Thursday, 23 September 2021

Seven go out on the  dunes; Northumberland: September 24th.

To welcome back some gadgies who have not joined the weekly ramble for some time we are having the familiar and lovely stroll from Warkworth to Alnmouth almost and back through the dunes.

Today's team is made up of me, Brian, Margaret, Harry, Dave, John H and John C

Small town or large village, Warkworth is near the coast, has a fine ruined castle and good car parking of the Yorkshire variety. Reached by taking the A189 north through Amble, going down the main street and turning into the square by the church, the parking is on the river bank. 

Possible without a map but it is covered by OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble.

We  did this walk a few weeks ago, it rained, and it rained. Like the proverbial rodents we were soaked through . ."Wet through to your knickers" as my mum always said on days like that.Today is sunny and warm with a strong breeze about three on the Beaufort scale. 

                           Car park on the bank of the River Coquet, Warkworth. Free!
                     St Lawrence's church, Warkworth. Almost entirely Norman. But probably not the spire.
We walked along the river bank to the old road bridge, now restricted to pedestrians, cyclists and dogs. 
Once over the river we crossed the road and took the route to the car parks and toilets and caravan site near the beach. Fortunately, on the right there is a footpath on the edge of the fields which saves walkers from the traffic. 
We did not go to the beach but turned right and walked the footpath on the river bank almost to the rocky breakwater.

Amble claims to be Northumberland's friendliest port.

At this point we crossed the dunes and headed north on the beach. This is another of the fabulous Northumberland beaches that would be covered with sun loungers backed by a string of tower block hotels if we had warmer weather. Thank goodness for a cooler climate. Because of the pandemic the area has had many more visitors from the UK this year, many from the south completely gobnsmacked by the beauty of the county. Probably still expecting rows of back to back houses and shipyards and coal mines.

The sand is very soft, easier walking to be found nearer the water where it is still wet although nthere are one or two shallow streams to plodge in. (Plodge means paddle )

After about five miles of quiet beach we reached Alnmouth Bay and turned inland on the edge of the River Aln. Directly opposite this pretty village, usually voted one of the best places to live in the north, we climbed the mini hill to the cross that marks, more or less, the site of the original church.

                                   Alnmouth from Church Hill. St Waleric's a 12th century church stood near the hill until it was destroyed by a flood in 1806 which also caused a change in the direction of the river. The replacement church dates from 1876 and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It's spire is visible in the centre of the picture.

Below Church Hill is the ruin of a 19th century Mortuary Chapel, weathered and looking Norman but it makes a good picnic spot so we settled down for a Herbie.

          Lunchtime in the chapel; apple pies, almond slices, biscuits savory and sweet cakes from Mrs A.
How different from our last visit when we quickly ate a soggy sandwich and hurried on.

After a leisurely lunch we started back on the walk through the dunes. The path goes by a guano store originally on the pre 1806 river bank and used to store fertilizer. Built away from the village because of the smell.

                          Evidence of a high tide; deceased jelly fish

                 Deceased guano store.
The footpath goes through the dunes and passes through a caravan park before coming to Warkworth Golf Club. Here the route dips below a golfer's footbridge. To add to a walker's day there is a bell to ring to warn approaching golfers that there are approaching walkers.
                      Bet they don't have this at Royal St. Andrews or Wentworth or Augusta.
From here the path clings to the edge of the course until it reaches the track down from the village. Back up the track we went, crossed the road carefully, there is a bend that doesn't help the view. Back over the medieval bridge and along the riverside to the cars.
                                  Ye olde bridge

              Distant view of Warkworth Castle, built by Henry, first Earl of Northumberland. He was a Scot
He started his castle in 1139AD.
Changed we headed for the Ridley Arms in Stannington which had several ales on draught and some refreshing soda and lime for the drivers.

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and data base right 2021.

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