Part of the Northumberland Coast was designated as an AONB in 1958. The AONB covers an area of 138 sq km along 64km of the Northumbrian coastline between the Coquet Estuary at Warkworth and the Tweed estuary at Berwick upon Tweed. Below are 5 short day walks which cover some of the Northumbrian coastal islands, plus some portions of the AONB and the 65 mile Northumberland Coast Path. I have included maps, although a map isn’t essential for the short walk around Inner Farne as there is information available on the island. Obviously some of these walks are affected by the tide so it is worth checking tide times before you go to ensure your safety.
- Holy Island (Lindisfarne) Coast Path. 6.8 miles / 11 km. Leisurely.
- Farne Islands Cruise landing on Inner Farne. 1 mile / 1.5 km. Easy.
- Craster, Dunstanburgh & Low Newton circular walk. 8 miles / 13 km. Leisurely
- Craster, Howick and Dunstanburgh Castle circular walk. 6.5 miles / 10.5 km. Leisurely
- Budle Bay & Bamburgh Circular. 4.5 miles / 7 km. Leisurely
Maps on this post are courtesy of Viewranger, the National Trust and Ordnance Survey ©. All these routes except Inner Farne are available to download on Viewranger
Holy Island (Lindisfarne) Coast Path. 6.5 miles
This Lindisfarne Circular is a 6.8 mile walk around the island starting at Lindisfarne Priory before heading around the harbour towards Lindisfarne Castle, restored by Lutyens, and the castle garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Just beyond the castle, you join the raised wagon way which starts at the old lime kilns and heads around the coast towards the northern shore. From the north eastern corner of the island the route continues westwards past the lime quarry along the tops of the dunes or along the quiet, sandy beaches. Continue westwards along the coast until you see the crenelated tower of the Snook to your left. Here you turn to cross the dunes and when you reach the building, you turn south east along the broad track which soon joins the causeway road back into the village. Paid for parking is available on the outskirts of the village and there are cafes, pubs and shops in the village.
Walkers should beware of the pirri pirri bur which grows from June to October on the island. It attaches to fabric, blankets, fur and clothing and is very difficult to remove.
Around Inner Farne on Farne Island Cruise from Seahouses. 1 mile
For this walk around Inner Farne, one of the nearest of the Farne Islands, I took a cruise from Seahouses which took me around Staple Island, Brownsman and Longstone Island before landing on Inner Farne which is owned by the National Trust. These islands were first recorded in 651 when they became home to St. Aidan followed by St. Cuthbert who isolated himself on the islands and died there in 687. St. Cuthbert introduced special laws in 676 protecting the eider ducks, and other seabirds nesting on the islands. These are thought to be the earliest bird protection laws anywhere in the world.
On Inner Farne you follow a walkway from which you can see a range of wildlife, which varies around the year, including puffins, cormorants, shags, arctic terns and some of the 3000+ grey seals which live on the islands. St Cuthbert’s Chapel also on the island was built in 1370-72 at a cost of £50. After the Dissolution it became a lighthouse keeper’s cottage, then fell into ruin, until it was restored in 1850. Inside the furnishings, which date to around 1665, came from Durham Cathedral.
National Trust rangers live on Inner Farne from March to December and there is information available from them and from a range of books and leaflets available on the island. There are several companies at Seahouses which all offer a similar range of cruises to and around the islands, some of which involve diving. There is a charge for the cruise and a further charge by the National Trust if you choose to land on one of the islands. There are plenty of cafes and shops available in Seahouses.
Craster, Dunstanburgh Castle & Low Newton circular walk. 8 miles
The Craster and Low Newton circular route is an easy 8 mile leisurely walk beginning at the old fishing village of Craster on the Northumbrian Coast. It starts by heading across country past the remains of Chain Home radar station established during the early years of WW2. These radar stations encircled the British Coast to protect the country from attack by sea and air. Accommodation and service buildings were located on the inland side of the heugh near Craster. Apparently these buildings were later used as accommodation for Italian prisoners of war.
The route continues to the coastal path and around the side of the 14th century remains of Dunstanburgh castle, which was painted by Turner. From the castle the route heads north along the picturesque Embleton beach, with its colony of desirable beach huts, as far as Low Newton by the Sea, a former fishing village now managed by the National Trust. It then circles inland back to Craster via a nature reserve with bird hides. There are cafes and pubs at Craster and a pub at Low Newton.
Craster, Howick and Dunstanburgh Castle circular walk. 6.5 miles
The Dunstanburgh and Howick route is a 6.5 mile circular walk heading southwards along the cliff path from Craster, along the coast as far as Stone House where you turn inland towards the gates of Howick Hall & gardens, a Grade II listed building which is the ancestral seat of the Earls Grey. You then follow the track to your right which hugs the field margin with trees to your left before heading across fields below Hips Heugh crags to Craster South Farm. Here the route crosses the road and heads across the fields down to a gate slightly to your right into Craster car park.
From there you turn right into Craster village, passing the harbour and kipper smokery before heading northwards along the level, coastal pastures up to the ruins of Dunstanburgh castle. Here you retrace your steps into Craster where you will find cafes and a pub.
Budle Bay and Bamburgh circular walk. 4.5 miles
Budle Bay to Bamburgh Castle is a leisurely 4.5 mile circular walk starting at Budle and heading south along a quiet road before turning left to head eastwards along the Northumberland Coast Path past the Shada plantation to reach the road into Bamburgh at Galliheugh Bank. From there you walk towards the village to your right where you skirt around the bowling green below the castle and onto a coastal path.
This path runs north west along the coast past Harkness rocks before turning south at Budle Point past a campsite and along the sands of Budle Bay which is part of Lindisfarne Nature Reserve, popular among bird watchers. At Kiln Point a small road turns inland to return you to your starting point at Budle. There are plenty of cafes and shops available in Bamburgh.
Note: I realise that some of these walks appear on my Castle Quests page but I wanted to provide discrete, themed sets of walks, so I have written about different aspects of these walks and provided more information about the walks as a whole on this page