People and Places
This page provides some interesting
information about the key settlements in the AONB
Low Newton by the Sea
Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Close to the coast, 1 mile
upstream from Amble, and enclosed by a winding loop of the River
Coquet. The picturesque village with its several good hotels,
restaurants and gift shops is overlooked by the massive remains of
Warkworth Castle. The castle dominates the town from a hill up
which the main road angles and climbs. When traffic entered from
the North through a narrow medieval bridge and gatehouse arch, the
effect was even more dramatic than today when a new bridge over the
Coquet sweeps motorists easily into the centre. The 14th century
bridge is now only for pedestrians. The village itself is of
interest with terraces of 18th and 19th century houses built in
grey stone with red roofs. It still looks as if it were clinging to
the protection of the great stronghold. It is tightly packed on a
peninsula of the river, with the castle guarding the neck and the
sea within earshot. St Laurence's Church is the only fairly
complete Norman church in Northumberland. It has five Norman
windows in the nave, a highly decorated chancel arch and vaulted
chancel ceiling, and a rare 14th century stone spire. There is a
15th century priest's room over the porch. The church has a well
preserved effigy of a cross-legged knight of circa 1330.
Warkworth near the mouth of
the river Coquet, has a sandy beach only 1 mile away and fishing
and boating in the river. You can travel by boat from the castle
(or follow a shady path) upstream to the Hermitage, an unusual
refuge dug into the face of the bluff by some hermit in the 14th
century. Not much is known about him, but he hollowed out a chapel
and two living chambers on two floors connected by steps. Hermits
lived here in the 16th century. Coquet Island offshore was also
supposed to be a retreat for solitary monks.
The castle is the most splendid ruin of its
type in Northumberland. It has not been extensively restored as
were the castles of Bamburgh and Alnwick. The first fortification
on the site was probably in 1139, with a curtain wall being added
in the early 13th century. The chief building period came in the
late 14th and early 15th centuries and a good deal remains from
this, including the highly impressive keep. The castle came into
the hands of the Percys in the late 14th century and remained
theirs for some 600 years.
Warkworth Village Website
English Heritage Website
Pronounced "Aln - mouth"
(unlike Alnwick, the "L" is sounded). A popular but peaceful
coastal resort with superb sandy beaches and two golf courses
including the 4th oldest in England.
Alnmouth has an interesting history as a trade
port of some repute. In 1799, during the War of Independence, this
reputation led to an attack on the port by the American privateer,
John Paul Jones. One of the cannon balls from this attack has been
preserved. A few years after this event Alnmouth harbour was left
high and dry when a storm caused the river to change its course,
forcing a new route through to the sea. This cut off Church Hill
making the town's church inaccessible and leading to its eventual
destruction. The church's position is now marked by a wooden cross.
Beyond Church Hill the ruins of a long, low building between the
dunes and the fields, indicates the area in which the port was
originally located. Now used as a shelter by farm animals, this was
formerly a guano shed, probably built here to store what was once a
valuable commodity, on a spot which was an acceptable distance from
After the loss of the port, the town was
revitalised with the coming of the railway in the 1840's. It became
a popular holiday resort and remains so to this day.
The village has several two golf courses, high
quality hotels, bed & breakfasts, restaurants and gift
Alnmouth Village Website
The village of Longhoughton is on the coastal route
between Alnwick and Craster. The old part of the village has
Georgian Houses and small pretty stone cottages.
There is a small supermarket in the village -
ideal for groceries, newspapers, video rental, etc. The village
also has a church. Near to the coast, there is a track down to the
peaceful Sugar Sands bay with sandy beaches and rocky outcrops. The
Northumberland Coast Path and Coast and Castle Cycle Route are
nearby. The small fishing village of Boulmer is about 2 miles
Howick Hall, off B1339, 6 miles north east of
Alnwick. The Hall has extensive grounds with mixed woodland,
beautiful borders, way-marked walks and picnic sites.
Howick Hall Gardens offer year-round interest
for garden lovers.
An interesting fishing village
and harbour with a reputation for the most delicious oak-smoked
kippers (herring) in the country. Dunstanburgh Castle is
reached via a 1 mile coastal walk from Craster car park
The commercial fortunes of Craster, as with
those of many other coastal havens reliant on the white fish trade
declined with the advent of large scale trawling. However all was
not lost, for the whinstone platform thrusting into the sea nearby
provides lobsters and crabs with an ideal environment in which to
thrive. Now these shellfish are harvested for most of the year.
Walking up from the harbour, you soon come to the mainstay of
Craster's economy today - the Kipper factory, an enterprise started
at the turn of the century. Kippers are smoked Herrings. The raw
fish were formerly locally caught, but now come to Craster from the
ports of north-west. To smoke Kippers in the traditional manner
takes between 12 and 16 hours. The season lasts from May to
About a mile from the village is Craster
Tower, dating from the 15th century. This is the home of the
Craster family, who have been associated with the area since before
the Norman conquest.
