Birdwatching - Northumberland's Winter Birds
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Hills & moorland
Join us for a winter birdwatch across inland and coastal habitats including Holy Island and the expansive beaches such as Druridge Bay We'll walk up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day. Suitable for any level of experience, with no prior knowledge required.
- Enjoy birdwatching in a small sociable group setting
- Leisurely walks with regular stops to watch birds
- Our expert leader will guide you around the best sites
- Flexible itineraries will take into account prevailing weather conditions and any reported sightings
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or other mode of transport, e.g. boat
- Entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary
Nether Grange has undeniable history and gorgeous landscapes that surrounds the Alnmouth coastline. It's a perfect mixture of sea and landscape that provides a more settled terrain for everyone who enjoys walking in all of nature's beauty.
Nether Grange has 35 bedrooms, a number of which enjoy views across the links golf course to the sea.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Large lounge
• Dining room with sea views
• Free WiFi available in some public rooms
• Range of board games and books
|• Elevated terrace and croquet lawn with superb sea views
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the age and the layout of the house, Nether Grange is not recommended for wheelchair users or guests with restricted mobility.
Although one bedroom has wheelchair access, the access to the main house has some steps and the public rooms in the main building are over 2 floors with no lift available.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way. On our Natural World holidays we spend most of the day outdoors, exploring by mini-coach or on foot, walking up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day.
Two Itineraries are shown below (for November 2017 and for November 2018):
Beadnell and Embleton
Our introduction to the classic Northumberland beachscape as we get in some sea-watching. This morning, we’ll walk along the links looking out for twite and snow bunting before visiting a wetland reserve to look for waders, including water rail and migrant passerines. Later in the afternoon we’re looking for passage migrants and sea ducks, including Eider.
Today we head inland to Rothbury Forest and look out for winter thrushes, brambling and buzzards. We’ll walk along the River Coquet where dipper and grey wagtail can be found, and explore the hills above the town watching out for woodland species such as treecreeper.
Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
We take in the full six miles of the bay, starting at its northern end. There’ll be a mixture of sea-watching, visits to wetlands and walking as we take in East Chevington, Druridge Pools and Cresswell Pond. We hope to see at least six species of duck along with waders, twite and hunting owls.
Today we’ll visit three different areas looking for whooper swans and pink-footed geese ‘grazing’ in the fields, snipe and gadwall on the marshlands, and grebes and woodland birds in the country park. Our longest walk today takes about an hour, with a chance to see red squirrels as well! It's a very full day and enormously rewarding.
Our visit to this iconic Northumbrian location takes us across the causeway, stopping to look across the mudflats before moving on to explore the island looking for small migrants around the village gardens and lonnens, over-wintering Lapland bunting, large numbers of teal and black-tailed godwit. We can look out across the channels and sand banks back to the mainland, hoping to see Brent geese, wigeon and shelduck.
Bamburgh and Embleton Bay
Bamburgh is one of the best places in Britain to see purple sandpipers in quantity, with sea ducks and grebes offshore, while Low Newton and Embleton Bay add further wader species and a variety of freshwater wildfowl. Stonechats, Yellowhammers and Meadow Pipits occupy the dunes.
Formerly an area of coal mining, the southeast Northumberland coast now has a remarkable ‘string of pearls’; mine workings turned into nature reserves, with a range of waders, wildfowl, raptors and mammals. Short-eared, Barn and Little Owl are all regular in this area, Pink-footed Geese graze the coastal fields and this rich tapestry of habitat can produce some surprises, including the possibility of an impressive Starling murmuration!
Holy Island, Fenham le Moor and Budle Bay
Holy Island, Fenham le Moor and Budle Bay are all parts of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve which holds a fine flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese and large numbers of waders. This is an excellent place to see Short-eared Owl and birds of prey such as Merlin and Peregrine.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- A telescope (only if you have one) and binoculars (essential)
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guide (optional) - the Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide
Nether Grange sits right at the heart of the historic coastal village of Alnmouth. Located right on the North Sea coast there is a sweeping sandy beach and a small tidal harbour. Facilities include a handful of small shops, pubs and cafés.
A wider range of facilities, including shops, supermarkets, banks and chemists can be found in Alnwick, the nearest town. Alnwick is about four miles inland and is connected to Alnmouth by regular buses.
