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Pictures of Warkworth

a Seaside Town in the county of Northumberland

About Warkworth

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Sparkling in high summer and tinged with frosty thin ice in winter, the River Coquet makes its final loop before entering the sea at Amble. Although this estuary is known as Warkworth Harbour, Warkworth infact, is about a mile away, its great castle, sitting high on its soft green hill, is clearly visible on the skyline. Coquet Island is about a mile off Amble, it has only a lighthouse but it once had a cell in which monks took refuge in the 12th-century from Henry the Hermit.

Here, miles of beautiful soft, golden sands are backed by an extensive range of sand dunes beyond which is the ancient place of Warkworth dominated by a magnificent castle built in early Norman times on a Saxon site. It is well placed as a fortress for it is ensconced in a horseshoe between the River Coquet and the North Sea.

The castle has a turbulent history, it came into the hands of the Earls of Northumberland - the Percy family in 1331 after being twice besieged by the Scots in 1327. Edward III granted the castle to Henry de Percy II and it is this family that strengthened it and gave it the magnificent cruciform keep, and improved overall the domestic comfort within. The castle remained with the Percy's until 1403 when Henry de Percy IV turned against Henry IV. Harry Hotspur, a famously straightforward soldier was brought up here. He was central to the seizure of the crown of England from Richard II by Henry Bolingbroke. Henry's autocratic behaviour began to disturb Harry and realising that his loyalty had been misplaced Harry was later to plot against him.

After being battered into submission by cannons and the earls estates forfiet politicdal maneuvers caused the castle to pass back and forth between the Crown and the Percy's until the 5th Earl of Northumberland died and left all that he owned to King Henry VIII.

The sheer size of the castle and extensive grounds is impressive and causes you to give full reign to your imagination as you think about the people who once inhabited the castle and the gracious style in which they must have lived. The castle keep was built in the 14th-century it is both impressive and complete, so too are the stairways leading to the hub of the castle that contains kitchens, storage rooms and chapel. Close to the vast Great Hall are two wine cellars and a beer cellar, entertaining in those days must have been on a grand scale.

The views all around are spectacular, the air is crisp and salty and you can hear the cries of gulls as they circle around this once magnificent fortress. It is an evocative place, hauntingly beautiful, a place of peace, a never to be forgotten place that will call you back time and time again.

A visit here will give you so much pleasure, there is much to see and do from sunbathing on the beautiful beaches, visiting the magnificent castle or the 14th-century hermitage with its chapel and cell and just a short boat trip away is Coquet Island. Boats are unable to land on the island for it is now a bird sanctuary and the most southerly breeding ground in eastern Britian of the eider duck. Here, you have beautiful countryside, ancient Warkworth set aside a sparkling river, and perhaps what is the most magnificent stretch of coastline on the spectacular Northumberland Heritage Coast.

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August 2009

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