Designated in 1958, the Northumberland Coast AONB in the north east of England covers 63 km (~39 mi) of dramatic, low-lying North Sea coastline landscapes from Berwick to the Coquet estuary. The area includes the isle of Lindisfarne and the small islands and rocks of the Farne Islands. Northumberland is still largely rural and the least populated county in England.
As it’s in the far north of England, Northumberland is one of the coldest parts of the country, but temperatures are warmer on the coast because of its proximity to sea and the lower land levels. There’s a relatively low annual rainfall in the region.
The AONB contains a wealth of wildlife, but especially of note are its two National Nature Reserves – Lindisfarne is a prime site for waders and waterfowl. Farne Islands is a protected seabird sanctuary featuring 290 bird species, including a huge colony of puffins during nesting season. This site also features a large colony of 6,000 grey seals and their new pups born between September and November.
Sometimes called “the best kept secret in England”, tourism isn’t highly developed here, but the area increasingly attracts visitors for the sheer range of what it has to offer.
Although there’s no path running the entire length of the coast, the Northumberland Path covers 103 km (64 mi) from Cresswell in the south to Berwick-on-Tweed. There are plenty of other footpaths and bridleways for walking, cycling and horse-riding to best explore the magnificent countryside. The beaches are great for water sports, and those on offer here include windsurfing, surfing, sea-canoeing, river kayaking and offshore diving. The Farne Islands are one of the best locations in the UK for scuba diving, with sites to suit all levels of experience. Features include exploring shipwrecks and watching seals underwater.