Amble is a picturesque former fishing village with beaches, a harbour and a marina. It lies at the mouth of the River Coquet and at the northern end of Druridge Bay. Nearby Coquet Island is visible from the coast. Both Amble and Cresswell at the southern end of Druridge Bay are accessible by bus. Both of these walks and the cruise could be packed into a weekend if the conditions were alright for the sailing to Coquet Island.
- Druridge Bay; Cresswell to Amble. Easy. 8.6 miles / 13.9 km
- Coquet Island Cruise, Puffin Cruises, Amble Harbour.
- Ladyburn Lake Circular, Easy. 1.65 miles / 2.6 km
All these routes are available to download from my Viewranger profile.
Druridge Bay; Cresswell to Amble. Easy. 8.6 miles / 13.9 km
Druridge Bay is a popular eight mile long sandy bay which stretches from Cresswell to the south to Amble in the north. Because of the accessibility from the urban centres to the south and west, it is busier than the beaches in the north of the county. It attracts visitors for fishing, family outings, kite surfing, hang-gliding, and hiking on the Northumberland Coast Path which skirts along the bay.
After disembarking from a busy bus at Cresswell on a sunny spring Saturday lunchtime, I headed onto the beach on the path next to the Ice Cream shop. There are rows of anti tank blocks visible here, and at various points along the sandy Northumbrian beaches which line the coast.
The eight mile walk up the beach is a leisurely affair which involves occasional wading through shallow inlets and hurdling a couple of waste pipes which unfortunately still interrupt your walk. If the weather is good sandals (without socks) are ideal footwear for this route.
At 4.5 miles you pass the Druridge Bay Country Park Visitor Centre with a car park and visitor centre just inland. Ladyburn Lake is also close by which forms the third shorter walk featured here.
To the northern end of the beach you gradually re-enter civilisation through the outskirts of Low Hauxley where the route passes close to the Coast and Castles cycle route if you prefer a smooth path to the ups and downs of the dunes.
My route ended at the fish and chip shop, of which more later.
Coquet Island Cruise, Puffin Cruises, Amble Harbour.
The timetable for the trip round Coquet Island, which leaves from Amble Harbour during the summer, is apparently dependent on weather and tide times. The island is owned by the Duchy of Northumberland, and is approximately 0.75 miles off the coast from Amble, and about 15 acres in size.
It was a bright and breezy day as we left the shelter of the harbour to head around the island. Apparently dolphins had been seen beyond the harbour that morning which always raises my hopes of seeing some. However, they seem to know that I am coming and immediately hide wherever it is that dolphins like to hide.
Unfortunately members of the public are unable to land on the island so I was watching keenly for any signs of activity as we circled the shores.
As we got nearer we could see a large colony of grey seals playing in the shallows on the coast and puffins skimming over the slightly choppy waters.
The lighthouse on the island and nearby lodge were commissioned by a former Duke of Northumberland, who stipulated that they should be crenelated. They were built to his brief in 1841. These buildings are sometimes occupied by RSPB Rangers and maintenance workers tending the solar powered lighthouse and outbuildings.
Rather than provide a loud commentary as some cruises do, Puffin Cruises supplied leaflets on my trip about the island history and wildlife and chatted to people individually, answering questions as we went. On our return to Amble, I rounded off the trip with some fine fish and chips at the aforementioned quayside fish and chip shop.
Thanks to the Captain and crew of G. Fisher III for making my first visit to Coquet Island a smooth and customised experience.
Ladyburn Lake Circular. Easy. 1.65 miles / 2.6 km
This route is a short 1.65 mile circular walk on reasonable tracks around Ladyburn Lake in the Druridge Bay Country Park mentioned above.
My route starts from the Visitor Centre which lies 4.55 miles north of Cresswell along Druridge Bay and is easily accessible from the road. These photos were taken on a sunny day at the end of April.
There are stepping stones across the neck of the lake at the western end. If you prefer not to cross them, the ViewRanger route could easily be changed into a circular walk at this point.
On the ground the dunes obscure the views between the country park and the beach, but it is possible to see from the map just how close the lake is to the route of our first walk along the bay and to the Northumberland Coast Path.
If you have the stamina, this walk could be done as a detour to the first 8.5 mile walk, introducing some variety to the route and making a total of about 10 miles.