5 North East coastal walks to blow away the cobwebs
Get your dose of vitamin sea on a crisp walk along the coast
By Dawn McGuigan
When you think of autumn walks, your mind might go straight to crunchy leaves, rusty hues and wilting woodlands. But there’s nothing better than a cold, crisp walk along the coast at this time of year.
The North East is blessed with some of the best beaches in the country. From Bamburgh’s white sands to the rocky headlands of Durham, our coastline is packed with beautiful seaside places to explore.
Whether you’re up for a two-mile wander or have the energy to tackle a bracing 60-mile ramble, our region has something to suit you. So, stick on your favourite jumper and grab your scarf for a walk along one of these magnificent North East coastal routes.
2 miles - The Leas
This might be a dinky two-mile route from South Shields to Seaburn but it packs in a lot of things to see. You’ll recognise The Leas as the finish line of the Great North Run, however, there’s no need to rush here – a gentle walk or cycle through its 300 acres of grassy open space is the ideal way to spend an autumn afternoon.
The route starts at the World War II gun at Trow Rocks and passes Marsden Bay (and its infamous rocks) and the iconic red and white Souter Lighthouse, which is the world’s first lighthouse purpose-built to use electricity. It ends at Seaburn, where you can enjoy a stroll along the beautiful beach or keep walking south to explore the pier, bars and cafes at Roker.
2 miles - Seaham coast
This leisurely walk from Seaham to Nose’s Point takes in all of the delights of the harbour town. The clifftop route offers bird’s-eye views of the harbour and sandy beaches below, and there is an opportunity to stroll along the promenade and explore Seaham Marina. You can also spot the famous Tommy statue at Terrace Green.
The route ends at Nose’s Point, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for both its unique geology and ecology, so there are plenty of unusual plants and animals to discover on the rugged coastline.
4 miles - Hartlepool Headland
This route is packed with natural and historical sites. It begins near Hart Warren Dunes Local Nature Reserve and ends at the Heugh Gun Battery at the tip of the Headland.
Every step of this walk provides views across Hartlepool’s stunning beaches and its rocky headlands. The area’s unique dunes – one of few in the British Isles to be made of magnesian limestone – are the perfect place for orchids to grow so you might spot fragrant, pyramidal or burnt tips varieties on your trip.
5 miles - North Tyneside Coastal Walk
This five-mile route has something for everyone. It starts at St Mary’s Island, where you can visit the famous lighthouse or spot seals basking on the rocks. Next stop is Whitley Bay, with its beautifully restored promenade and the spectacular Spanish City providing the chance for a stylish pit-stop. The walk continues to Cullercoats, Tynemouth and ends on the historic North Shields Fish Quay where you can grab a well-deserved portion of fish and chips or visit the extraordinary Fiddler’s Green memorial to fisherman lost at sea.
60 miles - Northumberland Coast Path
This epic coastal path runs the entire length of Northumberland’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has 60 miles of pathways that combine cliffs, coves, quaint fishing villages, castles and an array of sandy beaches.
Don’t panic – the path is broken down into six smaller routes that range from six miles to 13 miles, ideal for a day’s walking or a few hours strolling along the coast.
- Stage 1: Cresswell to Warkworth: Starting at Druridge Bay and ending in the village of Warkworth, this route includes eight miles of beach, a nature reserve and a stop-off point at Amble if you fancy a tea break.
- Stage 2: Warkworth to Craster: This route crosses a medieval bridge into the coastal grasslands of the Aln Estuary, before meandering through Alnmouth and Craster. You might even catch some kittiwakes on the headlands.
- Stage 3: Craster to Seahouses: This rocky route takes you along the cliffs towards Dunstanburgh Castle, with spectacular views of the castle and some wonderful birdlife to keep you company.
- Stage 4: Seahouses to Belford: This beautiful route takes in the stunning beaches of Bamburgh, with views of the Farne Islands and Holy Island in the distance.
- Stage 5: Belford to Fenwick: One of the shortest sections of the path, this route is a gentle, flat walk through tranquil grasslands.
- Stage 6: Fenwick to Berwick-upon-Tweed: The final leg is a brisk 12-mile route into the picturesque town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.