Walking the Route
What is the path like?
The route follows the coast in most places with an inland detour between Belford and Holy Island. Most of the paths are public rights of way (footpaths and bridleways) but in some places beaches, minor roads, tracks and permissive paths are used. The route is generally level with very few steep climbs. Most stiles along the route have been replaced with gates and the walking surfaces are generally good, although some sections of the path can become muddy in winter or after heavy rain.
If you enjoy walking on the beach, we have shown on the stage-maps where a beach-alternative to the path is possible. However there are two places where you need to walk on the beach:
1. From the start at Cresswell, the first three and a half kilometres are on the beach. If the tide is high, this may be on soft sand and you might want to walk along the quiet road behind the dunes.
2. North of Alnmouth (Foxton Hall) golf course, the public right of way is on the beach. Check the tide times before you set off as the path will be inaccessible at the top of the highest tides.
North of the causeway at Holy Island, the path skirts the mud flats and again, at the top of the highest tides, the path may be under water. An alternative route is to follow the cycleway adjacent to the road for a short distance and then turn right onto the NCN1 cycleway which will take you to Longbridge Ends.
How long will it take?
The route is 100km or 62 miles. Some walkers will be able to complete the route in three days or even less whilst some will take seven or more days, depending on their pace and whether they stop to visit attractions along the way.
The route is broken into six stages of between six and 13 miles, with the end of each stage being somewhere you can find accommodation.