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The Northumberland coast is widely known for its varied and spectacular landscape. The rocky promontories, offshore islands, sweeping sandy bays backed by flower-rich dune systems and miles of intertidal mud are not only attractive to the eye, they are important for thousands of plants and animals.

Important habitats

The quality and diversity of the wildlife habitats found on the Northumberland coast are one of the reasons it has been designated as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. Many of these habitats are here because of human interaction on the underlying geology whilst others haven’t changed much since the end of the ice age.

• Seabird colonies
• Sand dunes
• Saltmarsh
• Sandy and muddy shores and estuaries
• Whin grasslands
• Maritime coastal slope
• Coastal heath

Important habitats

Marine environment

The daily tides provide a unique set of conditions in the intertidal zone, which attracts a rich abundance of plants and animals that are specially adapted to living in this extreme environment.

From natural rock pool aquariums to mysterious sea caves and expansive sandy and muddy shores, Northumberland has a rich marine ecosystem that is protected through numerous international, European and national nature conservation designations.

• Rocky shores
• Sea caves
• Sandy bays
• Mudflats

Marine Environment


The Northumberland coast’s variety reflects the complex nature of the geodiversity that underlies it. Along the coast the action of the sea and human activities laid bare these foundations. They now provide clues to how the landscape has been created and why it has been colonised by nature and exploited by humankind.

• Hard rocks
• Soft-shore landforms
• Geodiversity Audit and Action Plan
• Exploring geology


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