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Holy Island Coastal Walk

Introduction

This walk follows the north east and south coasts of Holy Island.

The coastline around Holy Island is varied and includes quiet beaches, cliffs and rocky shores. Superb views are everywhere on this walk.

Distance - About 6 miles

Parking - Large car park outside village - very expensive when we were there.

Toilets - In coach park in the village.

Access to Island: We carefully checked the tides as we were crossing from the mainland. We planned to arrive on a day when the first safe crossing time was about 9.30am. This gave us time to do this walk and return before the rising tide covered the causeway again.

Path to Snipe Point.
Path to Snipe Point.

Beach near Emmanuel Head.
Beach near Emmanuel Head.

 

Walk

1) We started the walk from the main car park and walked north along the road.

In a short distance the road turns left and downhill towards the shore.

A gate and signpost were soon reached on our right.

An information board at the gate had some details of wildlife and also some walks information. We didn't follow the marked walks shown here.

Leaving the car park
Leaving the car park

Turning off the road.
Turning off the road.

 

2) After turning through the gate we followed a good, grassy path towards the distant dunes.

Cattle were grazing happily along the path and on our left were superb views to the mainland and Cheviot Hills. The bulk of the Cheviot itself was unmistakable on the horizon, as it is from many parts of Northumberland.

Footpath to the north of the island. Footpath to the north of the island.
Footpath to the north of the island. Footpath to the north of the island.
Footpath to the north of the island.
 
View across Holy Island Sands to the mainland. View across Holy Island Sands to the mainland.
Views across Holy Island Sands to the mainland and The Cheviot.

 

3) After a while we reached the dunes where the path climbed a little before entering a large plateau like area.

Path to The Links.
Path to The Links.


View across Holy Island Sands to the mainland.

   
Path to the dunes. Path to the dunes.
Path to the dunes.

 

4) Continuing straight ahead we walked towards a clearly visible path into the higher distant dunes. Here the path changed from grass to soft sand.

Climbing up the dunes.
Climbing up the dunes.

View from the dunes.
View from the dunes.

 

5) Here we climbed steeply up the dunes, pausing to admire the superb views across Holy Island Sands.

View from the dunes to the mainland.
View from the dunes to the mainland.

View to the shore from the dunes.
View to the shore from the dunes.

 

6) We then dropped down into a hollow where there is a ruined cottage.

Path through the dunes.
Path through the dunes.

Ruined cottage in the dunes.
Ruined cottage in the dunes.

 

7) Following a path past the cottage through a narrow gap in a fence we continued on through the dunes. A path took us steeply up and down again until we reached the north coast of the island.

Here we were greeted with fabulous views straight ahead across Goswick Sands to Cheswick Sands and beyond to Berwick and even to the cliffs at Marshall Meadows on the Scottish Borders.

Path through the dunes.
Path through the dunes.

Approaching the north coast.
Approaching the north coast.

 

8) We crossed a flattish area of tufted grass and sand dotted with low violet coloured flowers growing from the sand.

View along Goswick Sands and north to Berwick. View along Goswick Sands and north to Berwick.
View along Goswick Sands and north to Berwick.

 

9) On reaching the beach we turned right and followed the shore which soon became rocky.

Approaching the beach.
Approaching the beach.

View along the beach to the rocks.
View along the beach to the rocks.

 

10) After crossing the rocks for a while we walked back up to the dunes.

Crossing the rocks. Crossing the rocks.
Crossing the rocks.

 

11) We followed a narrow path through the tall grass keeping close to the shore.

The path climbed through some dunes and back down to the rocky shore.

Path through the dunes towards Snipe Point.
Path through the dunes towards Snipe Point.

 

12) Here, there were more superb views and a nice place to stop for a break.

The rocky shore on the way to Snipe Point. The rocky shore on the way to Snipe Point.
The rocky shore on the way to Snipe Point.

 

13) We continued along the rocky shore to Snipe Point and walked towards the beach at Coves Haven.

Snipe Point.
Snipe Point.

Coves Haven.
Coves Haven.

 

14) We walked up to the top of the dunes above the beach and down onto a path behind them which rose back up to the top of the cliffs.

View of the cliffs at Coves Haven.
View of the cliffs at Coves Haven.

The beach at Coves Haven.
The beach at Coves Haven.

   

Path behind the dunes.
Path behind the dunes.

Emerging at the cliff tops.
Emerging at the cliff tops.

 

15) We walked to the end of the cliffs to look across to Castlehead rocks where Gannet's were feeding.

View along the beach from the cliffs.
View along the beach from the cliffs.

View of the cliffs.
View of the cliffs.

 

16) We walked around the point and down onto a lovely beach. In the distance the white navigation pillar at Emmanuel Head was visible.

View along the beach to Emmanuel Head. View along the beach to Emmanuel Head.
View along the beach to Emmanuel Head. View along the beach to Emmanuel Head.
View along the beach to Emmanuel Head.

 

17) We walked the full length of this beach before crossing the rocky shore and climbing up onto the headland where we followed a well worn path to the navigation pillar.

Here we stopped to admire the views and take more photos.

Emmanuel Head. Emmanuel Head.
Emmanuel Head. Emmanuel Head.
Emmanuel Head. Emmanuel Head.
Views at Emmanuel Head.

 

18) From the point we followed the path south with views of Lindisfarne Castle in the distance.

View back to Emmanuel Head.
View back to Emmanuel Head.

View to the small lake near the path.
View to the small lake near the path.

 

19) We continued along the coastal path which follows the route of the old wagonway from the castle lime kilns. This becomes more visible as an old railway further south.

View along the path towards the castle.
View along the path towards the castle.

The east coast of the island.
The east coast of the island.

 

20) We turned right and followed the path running beside a wall on the north side of the castle. A good detour though is to continue on and walk around the coast past the castle. Having been that way before we chose the shorter route for a change.

Path to Lindisfarne Castle.
Path to Lindisfarne Castle.

The walled garden opposite the castle.
The walled garden opposite the castle.

 

21) After a while we reached the small walled garden opposite to the castle before continuing on to rejoin the coast at the foot of the castle mound.

Lindisfarne Castle. Lindisfarne Castle.
Lindisfarne Castle.

 

22) From here we walked along the road towards the village where we made a detour to the toilets in the coach park.

View from the road to the village. View from the road to the village.
View from the road to the village.

 

23) We returned to the bay and walked along the small beach past the upturned boat houses to the harbour pier.

Upturned boathouses.
Upturned boathouses.

View from the beach to the castle.
View from the beach to the castle.

 

24) After stopping along the pier for more photos we walked up to the Heugh.

View along the pier.
View along the pier.

View from The Heugh.
View from The Heugh.

 

25) At the top beside the navigation light and the war memorial are fantastic views in all directions.

The priory, harbour, castle, village and mainland can all be seen from here.

War memorial on The Heugh.War memorial on The Heugh.
War memorial on The Heugh.
   

Lindisfarne Priory.
Lindisfarne Priory and St. Mary's Church.

View to the village.
View to the village.

   

View across to Guile Point.
View across to Guile Point.

Lindisfarne Priory.
Lindisfarne Priory.

 

26) From the Heugh we followed a steep and slippery path down to the shore and to a lane past St. Mary's Church.

We then walked back through the village to the car park.

Keeping an eye on the time we made it back across the causeway before the tide came in.

 

Notes

Walking Gear:

- Good walking boots advised.

- Waterproof clothing advisable depending on the weather forecast.

Food and drink advisable.

Maps - Ordnance Survey Landranger sheet no.  75 Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Tides - This walk required careful planning to arrive, complete the walk and leave the island without being cut off by the tide.

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