St Oswald's Way
Holy Island to Bamburgh - 19 miles / 30½ km
Route Map
The base map used on this website image have been produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-Map service. Images reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

The first section of the St Oswald's Way if walking from north to south retraces the final section of the St Cuthbert's Way as it drops down from St Cuthbert's Cave to the Priory on the Holy Island.
This section to Bamburgh is also the longest section if the route is divided into 6 section and for many they may wish to end the first walking day at Belford or Waren Mill.

Priory on Holy Island The starting point is the ruined Priory close to the statue of St Aidan. Clearly neither the priory of St Aidan's statue were hear at the time of King Oswald / St Oswald, but it was he who invited St Aidan to come from Iona to the Holy Island to establish a school of Christian learning.
For more detail and interest click on the adjoining image.
The walk takes the shore road to the causeway then across the causeway at low tide and onto the mainland. Heading inland and crossing the East Coast Mainline (railway) for the first time.

Shiellow Woods After reaching and crossing the A1 road succesfully, the way passes through Fenwick and up hill into the Shiellow Woods.

Vantage point above Shiellow Woods where St Oswald's and St Cuthbert's Ways diverge At the top of the wood the way exits into open elevated land to the east of Greensheen Hill. From here there are great views to the east and the coast and island from where the walk started.
Shortly the path reaches a gate at which point the St Oswald's and St Cuthbert's Ways diverge the former heading SE and the latter SW.

Swinhoe Lake The track soon leaves the elevated open pasture land and enters the edge of further woodon its way to Swinhoe Farm. Before reaching this point it passes the SE corner of Swinhoe Lake, this is a good point to look out for swans and ducks who may be nesting at the NW corner furthest from any human disturbance.

Belford There is then a pleasant countryside and field walk from Swinhoe Farm passing between Plantaiton Farm and Craggyhall before entering Belford from the western side.
Turn left and walk to the Main Street of this attractive Northumberland town. This could be a place to end the walk but equally it may be just a passing point on the way to Bamburgh.

For more detail and interest click on the adjoining image.

Crossing then Mainline After Belford the route heads to the east and back towards the coastline. But first there are the two arteries to again cross with care.

First the A 1 road then after a very short distances the East Coast Mainline railway. This is a section with multiple tracks so great care is required.

Outchester Ducket A walk across fields again follows before reaching a very minor road in the Waren Mill area.

The Way now works its way in an anti-clockwise direction before coming out again close to Bundie Bay, but first turn south at the minor road and proceed towards a tall circular and narrow building.

Outchester Ducket is worthy of a look and there is an interpretive board at the gate. From here the route passes down into the dell of the Waren Burn before climbing up to a higher vantage point close to a static caravan site to the east of Waren Mill.

First view of Bamburgh Castle from Dukesfield Area At this high point the views to the east are down to Bamburgh with the Castle sitting high above the houses with the North Sea behind. The size and magnitude of the Castle are now clear to see, however the route is far from direct with the walk reaching first the B 1342 road at a “Y” junction but the walk heading NW away from Bamburgh at this point.

Budie Bay with Holy Island at top right hand corner At a high point on the B 1342 to Waren Mill the waymarkers point you to the right and across the golf course. This is now heading north with the wide expanse of Bundie Bay in the foreground and Lindisfarne in the distance.

The Bay is always changing with the tide, it can look like a very wide expanse of sand or an inland lake.

Approching Bamburgh from Harkness Rocks Close to the sands the walk takes to the dunes and grassland edge, passing now in an easterly direction round the Harkness Rocks. Soon a completely new view of the castle appears ahead and from here the dune walk heads south east towards the base of the castle mound before entering into the community of Bamburgh.

Below Bamburgh Castle Bamburgh must be one of the most popular Northumberland Coastal communities, with charming houses, an attractive village green (triangle) several hotels, the RNLI museum all in addition to the centrepiece of the Castle.

The walking route stops at this point, perhaps the focal point being the memorial below the castle and overlooking the open space and bowling green.

For more detail and interest click on the adjoining image.

To access another section of the route click on the appropriate link below, or to move to the next part of the walk click here.

Holy Island - Bamburgh 19 miles / 30½ km
Bamburgh - Craster 14 miles / 22 km
Craster - Warkworth 13½ miles / 21½ km
Warkworth - Rothbury 18 miles / 29 km
Rothbury - Kirkwhelpington 15 miles / 24 km
Kirkwhelpington - Heavenfield 17½ miles / 28 km