Length: 5.6 miles
Duration: 1 ½ hours ( I actually walked this quite quickly, despite the distance. Maybe because it was a bit chilly!)
Difficulty: Easy. The route is fairly flat and paths easy to follow. There’s a few muddy patches at this time of year but in the summer you’d get round this walk in no time at all! Unfortunately there’s quite a portion along roads, which are easy to walk along but I don’t find it that enjoyable!
Terrain: Beach and sand dunes. Fields and farmland (no livestock though). A fairly long section along roads and back towards the town.
Dog Friendly: Actually… I don’t think I’d do this one again with the dog. He had to be on the lead walking through the harbour as there’s a steep drop into the water that’s not fenced off, then later there is a long-ish section walking by the side of the road where he had to be on the lead. He did get a good run along the beach and sand dunes though!
Start point: I parked on Turner Street (NE65 0DH), where you can park for free for up to 4 hours. That was plenty time for me to do the walk, have something to eat and get back to the car! There are other car parks in Amble, but some of them are Pay and Display so do check!
Pub: The Old Boathouse, Amble (strictly speaking I’d say it’s more of a restaurant!)
Like I said in my blog post, I’ve never been to Amble before, so this walk felt a lot more adventurous. It made me really think about where I was walking, if I liked the place, what it would be like in the summer, and whether I would go back with friends or family.
This walk was one of sights, scenery and smells! Starting out at the harbour and heading out towards Amble’s South Jetty, the smell of fish and boat petrol takes over your nostrils as you walk along the pier. My first impressions of Amble harbour were not what I expected. Living in Whitley Bay and having visited other villages up and down the North East coast (Alnmouth, Seahouses, Bamburgh etc.), I expected Amble to be a fairly quaint little village. Amble is actually a working fishing village, more comparable to Blyth. It’s much more industrious than I expected, with fishermen tending to their boats in the harbour and barely a tourist to be seen! Perhaps it was the time of year, or the grey backdrop of overcast skies, but it didn’t seem like a place you would naturally visit just for a walk!
I headed out towards the South Jetty, although there weren’t many people or cars about, I kept Leo on the lead at this point because of the steep drop over the side of the harbour down into the estuary. He wasn’t impressed, but being a labrador his nose often takes over from common sense, and I didn’t want him going over the side!
As you follow the route around, through a children’s play area and cutting between an old cemetery and the dunes, you reach a small section of beach, before continuing on along the sand dunes a larger beach. This part of the route forms part of the Northumberland Coast Path, which runs from Cresswell all the way to Berwick-upon-Tweed along the coast, stretching a total of 62 miles.
Coquet Island is visible as you look out to sea, with it’s square lighthouse and rocky shoreline situated only a mile from the main land. The island is generally uninhabited by humans, but is managed by the RSPB, who protect the island habitat of a number of nesting birds, notably puffins, terns and eider ducks. You can take a boat trip from Amble to get a closer look at the birds in the summer, but visitors are not allowed to land on the island. Unfortunately with the weather being pretty grey and miserable, there wasn’t much of a view of the island today, just the flash of the automated lighthouse and a hazy outline of the rocks below.
The dunes and coastline we were walking along also form part of a nature reserve, being home to a variety of sea birds. I found the dunes quite difficult to navigate, and I kept feeling as though I’d lost Leo in the tall grass, so we dropped down on to the beach for the majority of this section of the walk.
One of the things I love about living by the sea, is that every beach is different and even the same beach on a different day can have a totally different ‘feel’ to it. Amble beach felt very isolated, abandoned almost. Perhaps this was the time of year, or because we barely saw another soul for the whole time we were on the beach!
We left the beach, walking through the dunes to a car park. We turned back on ourselves and walked along the road for a short stretch (about 200 m) before turning left along a public footpath towards High Hauxley. This section of the walk took us through fields, with an entirely different smell to the harbour (it seemed the farmer had been using some kind of manure to fertilise their crops)! Leo, of course, loved this; nose down, tail wagging, and the occasional bird-chasing detour from the scents on the ground.
As we carried on walking, we came past a sewage works, with more less-than-pleasant smells around us! We carried on along the footpath until we eventually came to the road.
When I was planning the route, I knew there would be a section that involved walking along the road, but I’m not keen on there-and-back style walks, so wanted to make it circular. It didn’t seem like it would be too bad, but there’s roads and there’s roads.
It turns out that Amble is much bigger than I realised, surrounded by a sprawling mass of ’70s, ’80s & ’90s housing built to accommodate the growing population, following the demolition of a neighbouring village (Radcliffe) to make way for open cast mining in the area. Amble seems to be a town that architecture forgot, with row upon row of uninspiring semi-detached houses and bungalows. I’m sure it’s a fairly nice place to live, but to walk along it’s fairly boring. Even Leo was getting restless after a mile-long stretch on the road!
Arriving in the town centre, Queen Street gave me a glimpse of the northern market town I was expecting. But that was it. I continued my walk along The Wynd, where you get a great view of Warkworth Castle in the distance as you head back towards the River Coquet. Unfortunately, with it being so overcast, I couldn’t get a very good photo!
For those of you who are not from the North East (like myself), the street name ‘Wynd‘ crops up quite a lot up here and I had been wondering for a little while where this came from. Apparently it is usually used to describe a narrow lane between houses, and it’s derived from Old Norse. According to Wikipedia, it’s a common street name in the North of England and Scotland!
There’s a little path that runs around the back of the marina, and you pass through a little snicket which brings you back to the car park where you started!
I changed my shoes and gave Leo a quick dry off with a towel and headed back out in the direction that I had started out in the morning, looking for The Old Boathouse! The Old Boathouse is a fabulous little restaurant on the harbour at Amble, that mainly serves fresh fish and seafood, cooked in their wood-fired oven!
Thanks for reading this walk. If you manage to do this walk on a brighter day, please feel free to send me any photographs you have of the view up to Walkworth Castle, or out to Coquet Island!
If you enjoyed this post, please have a look at the other walks that Leo and I have done! And feel free to tell me if you’ve been on any of the walks on this site. You can also follow Wild Walks with Wine on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram!