Introduction

This is a photo guide to the Northumberland Inn Way which we walked in August 2008.

This page contains full details of all stages, or you can use the links on the right to view each individual stage. We combined the walk with a family holiday and so made some of the days shorter to be able to also fit in trips to the Farne Islands, coastal castles and Cragside House and gardens.

We stayed in a self catering cottage in Beadnell for most of the time, and a couple of bed and breakfasts towards the end of the route. Details of these can be found on the accomodation page. Our family provided transport at the start and finish points of each day when required.

We hope it will be of some use to those who may be planning to do the walk themselves, or encourage others to give it a try.

Please enjoy our report, and sign our guestbook or leave comments.

Rachael & Mark.

Day 1 - Rothbury to Felton

12.5 miles, 7 3/4 hours (including pub visits)

It was just getting light as we set off at 4:00am - what a time to start a holiday! By setting out at that time the roads were quiet and so we had an easy journey up from Suffolk. This also meant we could be in Rothbury for 10:00am and still have the rest of the day for a walk.





We were dropped off at the car park by the River Coquet and began the walk straight away. It was a nice bright day as we left the town behind us. We were soon passing the first of the pubs, though it was too early to stop yet.




1.Coquet Vale Hotel, Rothbury - 10:40am

A smart looking hotel. No time to stop this early in the morning.





It had clearly been raining prior to our arrival. It was quite wet underfoot as the path took us away from the road and through farmland to reach some woodland. We found ourselves slipping and sliding in mud as we headed up through the woods. In places the path was also quite overgrown, but we eventually emerged on to open ground with good views along Coquetdale to Rothbury.






The going became much easier as we walked at a higher level above the River Coquet, passing the ruined Craghead farm. We passed by a variety of farm animals - sheep, pigs and longhorn cattle, including a large bull who thankfully took no notice of us.



The path dropped steeply down through woods to rejoin the side of the River Coquet. We briefly followed the river bank until reaching the arched bridge in Pauperhaugh.







We passed through meadows following the river for a short time before heading uphill on a more direct route as the river curved sharply away through a series of bends.

We came close to the river once more above Brinkburn Priory but views were restricted by trees. Only an ocasional brief glimpse of an arch or tower could be seen.


We arrived at Weldon Bridge at 1:45pm and met up with our family at the pub for our lunch.



2.Anglers Arms, Weldon - 1:45pm

Cosy friendly pub. Excellent food with very generous portions. A very large stuffed pike mounted on one wall.





After a long lunch break we continued on our path along the Coquet valley towards Felton. The route initially followed a good track passing a few houses but gradually became muddier as we approached Elyhaugh. At one point we needed our walking poles to keep ourselves upright as the downhill slopes were so slippery.








After passing under the busy A1 we entered grounds of Felton Park with a large variety of mature trees.







At the edge of Felton village we crossed the old 15th century bridge over the River Coquet into West Thirston.




3.Northumberland Arms, West Thirston - 5:45pm

A busy but comfortable pub with a variety of seating areas.




4.Stags Head, Felton - 6:15pm

Very quiet, dated local pub. Friendly but inexperienced staff

Day 2 - Felton to Alnmouth

13 miles, 9 1/2 hours (including pub visits and tour of Warkworth Castle & Hermitage)




We got dropped off back in Felton at 9:50am and arranged to meet up for lunchtime in Warkworth. We followed Mouldshaugh Lane track out of the village and were soon crossing fields to rejoin the River Coquet.

This was a pleasant stretch of path, a good mixture of cornfields, woodland and meadows. Underfoot was much drier than the previous day.





A mile long stretch of quiet country lane took us through the pretty village of Guyzance. The scenery beyond here gradually became more open and flat. The landscape was of predominantly arable fields and where the path followed field verges they were at times quite overgrown. The stile in the corner of a caravan site near East House was almost completely covered with brambles and nettles.





After another short section of road we crossed the River Coquet at the back of a popular caravan site into the quiet village of Heather Leazes. Once at the top of the village the view opened out to the coast, giving us our first sight of Warkworth Castle and the sea beyond.





We rejoined the side of the River Coquet at the ferry crossing point for Warkworth Hermitage. A very pleasant walk on the well maintained path along the river bank led us up to the castle. We then entered the town and met up with family.




5.The Sun Hotel, Warkworth - 12:30pm

A busy hotel bar. Sat outside for a quick drink.




6.Hermitage Inn, Warkworth - 12:55pm

Looked a very nice pub, but crowded on the Bank Holiday weekend.




7.Masons Arms, Warkworth - 1:00pm

A cosy wood beamed traditional pub. Busy, but lots of seating. We enjoyed a nice sunday lunch.





Our afternoon was spent visiting the two properties managed by English Heritage. Warkworth Castle is one of the best castles we have visited recently. It is an impressive building standing high above the rest of the village. There were extensive views of the surrounding area from the keep. Combined with a very interesting audio tour this made it definitely well worth the visit.






We then returned along the riverside path to visit the Hermitage. This involved a very brief boat trip across the river to reach the small living area and chapel, which is carved out of the rock face.




8.Warkworth House Hotel, Warkworth - 4:15pm

A lovely bar, very comfortable seating. A wide selection of teas and coffees, perfect for an afternoon tea.




9.Black Bull, Warkworth - 5:00pm

No time to stop unfortunately.







We left Warkworth late in the afternoon, crossing the river by the old bridge. The River Coquet was finally left behind as we headed along the road towards the sea.






As we arrived at the sand dunes most people were heading away, even though it was a lovely evening to be walking on the beach. Miles of golden sand extended in both directions, and we had it all largely to ourselves.

We took off our boots and paddled for much of the way.








We walked as far as we could along the beach, right up to where the River Aln flows out into the sea. It is not possible to cross the river into Alnmouth, we returned on the path through the dunes to reach the road. Here we were met again by family, and went into Alnmouth for the evening.




10.Schooner Hotel, Alnmouth - 8:05pm

Large hotel, with Indian restaurant inside. Reputed as the most haunted hotel in Britain - didn't get chance to experience it.




11.Saddle Hotel, Alnmouth - 8:10pm

Looked a grand building with nice menu. Will try it next time.




12.Red Lion Inn, Alnmouth - 8:15pm

Extremely busy and noisy pub. Low ceiling traditional bar. Unfortunately stopped serving food at 8 so we continued on.




13.Hope and Anchor, Alnmouth - 8:20pm

Lovely pub. Staff very accomodating on a busy evening. Food very good, and we enjoyed the Farne Island beer. We ate in the smart comfy restaurant.




14.Sun Inn, Alnmouth - 10:30pm

Traditional looking pub. We didn't have the chance to visit.

Day 3 - Alnmouth to Embleton

12.5 miles, 7 1/2 hours (including pub visits and tour of Dunstanburgh Castle)





It was 10:30am as we got dropped off in Alnmouth. We climbed up on to the high path running above the golf course. This gave us a good view back down across the village and along the beach where we had walked the previous day.





At Foxton Hall we dropped down on to the beach, and walked along the sand as far as Seaton Point, where we rejoined the cliff top path. Here we lost the view of the sea for a short while as the path passed around a caravan park, sheltered by a large bank.

At Boulmer Haven there were several people windsurfing. The bay looked calm, but there was quite a breeze moving them along swiftly.




15.Fishing Boat Inn, Boulmer - 12:00pm

A very smart bar and restaurant overlooking the sea. We enjoyed a nice coffee in the lounge bar.


We left Boulmer on a good track, passing a series of interesting metal bird sculptures.








We returned once again to the shoreline at Howdiemont Sands. There was no longer an expanse of sand as we had seen with the coastline further south, here the small bays are interrupted by rocky outcrops jutting into the sea. The ruined outline of Dunstanburgh Castle could be seen at the end of the headland in the distance.







Beyond Howick the cliffs became more dark and rugged. The forces from volcanic action millions of years ago have left the rocks twisted into interesting layered formations.


The path became quite busy with people as we rounded Cullernose Point. We reached Craster shortly afterwards and met up with family for a picnic lunch on the harbour wall.




Craster is a pretty fishing village centered around the harbour. It has a great smoke house, and we couldn't resist sampling some of their smoked fish pat├ęs.



16.Jolly Fisherman, Craster - 2:45pm

A small cosy pub with a friendly welcome.



We joined the crowds on the approach to Dunstanburgh Castle. This was a popular stretch of path on a Bank Holiday Monday. The castle outline is very impressive, made more dramatic sillhouetted against the darkening sky.

This was the second of our castle visits on the route. Much of Dunstanburgh has decayed, though it is possible to climb the gatehouse tower for a good view all the way back to Boulmer and beyond.

The sky became darker, and we had a heavy shower just before leaving the castle. We sheltered under the entrance archway while it passed.










From Dunstanburgh we rejoined the path along the coast towards Embleton beach. The grassy banks had a mixture of wild flowers, intense purple Cranesbill and bright yellow Ragwort. This bee had obviously been caught out in the shower.







At Embleton bay the tide was out exposing a wide sweeping expanse of sand. It was so quiet here in comparison the crowds of people near Craster. We took off our boots and headed for the water for a very refreshing paddle.






The castle outline gradually became smaller but still provided a great backdrop and a very memorable view back along the beach. We reluctantly left the beach behind and headed for the golf club carpark where our transport was waiting to take us back to Beadnell.

The evening was spent visiting the two pubs in Beadnell .



17.Tower Hotel, Beadnell - 8:00pm

A smart hotel bar and separate restaurant. Excellent food we ate here twice during the week.




18.Craster Arms, Beadnell - 10:30pm

Nice comfortable bar