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Monday, 23 July 2012

Walk 73 Craster to Seahouses (Northumberland)

Walk 73        Craster to Seahouses (Northumberland)

(First leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs in Kent to Berwick at the border with Scotland).

Map: L/R 81 and 75

Distance: about 10 miles or 16 km
Difficulty:  Mainly easy
Terrain: footpaths, pavement, cliff paths, sand dunes
Access: Parking at both ends
Public transport: Bus 401 from Alnwick to Craster, 501/505 Berwick/Alnwick to Seahouses – check with Traveline.

Walking out of Craster through pleasant fields the first significant landmark is the impressive Dunstanburgh Castle. This ruin, on a small hill close to the sea front, was built in the 14th century. The nearby derelict harbour once sheltered the navy of Henry V111. It changed hands several times during the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century and has been a ruin since 1538. The castle is now run by English Heritage and can be visited for a small admission fee. Coloured quartz crystals known locally as Dunstanburgh diamonds can be seen on the shore near the castle.

The walk continues past the sandy Embleton Bay and towards Low Newton by the Sea. This was once a fishing village and some of the quaint fishermen’s cottages are still there. An offshore reef has created a natural harbour.

Out past the intriguing named Football Hole is Beadnall Bay. This includes a bird sanctuary and a large area owned by the National Trust. Some distinctive lime kilns from the 19th century have been preserved.

After Beadnell you can walk along the road or across the sand dunes until the golf course to the south of Seahouses is reached. The path then goes around Snook Point before arriving in the town.     

Throughout the 19th century Seahouses attracted wealthy naturalists, birdwatchers and artists. Some visited because of the town’s proximity to The Farne Islands and many still do. The islands have been important wildlife sanctuaries since the days of St Cuthbert of Northumbria who lived on them from 676-684AD. From the 1920s Seahouses became a holiday destination – mainly due to the development of road and rail travel.

Pictures show: Dunstanburgh Castle; shore near the castle; Embleton Bay; harbour at Seahouses.

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