coquet nature lover

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A walk at Beadnell Bay, Northumberland

Coquet nature lover on the coast



If you've been following for a while, you'll know I enjoy walking - particularly on the coast! So, if you have a couple of hours to spare on a balmy summer's evening, you can't go far wrong if you head out to Beadnell Bay.

Now, this is the sort of place where you don't have to take a picnic as it's not a million miles away - like some footpaths in rural Northumberland! On this stretch of the coast, you can have a good walk, then find somewhere you can rest and recharge with a drink and a bite to eat. For starters, there's a pub in Beadnell, then there's the Joiner's Arms at High Newton and further on, at Low Newton-by-the-Sea, you will come across the Ship Inn which we will come to at the end of the walk. 

Back to the walk...

From High Newton where you can park the car, scramble down a path through the dunes to reach Beadnell Bay.  

absolute bliss, don't you think?


Birds at Beadnell Bay

Further ahead, you can see Beadnell Bay with its horseshoe shaped sandy beach. This stretch of the coast is a wildlife haven with many seabirds, in particularly Arctic and little terns. I have seen seals here on several occasions and a friend of mine was lucky enough to see a pod of bottle nosed dolphins in the bay last year.

When the tide is in and the weather conditions are right, there is always plenty going on in the bay with locals and visitors having fun kite surfing, wind-surfing and sailing just to name a few activities... 

Beadnell Bay - a favourite spot for loafing gulls too!

Common terns  (Fr-Sterne pierregarin D-Flussseeschwalbe)

I thought I would include this photo of a common tern as the orange-red beak with black tip which will help you identify it is clearly visible here. These summer visitors breed on the Northumberland coast.

common tern coming into land - note the beak with black tip 


Little terns (Fr-Sterne naine  D-Zwergseeschwalbe)

Between Beadnell and Low Newton, the National Trust manage a 'little tern' breeding colony which is known as the Long Nanny project. Thanks to their work, these rare sea birds are steadily increasing and there are now approximately forty pairs on the site. During the breeding season, rangers set up camp on the beach and protect the area 24/7. Although part of the beach is closed off, you can take a short walk round the back to a viewing platform. The rangers are very friendly and will help you find the little terns with either binoculars or using their telescope.

nesting boxes provided by the wardens

You should be able to identify the little terns quite easily as they are much smaller than the numerous arctic terns that also make their home here during the summer months.  Also, look out for their bright yellow bills with a black tip.

spot the little tern

ringed plover (left) with dunlin, another migrant
(RINGED PLOVER: Fr-Bécasseau variable   D-Alpenstrandläufer)

(DUNLIN: Fr-Grand gravelot   D-Sandregenpfeifer)

Along with the little terns, ringed plover can also be found breeding in the protected area of Beadnell Bay.  I managed to take a photo of this one above but unfortunately I couldn't get a close up shot as they don't seem to stand still for long!

Arctic terns (Fr-Sterne arctique  D-Kustenseeschwalbe)


In comparison with common terns, Arctic terns are perhaps more elegant with their longer tail streamers.  Their bills are a deep blood red colour and are slightly shorter than the common tern.

This bird posed for the photo, unlike the ringed plover!

La belle plume fait le bel oiseau - Fine feathers make fine birds
Arctic tern calling

taking off


out fishing

returning with sand eel - success!

One last look at this beautiful beach...

Au revoir Beadnell Bay

It's probably about a four mile walk along the beach from Beadnell to Low Newton by-the-Sea however, if the tide is too high, there are plenty of paths that will take you back southbound through the dunes.  If you are tired and your legs are aching, it's much easier and quicker to walk on the headland paths.

If you decide to do a circular walk, it's a good idea to take the beach one way and then return on the paths above the shore as this way, you get to see lots of different birds, flowers and maybe even a seal or two! 

heading back southbound on the dune path

Here is a selection of photos of birds along the path and I have included a few typical dune grassland plants

(STONECHAT: Fr-Traquet pâtre   D-Schwarzkehlchen)
stonechats breed in coastal dunes - here is a female stonechat perched on fence post

pyramidal orchid
and here is the stonechat's mate wondering where she is...
quite easy to identify with its white collar and rusty breast

bloody cranesbill

(MEADOW PIPIT: Fr-Pipit farlouse   D-Wiesenpieper)
meadow pipit with a tasty insect


 spotted this young goldfinch eating sow thistle seeds
(Fr-Verdier   D-Grűnling)

Next photo is taken heading south towards Embleton Bay 

...yet another great place for wildlife and sea birds and yes, that's an idea for another post!

evening light falls across the bay


Twilight falls - arrival at Low Newton by-the-Sea

ruins of 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance

Here, in the village square, just yards from the sandy beach, you will come across the Ship Inn. Serving great meals using local ingredients, it's the ideal place to have a drink and a bite to eat. It even has its own microbrewery which makes it ever so popular! Not being a real ale drinker myself, I can vouch for the coffee whether it be espresso or cappuccino and they also have a good selection of soft drinks.

Sounds perfect doesn't it? Well, just like the Marmite advert says, you'll either love it or hate it! Mmm, I know what I think - only problem for me is getting a table in the high season... so I have to admit that I tend to stuff my bag with sandwiches and bottles of water just in case!

* * * * * * * *
As a garden and beach lover, I thought I would finish by sharing this short poem with you.

My Garden - like the Beach 

by Emily Dickinson

My Garden - like the Beach -
Denotes there be - a Sea -
That's Summer -
Such as These - the Pearls
She fetches - such as Me


  1. Would love to amble along that beach.

    1. Yes, I am sure you would enjoy it! Glad you enjoyed the blog and thanks for your comment :)

  2. Love the photos!

  3. Hiya, Thanks for commenting on my blog. I would follow you, but there isnt an option in your side bar? If you fit the widget ( like the one on mine)I'd be pleased to follow the rest of your adventures around the Coquet and beyond. Cheers Stewart

  4. Thanks Stewart - that's great.I'm still finding my feet with the techie stuff but the follower widget sounds good as it can be hard for friends and followers to find my blog - let alone new readers! Early days - hope to get into Google searches with time!