Craster History Website
The village is on a rise with fine views over
sandy links to the sea. A pele tower has been incorporated into the
vicarage Trinity Church. There is a striking view of Dunstanburgh
Castle from its beautiful sandy beach which can be reached along a
fine one and a half mile walk.
There is a good 18-hole links golf course,
small shops, post office, garage, a hotel and a few popular
Along the coast northwards of Embleton lies
the of Low Newton by the Sea and to the south, the coast village of
A delightful village very
popular for sailing and windsurfing, with its lovely sandy beach in
the sheltered bay and fine views across Embleton Bay to
Dunstanburgh Castle. A lot of the village and surrounding
countryside is owned by the National Trust. The
area is renowned for its good bird watching. The Ship Inn situated
in the village square is an excellent friendly pub and serves bar
meals and hot soups for those walking on wild days.
Parking is at the top of the hill before
descending into the village. The 'square' is the heart of the old
village, where low buildings surround a large grass square with a
pub in the corner and the beach opposite.
harbour walls of Beadnell were built in the 1790's where the lime
kilns of that date still remain. Stretching from the harbour is the
long golden sweep of Beadnell bay with the ruined Dunstanburgh
Castle in the distance. This sheltered bay makes an ideal location
for some of the best sailing and wind surfing on the Northumberland
coast. The village provides the usual small shops and good eating
houses typical of a Northumberland fishing village.
This combination of charm and accessibility
makes Beadnell a popular holiday villages on the north east
Boat trips to the
Farne Islands start from this busy little port. The village grew up
in the late 19th century when the harbour here was built to serve
North Sunderland inland. Today what is left of the old Herring
fishery, shares the harbour with the holiday-makers' yachts and the
village is given over to catering for visitors and passers-by. The
village centre is a car park and new houses fill the perimeter.
Excellent sandy beaches stretch south towards Beadnell and Embleton
Bay. Near the harbour are lime kilns dating from the 18th century,
now used by local fishermen as a store for lobster pots.
The Farne Islands lie just off the Northumberland coast
midway between Seahouses and Bamburgh. The islands are located at
the most easterly point of the 'Great Whin Sill', an intrusion of
volcanic rock which begins in Cumberland some 80 miles distant and
gives a distinct and spectacular character to the north
Northumberland coastline. Comprising between 15 and 28 islands, the
number to be seen depend upon the state of the tide. The Farne
Islands are designated as a National Nature Reserve and Special
Protection Area for their important seabird colonies, and a Special
Conservation Area for the grey seals which breed and rest
there. The islands and are managed by the National Trust.
National Trust Website
Once the capital of
the 7th century Kingdom of Northumbria, it is now a seaside village
dominated by the magnificent Bamburgh Castle overlooking miles of
silver sands. The present 11th century castle was a Norman
stronghold which survived many sieges and welcomed many English
kings as guests. During the Wars of the Roses, however, it was the
first castle in England to succumb to gunfire when it fell to the
artillery of Edward IV.
The castle was restored in the late 19th
century by Lord Armstrong and now houses an excellent collection of
arms and artwork as well as a tea room and gift shop. Also in the
village is the Grace Darling Museum commemorating the lifeboat
heroine who is buried in the village churchyard.
The beach at Bamburgh is one of the most
spectacular in the country.
Bamburgh Village Website
Bamburgh Castle Website
Grace Darling Museum
Holy Island of Lindisfarne
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
is often described as "The Jewel of the Northumberland Coast", Holy
Island is only accessible across a causeway at low tide. (Follow
link in box opposite for safe crossing time information).
In the 7th century it was one of the great
seats of Christian learning in Western Europe and was where the
beautiful Lindisfarne Gospels were written. Adjacent to the ruins
of the Benedictine Priory, destroyed by Henry VIII, is a Visitor
Centre commemorating the life of the monks. The stones from the
Priory were used to build the unforgettable Lindisfarne Castle.
Holy Island is the end point of the popular St
Cuthbert's Way long distance footpath which begins in Melrose in
the Scottish borders.
Lindisfarne National Nature
As well as its many historic attractions, Holy
Island is situated at the heart of the Lindisfarne National
Nature Reserve. Extensive
dunelands, intertidal sand and mud flats, saltmarsh and ancient
raised beaches support a wide variety of plant life and attract
vast numbers of birds. Large numbers of shorebirds. Bar-Tailed
Godwits, Knots and Redshanks can be seen on the extensive mudflats
in both spring and autumn whilst fields and gardens on the island
gather large numbers of Thrushes and Warblers during migration
times, especially autumn. In winter, the mudflats hold large
populations of wildfowl including thousands of wigeon and a
significant proportion of the world Light-Bellied Brent Goose
population. Holy Island is an internationally important area for
birds on migration and as winter quarters.
Trust - Lindisfarne Castle
English Heritage - Lindisfarne Priory