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Below is a selection of local walks to put some wind in your curls and replenish your inner man. Stick on some old trainers, toggle up your duffle, and off you go!
The Historic
Whitley Bay Trail
Coastal and
Riverside Walk

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Holywell Dene and Clifftops
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Coastal and Riverside Walk, from Cullercoats to Fish Quay
by Geoff Holland
Distance3 miles/5.6 km
StartCliff House, Front St, Cullercoats
FinishFerry Landing, North Shields
In March 1867, author Charles Dickens wrote: "We escaped to Tynemouth for a two hour sea walk. There was a high wind blowing and a magnificent sea running. Large vessels were being towed in and out over the stormy bar with prodigious waves breaking on it, and spanning the restless uproar of the waves was a quiet rainbow of transcendental beauty. The scene was quite wonderful." On this invigorating coastal and riverside walk you will follow in the footsteps of this renowned and much-loved author as well as those of American artist Winslow Homer, 19th century writer Harriett Martineau and Hollywood star Stan Laurel. This is a walk to blow away the cobwebs!

1 The walk starts alongside the oldest building in Cullercoats, the white-washed 1768-built Cliff House. Once reliant on coal and salt, the village is best known for the artist who visited here during the 19th century, the most famous being the leading American water-colourist Winslow Homer. Arriving in 1881, he first stayed at the Hudleston Arms, later renamed the Bay Hotel and, following the hotel's demolition in 2005, the new apartments on the site were named Winslow Court.

With the sea on your left, head past the 1879-built Watch House, formerly the look-out post of the local Volunteer Life Brigade with Winslow Court on the other side of the road. Just ahead, the Rocket Garage, once used by the Volunteer Life Brigade for the storage of their carriage and rocket apparatus, stands on the corner of John Street and Beverley Terrace. The present RNLI lifeboat is housed next to the beach. Beyond the garage stands Monks Haven, once home to wealthy 19th century ship owner and philanthropist Sir James Knott.

2 Victorian-built Beverley Terrace leads you to the golden Tynemouth Longsands, a popular surfing destination and the place where leading British surfer Sam Lamiroy learnt his trade. On your right is St George's Church, erected in 1884 by the 6th Duke of Northumberland in memory of his father. Further along the promenade lies the 1893 Tynemouth Park, now containing a café, boating lake and miniature open-air ice rink.

Opposite is the former public shelter known as Palace Buildings, now home to the Childhood Memories Toy Museum. At the end of the promenade stands the 1872 Grand Hotel, originally built as a summer residence for the Duke of Northumberland. In July 1932, thousands of fans turned out to greet Hollywood legends Laurel and Hardy who were staying in the hotel during a tour of the "Old Country". For Stan Laurel it was a something of a homecoming as he had lived in Dockwray Square, North Shields, between 1897 and 1901.

3 The promenade now bends away from the beach towards Tynemouth village. To your left is King Edward's Bay, dominated by the cliffs of Pen Bal Crag, the impressive Tynemouth Castle and the ruins of the 7th century Priory. Once home to 19th century writer Harriet Martineau, Tynemouth positively oozes history and deserves detailed exploration. Something for another day, though the many stylish watering holes might just tempt you to quench your thirst. Follow the road down the hill adjacent to the castle towards the tiny cove of Priors Haven and the granite pier. Once across the narrow bridge, take the signposted gravel track on your right towards the huge 1845-erected statue of Newcastle born Admiral Lord Collingwood, Nelson's second in command at the Battle of Trafalgar. The four cannon were taken from Collingwood's ship at Trafalgar, the Royal Sovereign.

4 Now continue all the way down to the riverside promenade and head upstream towards North Shields Fish Quay. Alongside the small crescent of sandy beach stands a yellow and blue 'milepost', one of the many which mark the Coast to Coast (C2C) cycle route. At the end of the promenade, follow the National Cycle Route 72 sign and, once outside the New Dolphin public house, note the artwork based on mooring post traditionally used on the River Tyne. The Fish Quay quarter of North Shields is steeped in history and many important buildings, including the 'old' and 'new' High and Low Lights and the remains of the 1672 Clifford's Fort, can still be seen. Turn left along the main road and, in time, you will reach the Prince of Wales public house and the buxom 1992-installed 'Wooden Dolly', an artwork in the form of an old ship's figurehead.

5 Continue straight on past the old graving dock, known locally as the Haddock Shop Dock, where lightships and other small vessels were once repaired. At the far end of Clive Street stands the Grade II Listed 1897-built Porthole public house, formerly known as the Golden Fleece and designed by the architects who also designed the Sunderland Empire Theatre. To your right, on the corner of Borough Road, are the remnants of St Peter's Church also known as the Sailors' Church.

6 Cut across the road. The building at the bottom of the bank was once a sailors' home, and more recently a Customs House. Head straight on and to your left is the landing stage for the North Shields to South Shields ferry, a service which has been provided in some form since at least 1377. The main building on your right was for many years the notorious Northumberland Arms Inn, known to sailors worldwide as "The Jungle". On reaching the former Chain Locker public house, originally called the Crane Hotel whose historic glazed fašade now forms the centrepiece of a luxury apartment development, you have reached the end of your walk.

Travel tips: If you are travelling by car, park in one of the streets near Cliff House, the starting point of the walk. Alternatively, take the Metro to Cullercoats Station and walk the short distance to the start. On completing the walk, the No. 333 bus from the turning circle next to the Ferry Landing will take you to North Shields Metro Station and a short ride back to Cullercoats.
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