A walk along the magnificent Northumbrian coast, topped by a pretty red-roofed town and tailed by a splendid medieval castle. By Christopher Somerville.

Walking stats: Distance 7 miles Time 3 hours Difficulty 1/5

1. Starting Point

From Alnmouth Station you walk east to cross the widening Aln Estuary before arriving in the attractive little seaside town, all red roofs and colour-washed walls, with an ozone-rich tang off the North Sea.

2. Flowery Dunes

Follow the cycle track south through grazing meadows until you reach the tall sand dunes of Buston Links. Purple sheets of bloody cranesbill, the last of the cowslips, harebells shaking their blue flower bells in the breeze – it’s wildflower heaven.

3. Windy Beach

Make your way on to the beach to walk on south, with black-capped and scarlet-beaked Arctic terns dive-bombing the shallows for fish – a beautifully wild, lonely strand.

4. Warkworth Castle

Just past the golf clubhouse, turn inland to cross the River Coquet into historic Warkworth with its great ruined castle, the ancestral home of the Percys, Northumberland’s greatest aristocratic family – a superb place for children to battle imaginary foes!

Getting there: Rail: Alnmouth (eastcoast.co.uk). Road: A1 to Alnwick, A1068 to Alnmouth. Return: X18 bus Warkworth-Alnmouth (arrivabus.co.uk).

Landscape: Flowery dunes, snaking Aln Estuary, Warkworth Castle high over the village.

Refuelling options: Good solid walker-friendly fodder (mince and dumplings, cod and chips, beef and ale pie) at the Sun Hotel opposite Warkworth Castle (01665 711259, thesunhotelwarkworth.co.uk).

Suggested OS Maps: Explorer 332 ‘Alnwick & Amble’, Landranger 81 ‘Alnwick & Morpeth’.

Parking: Alnmouth seafront.

Public toilets: Corner of Pease’s Lane/Marine Road.

  • While you are there

    Highlights? Flowers of Buston Links; lonely Warkworth beach.

    For the Kids? Alnmouth beach; Warkworth Castle.