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Boulmer Foreshore, Northumberland

© GeoconservationUK ESO-S Project, 2017

It is anticipated that the ideas and materials presented here will be adapted by schools, and others, to be more appropriate for their own purposes and programmes of study.

In such circumstances please acknowledge the source as the Earth Science On-Site project.

Site Details

SNA loc map.jpg
Figure 1: Location Map for the site
SITE NAME:Boulmer Foreshore
OS MAP(s):1:50,000 Landranger Series, Sheet 81. Alnwick.
1:25,000 Explorer Series, Sheet 331, Alnwick and Amble.
BGS MAP(s):1:50,000 BGS Solid or Drift. Sheet 6, Alnwick.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONFaulted and tilted Carboniferous sedimentary rocks are exposed in quarry and foreshore sites, where contacts with basic dyke and sill intrusions can be seen. Present day processes of erosion, transport and deposition can be observed along the beach section and modern sediments compared with the Carboniferous strata which are exposed in a gently dipping and faulted sequence.
DIRECTIONS:Access to these sites is along small roads with sharp bends through small villagesand may be negotiated by coaches, with care. However, there is not adequate parking for coaches, which will need to return to the sites to pick up the group after completion of the exercises.


To Boulmer:

  • Take the A1 towards the north eastern outskirts of Alnwick. Leave the A1 north of Alnwick at Denwick, and turn right onto the minor road eastwards, towards RAF Boumer, after passing through Denwick village. Continue 4.5 km on to Longhoughton. The railway bridge west of Longhoughton has a clearance of 3.75m (12ft 6inches). At the crossroads just south of Longhoughton take the right turn signposted RAF Boulmer and on 3km to the village of Boulmer. Take the sharp right hand bend into the village and continue to the car park which is signposted on the left at the southern end. Large coaches should drop off the group here and ask the driver to park, perhaps 1.5 km further up the road where it widens suitably, and return after 2 hours, depending on the precise choice of activities.
ACCESS:open access, subject to tides. Some parts of the beach and dunes are protected areas. (See local notices for details).
PLANNING THE VISIT:Well in advance of the visit, organisers should discover the low tide times for Boulmer. If the tide is low in the morning, then complete the route as suggested. If it is dropping to an afternoon low tide, then follow the route in reverse. The best time to arrive with a group at the beach is an hour or two before low tide. NOTE: The beach is still active and the depth of sand and level of erosion can vary considerably so it is advisable to make a reconnaissance visit shortly before the field trip to confirm what is visible. All groups must have prior permission in order to use Snableazes quarry and gain access through the locked gate. Well in advance of the visit organisers should telephone Mr Turnbull on 0788 / 9925460 to agree arrival time and access to this privately owned site.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS:Wheelchair access is either very difficult, or not possible, for most of these sites.

Initial Risk Assessment

All group leaders should meet with their parties prior to the On-Site visit and impress upon participants the educational nature of the event, and the need for extra consideration for the safety of themselves and others.

Each group should have a member of staff proficient in First Aid, and carry a mobile telephone for emergencies.

There is no substitute for group leaders viewing the site before the field visit and making their own risk assessment, according to the requirements of their own organisation. The following assessment is only a guide[1].

Weather and tides. Wear suitable warm and waterproof clothing. Get weather reports for the day of the visit.

Check low tide times. At Cullernose Point do not allow the party to descend to the beach, and do not approach too closely to the sea on the point itself.

Cobbles, wet rock and sea weed covered rocks on Boulmer foreshore. Much of the route is on sand, but at the dyke it is necessary to walk on the rock platform. Use the large areas of the dyke which are free of seaweed for this exercise. Make sure the group have stout footwear and take extra care when walking on wet rock and uneven cobbles on the beach.
Steep footpaths and slopes. The cliff top paths can be slippery when wet. Caution all party members, and insist on suitable footwear and sensible behaviour.
Narrow country roads with high walls and restricted parking space. Drive carefully and with consideration. Use only the parking sites suggested in the On-Site guides.


  1. For further information on conducting a Risk assessment go to National Stone Centre

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