Lindisfarne Castle walk

Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 2SH

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The Kilns were built in the 1860s and are in fantastic condition © Catherine Atkinson

The Kilns were built in the 1860s and are in fantastic condition

It is worth seeing the Castle from every possible angle © NT/David Watson

It is worth seeing the Castle from every possible angle

Gertude's garden is a riot of colour on a summer's morning © NT/Catherine Atkinson

Gertude's garden is a riot of colour on a summer's morning

Route overview

Uncover Lindisfarne’s often forgotten industrial past where a busy lime industry operated in the shadow of the castle in the late 19th century. Along with the massive Lime Kilns, networks of trackways remain leading to all parts of the island, making this walk great for exploring.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map of Lindisfarne Castle walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Lindisfarne Castle property entrance gate, grid ref: NU136417

  1. Enter the gate into the field, pausing to read the information board about the castle site before deciding on your next step. For the longer route, follow the road to the left which will take you on ground level towards the Lime Kilns. For a shorter route which avoids steps, going up the hill to the right will take you to the kilns past the castle entrance, bringing you to point 6 on the map.

  2. Another choice presents itself here. To your left is the path to the garden, but beware, the field can be very muddy or indeed totally flooded, hence its name The Stank. For a short detour, the steps to the right lead to the castle, or you continue straight ahead to point 3.

  3. Here you will see a pond to your left, where certain species of newt are known to call home. If you are very lucky, you may see swans paddling among the reeds. At one stage, Edward Hudson wanted to flood this area and make an ornamental lake. This proved to be too costly and the Gertrude Jekyll garden was planted instead.

  4. After the pond, you will arrive at a small bridge. By passing under it you can get to the kilns, although you will see it is possible to walk up on to the wagonway itself. If you continue under the bridge, you will loop round and cross it later.

  5. The massive Lime Kilns now appear on the right. There are six pots inside where tonnes of limestone were roasted to produce the desired quicklime, which was then taken to the jetty for export. The scale of the industry and the finance behind it is evident from the sheer magnitude of the architecture. Take the steps to point 6.

    Show/HideLime kilns

    The lime kilns are some of the largest, actively conserved kilns in the country. Operating between roughly 1860 and 1900, they were served by a quarry on the north of the island. The roasted lime was exported to Scotland for use in agriculture. At one point, 1 in 3 men who lived on the island worked here.

    The Kilns were built in the 1860s and are in fantastic condition © Catherine Atkinson
  6. Walk past the smaller Little Beblowe crag, around which runs several trackways and sidings. The route across the bridge follows the line of the trackway to the Nessend limestone quarry.

    Show/HideBeblowe Crag

    Perched on Beblowe Crag since the mid-16th century the castle housed an artillery garrison until the late 1800s. Sir Edwin Lutyens converted it to a holiday home for Edward Hudson, proprietor of Country Life magazine. Two other owners followed and in 1944 it was given to the National Trust.

    It is worth seeing the Castle from every possible angle © NT/David Watson
  7. Going through the gate will lead to the quarry (approx. 1 mile or 1.6km) which is in the heart of the Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England. Various routes back to the village can also be followed. Following the inside line of the wall will lead to point 8 and the Gertrude Jekyll designed garden.

  8. Enjoy the garden, which flowers in early summer (colour is there at other times of the year). Continue on the route back to the start.

    Show/HideGertrude Jekyll walled garden

    About 200 metres north of the castle lies a walled garden. Planned in 1911 by Gertrude Jekyll, a great friend of Lutyens, hardy annuals flower in the summer just as Hudson wanted. Sweet peas, hollyhock, cornflower and marigolds provide an abundance of colour and scent.

    Gertude's garden is a riot of colour on a summer's morning © NT/Catherine Atkinson

End: Lindisfarne Castle property entrance gate

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile to 1.5 miles (1.6km to 2.4km)
  • Time: 20 to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 75
  • Terrain:

    Cobbled roads and grass paths which were former railway embankments. There is one flight of steps en route which can be avoided by taking the shorter route. Take care if field north of castle is flooded. Sheep often in field around castle so can obstruct route. Path to walled garden can be muddy at times. Dogs welcome in the castle grounds but are not permitted in the castle itself; please keep on leads while in the castle field due to livestock.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: NCN1, Coast and Castles cycle route. See www.sustrans.org.uk  
    By bus: Perryman’s buses service 477 from Berwick Rail Station. This service is sporadic and varies with tides and seasons. Please check before using this service. See www.perrymansbuses.co.uk
    By train: Berwick upon Tweed (10 miles or 16km from causeway)
    By road: Leave A1 at Beal, 5 miles (8km) to Holy Island. Public car park before island village

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