grassy dunes to one side and far reaching views to the Farne Islands on the other. Popular with dog walkers and wildlife spotters alike courtesy of the UK’s largest colony of grey seals, puffins and other native sea birds seen from the Farne Islands. You’ll find plenty of shops, eateries and other amenities in the town of Seahouses. The 3-mile linear walk from Seahouses harbour to the mighty Bamburgh castle is one of the county’s best. Following the coastal path that runs along the beach this easy, flat route takes in attractive sand dunes, wildflowers and views to the nearby Farne Islands. Better still, is the sight of Bamburgh Castle, a stunning backdrop for the duration of the walk.
Beadnell Beach, NE67 5BN
Golden sands running along a wide, horseshoe-shaped bay, backed by grassy dunes – just perfect for a bracing coastal walk at any time of year. Please note there are some seasonal restrictions in Beadnell Bay during bird breeding season when dogs must be kept on a lead or at heel. You’ll find a pay-and-display car park on the outskirts of the village, with access to the beach via a slipway. There are also public toilets here and variety of shops in Beadnell itself.
Alnmouth Beach, NE66 2RW
A wide, sandy beach that is seldom busy (and very often empty) where dogs are free to run, unrestricted, year-round. The village of Alnmouth offers a small selection of pubs and shops.
Druridge Bay Country Park, NE61 5BX
Few places compare with the seven mile-stretch of beach that runs from Amble in the north to Cresswell in the south where the Northumberland Coast Path starts. Enjoy the fabulous beach, sand dunes and rock pools as well as the nature reserves where you’ll spot a myriad of migrating birds. The area is popular for walkers, horse riders and cyclists as well as those trying their hand at water sports. Druridge Bay Country Park has all the amenities you will need to enjoy a day at the coast with toilets, cafe and children’s play area.
Inland, the walks are no less stunning. The Northumberland National Park which takes in the uplands of the Cheviot Hills and the dramatic landscapes of the border valleys to the Scottish border, is blessed with some of the finest scenery the UK has to offer. You’ll find plenty of trails to suit those wanting a strenuous hike as well as those wanting something a little more sedate. One of the best sources of inspiration is the National Park website itself:
Linhope Spout Waterfall
One of our favourite little-known spots is the truly magnificent Linhope Spout waterfall, an 18m chute of water landing in a 5m circular plunge pool that provides the perfect place for a picnic and a paddle (or a very refreshing and liberating dip if you’re feeling brave).
It’s another of Northumberland’s relatively hidden gems by virtue of the fact that it can only be reached on foot via a rather lovely 1.5-mile walk (each way) on country roads, tracks and moorland. Take a 30-minute drive from Eshott Hall to Hartside Farm at Ingram where you can leave the car, don your boots and set off with some spare clothes and a picnic (we’d be happy to provide one) to the waterfall.
We aren’t promising you the biggest waterfall in the world but we think that nothing quite beats the sound of a torrent of water to feel close to nature. The views along the way are spectacular but don’t be too distracted that you forget to look out for wildlife. You may be lucky enough to see herons, curlews, sand martins and shy red squirrels as well as an abundance of other native species.
What you won’t see is a café, an ice cream van or any public conveniences. And that’s why we like it. Unspoilt and tranquil.
Head back to Eshott Hall for a relaxing soak in the bath and some well-earned refreshments!