Druridge Bay, an eight mile arc of sand running north from Cresswell to the harbour of Amble in Northumberland, strewn with wetlands. From lagoons stained the deepest green by summer algae to flooded tyre ruts, glinting water in the arable fields. This blog is a snapshot of research at the University of Northumbria as we explore this pondscape forged between northern sea and sky.
Druridge Bay is an eight mile long beach, thirty miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne,stretching north form the village of Cresswell to the harbour town of Amble. The Bay is famous amongst birdwatchers, but there are other treasures such as the stumps of trees from forest submerged as the North Sea infilled and, at the north end by Hauxley, peat beds on the beach with footprints from neolithic people.
A string of nature reserves run inland of the dunes or out at sea in the case of Coquet Island. Most of the sites described in this blog are open to the public and accessible from the A1068 road which runs the length of the Bay. Here are the main sites, reserves in red, the main villages in yellow and Blakemoor Farm
Coquet Island. (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). Boat trips from Amble go around the Island although you may not land. Famous for Roseatte terns.
Hauxley Reserve, (Northumberland Wildlife Trust). Respected bird watching site, also good for butterflies and flowers. Site of our experimental ponds exploring animal and plant community dynamics, since 1994. The post-glacial peat beds are readily visible in the eroding dune face if you walk south along the beach from the reserve. Free car park at reserve.
Druridge Bay Country Park (County Council). Primarily for outdoor recreation, but with good access to adjacent dunes including East Chevington to the south. Visitor centre with a dispaly of history and wildlife of the Bay. Car Park at visitor centre
East Chevington. The most recent restoration of open cast coal with extensive reedbeds. Already a hit with birders. Limited car parking along adajcent track or walk from Country Park
Druridge Pools (National Trust and Wildlife Trust). Bird watching from hides over lake and wet grassland. Parking along dune track on site.
Cresswell lagoon. (Wildlife Trust). Subsidence over the worked out coal seams at the south of the Bay has created many subsidnece sites. this lagoon is the largets, and brackish due to a tidal stream. beloved by birders. Also the site of a campaign against sand extraction from the beach, commemorated by plaque on the road as if crosses the bridge over the stream. Limited parking by entrance track.
Blakemoor Farm. Private land although several public footpaths run through the fields which are littered with subsidence ponds.
Cresswell Village. Great beach, mysterious bastle (mini castle)...and superb ice cream shop.