Cresswell village sits at the south end of Druridge Bay, an 8.5 mile stretch of rugged coastline that ends at the northernmost point of Amble-by-the-sea in Northumberland. In this post, we will be covering a few of the experiences you can expect to see if you explore the area on foot, from the wildlife to must-see landmarks.
We have lived in Northumberland for over 30 years and always within walking distance of Druridge bay and we regret to admit, we had never taken the plunge and walked the full length until now. When we walked this route starting at Cresswell, we didn’t set out to walk the whole of Druridge bay. We realised about 3 hours in that we were halfway around the Bay and we thought it would be lovely to see how far we could go. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and the beach was our own. The whole walk took 7 hours at a leisurely pace, seeing the various sights along the way. If your goal is to walk along the beach, it will take you considerably less time.
Druridge Bay Wildlife
The expanse of Druridge Bay is still largely untouched and free from human activity, making it a suitable habitat for many animals.
Some of the animals you may see at Druridge are:
Grey Atlantic Seals
Many types of birds
The warming climate and waters have seen the arrival of whales on the Northumberland coastline, usually visible on calm days when the sea is still. As we reached the 4 mile mark we saw a small pod swimming north towards Coquet Island, the large black dorsal fins unmistakeable. A pod was first sighted in 2018 by fishermen on the coast of Holy Island. Since that first sighting, pods have appeared at Druridge Bay, Lindisfarne, Seahouses, Amble and Berwick. Seals are their primary food source, so the Northumberland coast is a prime location for them to feed as it’s home to 1000’s of seals all year round.
You can see harbour porpoises at all times of year off the Northumberland coast. They travel in groups in the deeper waters, so you’ll benefit from using binoculars and looking towards the middle of the Bay to see them rising out of the water. Dolphins prefer the warmer months, so it’s more likely you’ll see them in late summer when the waters are warmest, though they are increasingly visiting our shores earlier in the year. If you visit specifically to see dolphins or porpoises, pick a clear, calm day where you’ll be most likely to see them jumping in and out of the water, though you can’t guarantee they’ll appear.
The Grey Atlantic Seals can often be seen in the sea swimming, bobbing their heads in and out of the water. They often come on land to rest, especially during rough conditions, and these are usually the times you’re most likely to see them lying on the sand. Coquet Island is the island at the north end of Druridge Bay featuring Coquet Lighthouse. The island is a common resting point for many seals all year round, and they share this island with the puffins who use this remote island for breeding. You can’t walk to Coquet Island as it’s about a mile off of the coast, but you can take a boat trip from Amble that will allow you to watch the seals and puffins from a safe distance.
Whilst walking around the Bay, we also came across a sizeable Spiny Spider Crab which is usually only found on the southern coast of the UK. They feed on algae, seaweed, starfish and molluscs but will eat an array of other things as well as they’re not fussy.
The crab was the size of a beach ball and was very slow-moving and calm. It didn’t seem bothered by our presence.
Birds at Druridge Bay
Druridge Bay is an excellent permanent and over-winter home to many types of birds, and there are a few areas along the Bay in particular that are perfect for birdwatchers to enjoy.
Cresswell Pond is the result of subsidence from mining in the area. It’s the only permanent brackish water lagoon on the Northumberland coast. Surrounded by farmers fields on all sides, there are 3 separate pools of water - 1 large brackish water and the other 2 are smaller freshwater pools. The main pool connects to a small overflow stream that leads under the main road to Druridge bay beach, and at times of extreme high tides, the sea links to the stream. There’s a hide for you to use and a small parking area across the road.
Some of the birds you can see at Cresswell Pond are:
Little Ringed Plover
Pectoral and Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Bar and Black-tailed Godwits
Mediterranean and Little Gulls and more.
Druridge Pools is located slightly inland from the beach, just over the dunes. 24 hectares of wetlands makes it the perfect place for overwintering wildfowl and other birds. A few types you’re most likely come across are:
Druridge Pools is free to access and has parking close by via the access road. There are grazing animals around the wetlands, so you need to be mindful if you have a dog with you. You can walk to the Pools from the beach, but the trail is uneven and often muddy.
There are 2 hides where you can sit and enjoy watching the birds with binoculars. Spring and Autumn are the best times of year to visit as you’ll likely see the migrating birds as they arrive and leave, and summer is the best time for the wildflowers and blooming flora and the insects they attract.
Druridge Bay is a beautiful area to enjoy with many natural attractions to experience whether you're an avid birdwatcher, hiker, or just enjoy the odd stroll now and again.