Quality Self Catering, Letton Lodge, Alnmouth
|The View from Letton Lodge|
Next door is the
Church of John the Baptist, built in 1876; immediately below is the Old
Vicarage, more recently the Marine House Hotel and Restaurant, now converted into private apartments; you are standing in what
was the old Church School.
The main road passing the gate of Letton Lodge and the Church was the Corn Road, a Turnpike built to enable transport of Corn from Hexham to Alnmouth, when it was a major grain exporting port.
Immediately across the road are the Tea Cosy Tea Room/Bistro and the Saddle Hotel, converted from the Village Store and a Saddler's respectively.
Across the well-kept Church Green, a number of old Granaries have been converted into private residences.
At the South end of the Bay, some four miles away, is Amble, a fishing port (and one-time coal port) at the mouth of the Coquet; the fishing fleet can sometimes be seen as it leaves port for the fishing grounds in the early morning or returns in the evening. Two lighthouses stand one either side of the river mouth.
Coquet Island, about four and a half miles to the South East, once the site of a Monastery, is now home to nesting Puffins and Terns.
During Summer, boat trips from Amble go out to the Island, but landing is not allowed.
The Lighthouse is unmanned, and is maintained by the Trinity House boat "Patricia" that can often be seen in the bay.
Across the river is Warkworth Beach, some three and a half miles of virtually deserted golden sand; this can be reached via Warkworth, or by wading the river at low tide.
About mid-way along the beach is a small outcrop of rock known as Birling Carrs.
Behind the beach can be seen the National Trust grass-covered sand dunes, home to many species of wild flowers including Cowslips and Orchids.
Cobles from Amble and Boulmer with T-nets close to the shore are fishing for Salmon and Sea Trout returning to the rivers Aln and Coquet to spawn.
Slightly further out to sea, near Marden Rocks, they will be visiting Lobster Pots; further out again, they are probably fishing for white fish.
Smaller private boats are probably fishing for white fish including Plaice, Whiting and Cod.
The Yachts in the bay are mostly based in Amble Marina, possibly with some from Alnmouth.
On the skyline, coastal freight vessels may be passing by.
Watch the ever-changing course of the once-busy River Aln.
Across the Golf Course, the stone buildings half way along Alnmouth Beach, to the left hand end of this view, are the disused Lifeboat Houses.
Alnmouth Village Golf Course was founded around 1869 and is the second oldest Links course in England; the 9-hole course returns via a detour over the Bracken Hill, where it shares a boundary with the 18-hole Alnmouth Golf Course at Foxton.
On top of the hill can be seen an old army battery (originally built in case of attack by Napoleon), and a more recent Beacon commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada.
At the Village end of the hill is the Franciscan Friary (once a night club).
The Marsh is home to nesting Mallard and spawning Frogs and Toads in the Spring.
There is much to interest the armchair birdwatcher depending, of course, on the season.
Summer Swifts fly endlessly above and below; Kestrels hover below; Cormorants fly along the Coast or dry their wings on the river bank after an underwater fishing expedition; Eiders drift in and out of the river with the tide; Terns dive for Sand Eels; Fulmars glide effortlessly by; Curlew, Oyster Catchers and Redshank are rarely far away. Occasionally a flock of Gannet will visit the bay, following shoals of fish.
In winter, the estuary is home to a number of species, including Goosander, and migrating Geese and Swans can sometimes be seen flying along the coast.
Air-Sea Rescue Helicopters from nearby Boulmer will often pass by as they fly to, or return from, rescue missions in the North of England and the Scottish Borders - occasionally rescuing foolhardy motorists trying to beat the high tide as they return to the mainland from Lindisfarne.
And finally, an "out of season" (a few years ago, but it doesn't change significantly) view from Bracken Hill - the Sea, the Beaches (Alnmouth and Warkworth), the River, the Sand Dunes, the Golf Course, the temporary Football Pitch, the Marsh, the fields beyond, stretching towards the East Coast Main Line and Warkworth (you can just see Warkworth Castle on the horizon directly above the Golf Club House), Alnmouth Village, and, to the left of the Church, at the end of the white-fenced path from Marine Road, Letton Lodge.