During your visit to the Nether Grange you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Alnwick Castle & gardens
The huge Alnwick Castle is a big attraction in its own right and has gained a younger audience since being used as ‘Hogwarts Castle’ in the Harry Potter films. The gardens have undergone extensive rebuilding and are now the main draw for many visitors. Alnwick is just 10 to 15 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the hourly X18 bus. www.alnwickcastle.com or www.alnwickgarden.com
Owned by the Armstrong family since the 1750s, Bamburgh Castle occupies a splendid position above the sweeping sands of the North Sea coast. Bamburgh is 35 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the 501 local bus which runs every other hour. www.bamburghcastle.com
Take a boat trip (weather permitting) from Seahouses to the Farne Islands; one of the best places in Britain to view seals and puffins. Seahouses is around 45 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the 501 bus. www.farne-islands.com
English Christianity was born in 7th century Northumberland and Lindisfarne Priory, is its oldest major site, dating from 635AD. It is located on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, cut off by the tides twice a day (make sure that you check the tide times before you visit). The Heritage Centre tells the stories of St Aidan, St Cuthbert and St Bede and displays the 8th century Lindisfarne Gospels in electronic form. Linisfarne is just under an hour's drive from Alnmouth. www.english-heritage.org.uk/lindisfarne-priory
Warkworth Castle, a few miles to the south of Alnmouth, towers over a bend in the River Coquet and the picturesque town of Warkworth. Warkworth is just 10 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the 518 bus. www.english-heritage.org.uk/warkworth-castle
Built by Victorian industrial magnate William Armstrong, Cragside House was hugely innovative and was the first house in Britain to be lit by electric light. Now managed by the National Trust, the house and gardens are a fascinating visit. Cragside is around 40 minutes' drive from Alnmouth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside
Seaton Delaval Hall
Seaton Delaval Hall is a fine stately home, designed by John Vambrugh and completed in 1728. Following an extensive fundraising appeal it has recently been purchased by the National Trust. The hall is around 40 minutes' drive from Alnmouth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/seaton-delaval-hall
The vibrant city of Newcastle is always bustling with activity and is famed for its shopping and lively nightlife. The new Baltic arts centre and Sage Gallery are well worth a visit. Newcastle is just under an hour's drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached by hourly local bus.
Around 1½ hours drive from Nether Grange, Hadrian’s Wall remains a powerful symbol of the Roman Empire. The most dramatic section is from Once Brewed to Housteads Roman Fort and a walk here enables you to see some of the best preserved sections at close quarters. Two museums of note are the Roman Army Museum near Walltown you can gain an insight into the daily lives of Roman soldiers, and Vindolanda Roman Fort with its collection of rare Roman artefacts. www.visithadrianswall.co.uk
Alnmouth Village Golf Club
This links course if located right in front of Nether Grange. www.alnmouthvillagegolfclub.co.uk
Barter Books has been dubbed the British Library of secondhand bookshops and is located in a handsome old Victorian railway station in Alnwick.
Cragside House image © National Trust/Graeme Peacock, Seaton Delaval Hall image ©National Trust Images/John Hammond
Travel to Alnmouth
Our address is: Nether Grange, Alnmouth, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 2RZ
The nearest railway station is Alnmouth, on the main line between Newcastle and Edinburgh. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 1 mile journey from Alnmouth railway station takes approximately 5 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £6. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Nether Grange Manager.
Take the A1 to Alnwick. Exit on the A1068 heading towards Alnwick. At the roundabout turn right (not well signed) and follow the A1068 towards Alnmouth. After 2¾ miles go straight ahead at the first roundabout then left at the second roundabout onto the B1338. As you approach Alnmouth cross the bridge, then turn right at the roundabout into the centre of the village. Turn left into Pease’s Lane. Nether Grange is on the left. Please note that Nether Grange does not have a car park, however free parking available on the streets around Nether Grange.
Travelling from overseas
There is a local airport at Newcastle which is served by European flights, and UK regional flights from London. From here take the metro to Newcastle Central station, then on by train to Alnmouth - a straightforward journey taking just over 1 hour.
Manchester Airport has a much wider range of long-haul flights. There are trains every hour from the airport to Alnmouth with one change at Newcastle. Allow 3½ hours to Alnmouth - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow 5 hours to reach Alnmouth. From Heathrow first take the Piccadilly line Underground train to London Kings Cross station. From here take a train to Alnmouth - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Alison’s first love was botany, but she was introduced to serious bird watching about 15 years ago. Now she enjoys getting out and about whenever she can, concentrating on her local area of south Cumbria and north Lancashire, looking for plants and birds on the hills and coast. Alison is also a volunteer with several wildlife projects and organisations.
Martin is the owner and also leads all of the wildlife and photography tours offered by Northern Experience Wildlife Tours. A former teacher, Martin was also Field Trips Officer for the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club (NTBC) between 1997-2003.
Martin is a very experienced tour organiser and leader. He organised a whale and eagle watching trip to Mull for 13-15 year olds while still teaching, and many day trips and residentials for the NTBC, including a return crossing field trip of the Bay of Biscay.
As an author and former editor of the highly rated annual report, 'Birds in Northumbria’, Martin possesses an extensive knowledge of Northumberland. His special interests are birds of prey, cetaceans, photography and moths, but he still finds himself fascinated and captivated by all of the wildlife that is around us.
Dates & Prices
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|3 Nov 2017||ALWBW - Northumberland's Winter Birds - Alnmouth||7||£899.00||£869.00||Book Now|
|5 Nov 2018||ALWBW - Northumberland's Winter Birds - Alnmouth||4||£475.00||£435.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person