Walk along Sugar Sands and Alnmouth Beach in Northumberland

We spent last weekend visiting D’s parents who are lucky enough to live in the peacful village of Lesbury which is located a short walk from the picturesque beach town of Alnmouth and the tourist honey pot of Alnwick in Northumberland.

Visiting the in-laws is actually a very pleasant affair. His parents are very generous and loving yet independent and don’t make too much of a fuss when we visit. We are left to organise our own schedule and fit in with theirs if we fancy. There’s always plenty of wine drinking, food eating and nattering and many a walk along the nearby beach and sometimes I ride mother-in-law’s (not yet, but easiest way to describe her) horse.
The air was mild and still on Saturday morning which made for a very enjoyable walk along Sugars Sands near the village of Longhoughton. This quiet and secluded beach is listed in The 50 Best Beaches by the Independent. The beach is accessible from a single track road which passed through Low Stead Farm. Upon reaching the farm gate it would probably make one hesitate for a moment as to weather it is ok to open. The signs are welcoming enough and encourage you to pass through to the car park a little further along after the farm.
We were greeted into the car park by a young bullock that sniffed the car while the rest of the herd waited on the beautiful white sand down by the shore.

I love the patterns and textures created from the layers of rock within the cliffs. The power of the waves is clearly visible here like it is on most east coast sea fronts. Vast areas of horizontal flat rock juts out of the sand and reaches out into the sea which were once high cliffs but have been eroded away of thousands of years. The flora living on these rocks grow in an array of colours from deep purples to bright greens which contrasts with the white of the sand. 

Sadly I forgot to bring along my binoculars so couldn’t get a close look at many of the birds along the walk. We did, however, get a good look at around 80 curlew wandering in a filed and 5 eiders swimming close to the shore. Male eiders a particularly striking with their wedge shaped bills and contrasting black and white plumage. I don’t own a good lens to get close-ups of birds so here is an image sourced from Flickr to show how beautiful these birds are.

Image source Pete + Lynne

12 year old Meg the dog is in tip top condition thanks to her daily walks along the beach and gentle paddles in the coves. At home she spends most her time snoozing by the radiator but on the beach she leaps about like an excited puppy.
This hole on the soft sandy cliff face was probably created during the recent storms when the tides were particularly high. 

On higher land the remnants of a hillfort and a dwelling from the Iron Age a still visible. An interpretation board shows an artistic impression of what they would have looked like and provide some interesting information. I am the type of person who reads every interpretation board and I get very excited seeing evidence of history.
On Sunday, we walked along the footpath from the village to Alnmouth beach, passing tumbled stone walls and sandbags at the gates and garages of houses. D’s mother explained that the Council delivered the sandbags too late during the tidal surges of the storms so many houses were already flooded. On the beach, the huge concrete cubes that form the sea defences that are normally hidden within the sand dunes, are now visible.  

Their industrial and regular appearance contrasts against the harmless appearance of the beach. But the beach isn’t harmless; it’s forever changing. Seeing the uncovered sea defences is a strong reminder of the power of the sea and how dynamic the landscape at the coast is. 
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PS. Do you have any idyllic secret locations to share with me? 
I love recommendations of lesser-know places to visit. 

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By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.

  • Such a beautiful place – love it, Alice @ Mums Make Lists

  • Oh it looks idyllic. What a lovely place to visit and probably very refreshing at this time of year. I can recommend Branscombe in Devon if you like beaches (actually all the Devon coast is nice) also Polperro in Cornwall is a pretty fishing village

  • That looks like my kind of place. I much prefer exploring 'interesting' beaches rather than picture perfect white sands and blue sea. I'd love to ride along it too, very jealous! #pocolo

  • What wonderful photos – I especially like the one of the eiders. I suppose that is one thing I miss about not living in UK – not being able to go to the coast. Actually I am 2 hours from the coast here in USA but it doesn't have all the rock pools and craggy rock faces that can make the UK coast so breathtaking! #PoCoLo

  • Wow ,this placec looks amazing – I love the patterns in the side of the cliff. Looks like there are lots of nooks and crannys to explore 🙂 Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  • Laney Williams

    Hi Jenni, I came across your blog purely by accident when doing some research about our trip to Seahouses, Northumberland in June. Your lovely write up and photos inspired me to want to visit Sugar Sands. Unfortunately we did not have the time to do Sugar Sands in June as there were so many amazing places to visit, but it stayed on my mind and we returned in August and I was determined to find this place. What a fantastic time we had there and a lovely walk exploring these sands. It was an idyllic spot and i will definitely visit again. Absolute heaven on earth!