A Whitley Bay Walk – 5 miles around the coast- Seaton Burn, Seaton Sluice and St Marys Island

A 5 mile circular walk which starts from Whitley Bay crematorium then follows the Seaton Burn to Seaton Sluice, heading back south along the coastal cliffs to St Marys Island (check the tide times). You’ll see plenty of sea, lots of seabirds, quite a few planes and if lucky a few seals. Good walk in any weather but even better on a quiet calm Sunday evening, with blue sky and low sun illuminating the famous lighthouse. 

  • Distance     =  5.6 miles (9.01 km), clockwise route
  • Duration      =   1 hr 50 mins fast walk, (inc 10 mins on St Marys)
  • Total Ascent   =   470 ft, max height a modest 89 ft above sea level!
  • Start/Finish      =   layby in front of Whitley Bay crematorium
  • Sun 12th April 2015 – click on the Social Hiking Route Map below to zoom in/out

Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk Route

This was a straightforward evening walk after having to cancel a trip to the Lakes due to heavy rain. I needed exercise and tend to forget there’s a fine coastline right here on my doorstep. The idea was to make a decent circular route so I drove just 5 mins from home and parked outside the crematorium (as it’s free). Crossing the busy A193 I shuffled over the fence and walked across the deserted mini golf at the end of the Links. Then over the road to join the track heading northwards behind the St Marys nature reserve (signposted to Seaton Sluice & South Beach).

This takes a straight line north on the west side of the reserve with a few viewpoints across the pond where you might spot wading birds, ducks, herons etc. Once past the reserve the track meets the coast briefly to give you a taste of the views to come. Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_12

The track then goes through a small car park where I left the coast to turn inland up the road named E End past the Delaval Arms. Then over the A193 roundabout continuing west along W End (signposted Earsdon B1325). After walking gently downhill you pass an estate of bungalows followed by a Northumberland & Seaton Sluice sign. I turned immediately right through a tiny car park and gate to join the Seaton Burn section. This follows the winding burn through trees skirting around the back of the houses and eventually emerges out into the open at Seaton Sluice.

Sticking close to the south side of the burn a feint path goes under the A193 flyover and onto the Sluice. Continue up towards the Kings Arms and survey the interesting scene below over the tiny old harbour, it’s a bit different. There’s some info plaques outside the pub worth checking out, it’s also worth crossing the footbridge over the “cut” onto “Rocky Island”. Here you can do a quick circuit where views north along Blyth Beach suddenly open up. This can be be calm or windswept but rarely uninteresting. Follow the path clockwise round to the headland where the sluice opens out into the sea. Now a succession of cliffs lead the eye to St Marys Island and lighthouse.

Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_13

Good spot this, so get the binocs out. Now to follow those cliffs firstly by taking the path straight back along the top of the Cut past a lonely house and over the footbridge. From here it’s simply following the line of the cliffs as much as possible down to St Mary’s Island. Initially there’s a grassy section in front of the houses which then joins the road before angling off towards a larger headland. This goes round farmland & a caravan park which you hardly notice if you keep near the cliff edges, (not too near of course).

Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_14Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_15Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_16Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_17Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_18

The causeway is covered for two hours either side of high tide, so pick a time when it’s clear as the island is definitely worth a visit (St Marys tide times). Bear in mind if you visit during the day especially at weekends this place can be heaving.

Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_19

At certain times the small shop maybe open with refreshments and a visitor centre. Always worth paying just to walk up the steep lighthouse steps for fantastic views out to sea. Kids love the numerous rock pools, as do a few adults, such as me:-) Planes circle overhead on their approach to Newcastle Airport, however today the seals took the eye. There were at least ten dotted around basking on the rocks, the most I’ve ever seen here. Many are technically in the photo below but far too camouflaged to make out. Definitely take binoculars, seals often pop up in the distant sea usually unnoticed by onlookers.

Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_20

Stay as long as you want but do keep an eye on that tide, part of the local tradition is watching tourists scampering back over a submerging causeway. This splodging fun can turn into danger though as the water gets deeper and currents kick in. There’s been a few incidents here and many a tourist has had to be ‘rescued’ by boat, so take care.

From St Marys it’s a shortish walk back along the causeway past the car park (ice cream van possible), then either along the prom or road back to the car. Sometimes you see Cormorants on the rocks airing their wings in the breeze (ps there’s always a breeze here).

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Looking back in calm evening light

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If time and energy allow then this walk can be extended south along the beach or cliffs to the iconic art deco Rendezvous Cafe for a cuppa. Alternatively just behind is the new Links Gallery cafe with it’s tasty Italian coffee & cake delicacies. Not that I’m obsessed with cake delicacies…..ok I am. Either way enjoy:-)

Whitley Bay and St Marys Island walk_23

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About MART IN THE HILLS

Hillwalker with dodgy knees and dodgier sense of humour. Lover of the outdoors, Lakes, Highlands, Cheviots, nature, good food, real ale and leaf tea.
This entry was posted in Northumberland and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Whitley Bay Walk – 5 miles around the coast- Seaton Burn, Seaton Sluice and St Marys Island

  1. Jane says:

    I am very fond of lighthouses so I would have enjoyed this walk! My last lighthouse walk was at Cape Byron, the most easterly point of Australia – a lovely spot. Great photos!

    • Thanks and agree, there’s a certain something about lighthouses. Course they tend to be in interesting places which helps 🙂 My next Highlands blog, once it eventually gets finished, will feature a more remote one.

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