The Souter Saunter
Take the Souter Saunter and discover much more than a lighthouse standing alone on the coast.
Foghorn Field, grid ref: NZ407641
Start your journey from the Foghorn House. Make your way through the gate and continue to the coastal footpath.
Turn left and follow the coastal path along to the fence.
The Lost Village
Now you see it, now you don’t! This green space by Souter Lighthouse is all that remains of Marsden Village, built for local miners and their families. Home to 700 people, the village had 135 houses, a church, Co-op store, post office and school.
Follow the fence line until you reach the public footpath.
Returned to nature
This is the site of an old car park which has been made unsafe by coastal erosion. The car park has been broken up to different stages and our Ranger team is recording the plants that colonise it and the rate that nature takes over.
Turn left again and follow the public footpath past the lighthouse and through to the entrance to the car park - about 550yd (500m).
Limestone has been quarried at Marsden for hundreds of years and was burnt in the great lime kilns. Stone was tipped into the top of the kiln, burnt at very high temperatures to produce lime which was raked out from the bottom. The lime kilns closed in 1968.
Turn right this time follow the road down to the car park. It's signposted Whitburn Coastal Park so it's difficult to get lost.
Whitburn Coastal Park
Whitburn Coastal Park used to be the site of Whitburn Colliery. Opened in the late 1870s, it closed in 1968 and at its height produced 2,600 tons of coal a day. Boys as young as 13 worked down the pit which stretched out for many miles under the North Sea.
Take the path around the Nature Reserve and stop off at the viewing screens for a spot of bird watching.
Whitburn Nature Reserve
Whitburn Nature Reserve is reclaimed colliery land and includes tree planting, a bird observatory, viewing screens and wetland habitats. It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2003 and a lottery funded project in 2011 saw the installation of new ponds by local charity - the Coastal Conservation Group.
Pick up the coastal path again at the bird hide, take a left and start to make your way back towards the lighthouse.
Rock stacks and seabirds
Magnesian limestone rocks form stacks, arches, headlands, bays and caves. Look out for nesting seabirds like cormorants, shags, kittiwakes, fulmar and herring gulls.
Continue along the coastal path.
This beautiful bay was originally split in two by an island of rock. It was a favourite place for having fun, the north side for the Lads and the south for the Lassies.
You're nearly there - continue along the coastal path to the fence line.
Souter lighthouse actually stands on Lizard Point. Souter Point lies further to the south and was the original site for the lighthouse. The cliffs at Lizard Point are higher and a shorter tower could be built so it was later decided that the lighthouse would be here. They kept the name Souter Lighthouse because there was already a Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall.
Take a left back towards the Foghorn House. We hope you've enjoyed your walk and discovered some interesting things on the way.
Odd one out
Can you see the rock that looks different to all others? It’s man made and was used as a ranging marker for the nearby Tyneside batteries during times of conflict. The marker was used so that when aiming south, as long as the artillery was pointed seawards of the marker the shells would not hit friendly or civilian targets along the coastline.
Foghorn Field, grid ref: NZ407641
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