Amble is a picturesque former fishing village with shops, pubs, cafes, beaches, a marina and a harbour with retail pods. It lies at the mouth of the River Coquet, at the northern end of Druridge Bay and 2.5 miles down river from Warkworth. Nearby Coquet Island is visible from the coast. Amble, Cresswell and Warkworth are accessible by bus.
These walks and the cruise could be packed into a long weekend if the conditions were right for the sailing to Coquet Island.
- Druridge Bay; Cresswell to Amble. Easy. 8.6 miles / 13.9 km
- Amble Harbour and Warkworth Castle. Leisurely. 5.8 miles / 9.3 km
- Coquet Island Cruise, Puffin Cruises, Amble Harbour.
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 in the south to Amble in the north. Because of the accessibility from Newcastle, 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, I headed onto 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.
The eight mile walk up the beach is a leisurely affair which involves occasional wading and hurdling a couple of waste pipes which 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. To the northern end of the beach you gradually re-enter civilisation through Low Hauxley where the route passes the Coast and Castles cycle route, if you prefer a smooth path to the dunes.
My route ended at the fish and chip shop, of which more later.
Amble Harbour and Warkworth Castle Circular. Leisurely. 5.8 miles / 9.3 km.
A varied 5.8 mile circular route on mixed terrain which takes in Amble Harbour and Marina, the St Oswald’s Way, St Lawrence Church and Warkworth Castle. Both Amble and Warkworth are accessible by bus and have facilities. The route is about 50% tarmac and 50% country lanes.
Warkworth Castle is a ruined medieval building in the village of the same name in Northumberland. The village and castle occupy a loop of the River Coquet less than a mile from the coast. The contsruction is traditionally attributed to Prince Henry of Scotland in the mid 12th century. The castle was first documented in a charter of 1157 – 1164 when Henry II gave it to Roger Fitz Richard. In the late 19th century the Percy Dukes restored the castle which has been cared for by English Heritage since 1984. It is now a Grade 1 Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The route then turns southwards along a bridleway which is part of the St Oswald’s Way before turning eastwards to return to Amble along country lanes. A narrow path skirts the edge of a housing estate before returning you around the Marina to your starting point at the harbour.
Coquet Island Cruise, Puffin Cruises, Amble Harbour.
The timetable for the trip round Coquet Island, which leaves from Amble Harbour during the summer, is 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 raised my hopes. However, they seem to know that I am coming and immediately hide.
Unfortunately members of the public are unable to land on the island so I was watching for the seals 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 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 quayside 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.