3 Day Walking Visit to Alnmouth 2016 DAY 1

Day 1 Stepping stones.jpg

As part of our annual programme of walks the Southwell Group organise two 3 day walking trips to parts of the country not accessible for our normal Sunday walks. These are in the spring and autumn. Our latest annual spring walking trip away was to Alnmouth, Northumberland. We stayed at the HF’s Nether Grange, a brilliant base for such an event. HF hotels are always popular with our members and this year was no exception with 24 participants. This particular hotel is in a wonderful setting overlooking the North Sea and has recently been refurbished, the staff are excellent and the food wonderful.

Our programme of walks involves 2 on the first two days, one longer than the other and then a short walk on the third day to facilitate our journey home.

On this occasion both walks caught the bus into Alnwick for a linear walk back to Alnmouth. From the main entrance to Alnmouth Castle we descended to the River Aln crossing it by the Lion Bridge. Heading east provided magnificent views of the castle. Following the river we eventually made our way under the A1 and then after a short walk away from the river meet it again below Old Hawkhill. Those doing a longer walk crossed the river on some stepping stones, always a nervous experience especially when the river is quiet deep in the middle and then continuing east passed under the main East Coast Railway line towering overhead on a beautiful Victorian viaduct. Passing through Lesbury we headed for Foxhill House on the coast. After walking along the beach towards Seaton Point we eventually retraced our steps towards Alnmouth with some haste because the tide was rapidly coming in. We met the rest of our group who has completed a similar but shorter route at our hotel for a chat and a drink before a well-earned evening meal. We did have good views but the weather was misty which spoilt distance views.

This was not the case on day two when we awoke to bright sunshine and warmth! One group completed a leisurely walk of 10.5 miles starting from the hotel and walking to Warkworth, then following a section of the River Coquet before travelling across to Amble and following the coast path to the Dunes Nature Reserve. The return to the hotel was made using the bus. Another group completed a moderate circular walk of 8 miles around the picturesque parkland estate of Hulne Park, owned by the Dukes of Northumberland who also own Alnwick Castle. On our route we passed an 18th century prospect tower and two former monasteries with time for exploration. At this time of year the park is especially picturesque with early wild flowers, blossom on the trees and lambs in the fields.

On our final day’s walk we travelled to the idyllic Northumberland village of Rothbury. Again, in bright sunshine we completed a 5 mile circular walk which took us up on to the moorland north of the town, offering tremendous views of Rothbury against a backdrop of the Cheviots and the Coquet valley.

For more information about the group please visit our website www.southwellramblers.org.uk

(The picture shows members using the stepping stones to cross the River Aln)