A brisk walk along the beach from Seaton Sluice to Blyth is about 3 1/2 miles. An hours walk each way at a brisk pace. It is a gorgeous golden sandy beach and is becoming increasingly popular as the beaches further own the coast are getting a bit crowded.
You can walk along to the Coastline cafe which is always full of folk enjoying their first rate fish and chips. The Italian ice cream shop with its myriad of flavours is also extremely popular with visitors from near and far.
Seaton Sluice – a traditional beach
There is nothing quite like a traditional seaside holiday. With everyone crowding to Devon and Cornwall in droves, why not head North instead to our lovely North East coast?
I love beach huts, and wind breaks, and picnics and fish and chips. You can’t beat them, and a British staycation is perfect if you have the weather. Happily, we have had lots of sunshine this year.
Seaton Sluice history
Seaton Sluice has an interesting history. A natural harbour, it was originally exporting coal and salt from the Hartley salt pans. It did silt up however, so Sir Ralph Delaval had a pier constructed and sluice gates that trapped the seawater at high tide. At low tide the gates were opened, flushing the sand out of the harbour. Henceforth the village became known as Seaton Sluice.
A new entrance was created for the harbour by Sir John Hussey Delaval. A channel was blasted through solid rock, resulting in what is known as ‘The Cut.’ Opening in 1763 the new construction meant that land between the old harbour entrance and the new channel became an island, known as ‘Rocky Island’.
The new channel sealed off both ends, so loading was able to continue no matter the state of the tide. A ballast hill known as Sandy Island is still visible. Built up from the ballast of ships entering the harbour, the ballast hill and The Cut remain today.
The new entrance proved to be a success, and in 1777, 177 ships sailed out of the harbour carrying 48,000 tonnes of coal. The coal was brought to the harbour from nearby collieries via wagonways, with coal wagons being drawn by horses. Salt continued to be exported from Seaton Sluice until 1798, when a new salt tax put an end to the trade.
The walk back to Seaton Sluice
You can walk back along the beach or along the path which runs along the top of the dunes. This is very popular with cyclists and there is a bit of cycle related public art along the way. There really is nothing quite like a blast along the beach for blowing away the cobwebs and improving your mental health.
Walking back the mist starting to roll in. This can happen in a heartbeat here, so it’s always wise to take a fleecy along. The pub at the top of the Sluice is the Kings Arms, the oldest pub in the village. It is situated right next to the bridge leading to Rocky Island. Constructed in the mid-eighteenth century as the overseer’s house, it later became a pub.
It does very tasty food and has had a smart recent paint job during lockdown. Highly recommended for a refreshing drink at the conclusion of your beach walk.