Take a walk guided by the Coquet Island lighthouse
PUBLISHED: 08:31 14 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 20 February 2013
This month's walk starts on the beach at Low Hauxley, in sight of Coquet Island lighthouse, a solid and reassuring presence a mile out across the north sea from the village
How much do you think it would cost to build a lighthouse? Would a figure of 3,268 seem reasonable? Thats the amount that was paid to build the lighthouse on Coquet Island off the Northumberland coast. Admittedly this was in 1841, and 3,268 went a whole lot further then. Still, given how many lives must have been saved over the past century and a half, this early Victorian building project was a definite bargain.
We start this months walk on the beach at Low Hauxley. Coquet Island lighthouse is a solid and reassuring presence a mile out across the north sea from the village. Its also a useful landmark which well see again further along the route.
Walk south along the beach or, if the tide is in, follow the track through Low Hauxley along the top of the dunes. The beach at Low Hauxley is distinctive for the sandstone outcrops that erupt from the sand. These outcrops are known locally as carrs. It is easy to see the different and distinctive layers of sandy sediment that form this rock. Its a little like looking at the pages of a book, though a book that was written over many millions of years.
Follow the beach around a curve past Silver Carrs and Bondi Carrs. On the top of the dunes is a variety of different chalets and beach huts, all with a view that would make any romantics heart soar. Some of these chalets may look a little bit dilapidated and in danger of falling over the edge of the dunes, but one was once on sale for 100,000. Hopefully our misty-eyed romantic has deep pockets.
Continue along the beach until you reach a substantial concrete sluice. Climb up the path to the right of the sluice to reach a road. Turn left and follow this road until you reach a wood. When you are approximately half way along the edge of this wood, follow a path marked with a North Sea Trail post into the trees.
The route through the trees takes you into the Druridge Bay Country Park. Follow the path past the visitor centre and then around the south shore of Ladyburn Lake. The park is a popular destination at weekends, and a permit will allow you take a non-motorised boat for a spin on Ladyburn Lake.
If you do decide that messing about in boats is your thing, youll share the lake with a wide variety of waterfowl. The most impressive birds youll see are the colony of mute swans than make their home on the lake. The Queen owns the rights of ownership to all unmarked swans on open water. So the bird that may give you a curious look as you pass is theoretically royal property. Unless its marked, but who wants to get close enough to find out?
At the far western end of the lake follow the path signposted Togston. The path dips down briefly to a wooden bridge and then climbs again to a gate opening onto a farm field.
Go through the gate and walk northeast along the edge of the field to another gate. Go through this gate and follow the track that takes you to the A1068 road.
Cross over the road - taking care as this is a busy route - and follow the path to Togston along a field directly on the other side. Walk along the edge of this field as it wends its way to Togston. About a tenth of a kilometre before you reach the village you will see a stile leading into a copse. Cross the stile and follow the path around the perimeter of a water treatment plant. Well, okay sewage works if were being less euphemistic.
The path curves around to reach the B6345 on the eastern edge of Togston. Follow the road northeast until you reach a junction on the right. Follow this road east. After a third of a kilometre leave the road and follow a footpath on the left marked by a fingerpost pointing the way to Togston Hall.
At a junction of paths, turn right down a farm track until you reach a bridleway. From the bridleway you can see Togston Hall behind you. The house was a 16th century bastle, fortified to protect the owners from Scottish raiding parties. Once life was more peaceful and the threat of armed attack began to recede, the house was remodelled to the attractive if still substantial property you can see today.
Looking forward again you should be able to see Coquet Island lighthouse once more. This is reassuring because the bridleway we are now on zigzags around the edges of farm fields and it is easy to get disorientated.
Continue following the bridleway north until you eventually reach the A1068 again. The A1068 is designated as the Coastal Route and is a slower, though far more picturesque, way to travel north than the more direct A1 to the west.
Cross over the road and follow the road opposite to High Hauxley. After a kilometre you should come to a sharp bend in the road. On the bend is a footpath marker. Follow this footpath around the edge of a field to eventually reach the Amble links road. Walk along the road back to Low Hauxley and the end of this months walk.
Join David on one of his popular one-day or residential workshops over the summer and autumn. For more details visit his website www.davidtaylorphotography.co.uk
Start Point: Hauxley Links car park
Grid Reference: NU 285 032
Ordnance Survey Map: OS Landranger 81
Length: 8 miles (13 km)
Difficulty: Moderately Easy (some uneven paths)
Time: 3 hours
Nearest Pub: The Schooner, Amble
Nearest town: Amble
Other Notes: Visit Amble Tourism for further information about the area: www.ambletouristinformation.co.uk