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35. Bamburgh

start: Bamburgh
distance: 21 miles
OS map: 75

BamburghThis is a fine stretch of the Northumberland coastline giving views out to the Farne Islands and also the impressive Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh castles. Much of the route is on road but some of the best bits are on tracks and/or beach. This area is quite popular on summer weekends but don't let that put you off - there's still plenty of space. It's also a good route to do out of season since it dries quickly - enjoy!

Leave Bamburgh on the coast road going south towards Seahouses. There are occasional glimpses of the Farne Islands through the dunes. Seahouses is quite a busy place with a harbour and the usual trappings of a small resort. When you get to Beadnell the road turns inland signposted for Alnwick - ignore it and bear L for Beadnell Harbour. The old lime kilns at the harbour are worth a look and the views along the beach are impressive. The outline of Dunstanburgh Castle is striking, even from this distance.

If the tide is far enough out you can cycle the next stretch on the beach - at least, as far as a small stream which crosses your path. The beach beyond this is not so good, though it may 'go' if the tide is right out. At this point you need to walk inland for a couple of hundred yards or so to pick up the path at a small bridge.

If you're not going on the beach, head back along the road until you can turn L for a caravan/camping site. Ignore signs saying 'residents only'. Go straight ahead through the site and you're looking for a gate at the end marked as a public footpath - I can't see any way of getting to it without going through the site so don't feel intimidated. This is now a grassy track. After a mile it crosses a narrow bridge and continues to a small car park at Newton Links. If you're wanting to save a little time, you could go round on the road now but the track does continue from the car park slightly uphill to bring you round and down into Low Newton - there's a pub by the beach here. Again the views south are impressive with the outline of Dunstanburgh Castle dominating the scene.

There is a path that starts up a lane just before you get to the pub and goes round behind it. I took to the beach here for a mile. Where a stream comes through the dunes you can go inland for a short way to pick up the path - maybe a push for a couple of hundred yards or so. There's a golf course here and a road leading up to Embleton. This is as far south as this route goes. It's possible to follow a path to Dunstanburgh Castle if you want to. The path follows the seaward edge of the golf course, partly in the dunes - you'll need to push some bits. After 600 metres or so look for a small car park by a building with a rusty tin roof on the inland side of the golf course - a path crosses the golf course to get to it. From here, there's an 'official' approach route to the castle which follows just inside the inland side of the golf course to start with. There is a fine path from the castle along the coast to Craster...the bad news is that this is owned by the National Trust and at the Craster end there's a 'No Cycling' sign, so you have been warned!

If you're not going to the castle, you can retrace the outward route or go back on quiet inland roads...

Turn R at Embleton and it's about 4 miles to Swinhoe. Where the main road bears R you go straight on and after another 2 miles turn R at a T junction then L to take you into Bamburgh.

jb, galashiels

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