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Pilgrim's Way to Holy Island

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Pilgrims Way Photo: Gavin Duthie

Walking the Pilgrim's Way to Holy Island

Ever since 635, when King Oswald gave the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to St Aidan to establish his monastery, the island has been a place of pilgrimage. The road was not constructed until 1954 and until then the vertical poles were the only indicators of the safe route between the mainland and island. The sight of the poles stretching across the sand and mud is one of the most iconic views in Northumberland and to walk the route away from the road and follow in the footsteps of our medieval ancestors is a wonderful experience.

Walking across the Pilgrim's route onto Holy Island is a very different walking experience and unlike any other country walk in Northumberland.

Some tips to walking the Pilgrim's Route safely:

  • Most importantly you must work around the tide times so check the safe crossing times for the road first, basically the middle of the safe crossing times gives you low tide time.
  • It takes about two hours to walk the causeway
  • Ideally set off two hours before low tide – walking with the outgoing tide rather the rising tide.
  • The Pilgrims route is about three miles long.
  • Do not attempt to cross at dusk or in poor weather conditions
  • Please do not attempt to cross the causeway at any other time as the tide comes in very rapidly and is very dangerous
  • Ideal footwear – barefoot or walking boots that you don’t mind getting very muddy. Wellington boots can be worn, but you might lose one in the mud!
  • Tides and condition mean that the condition underfoot varies considerably – it can be very slippery in place and a good stick is useful in these places.
  • Route – walking from Beal to the Island it is best to walk over the road bridge – being careful of the traffic. At the layby on the right-hand side (if you are looking towards the island) head out directly towards the first pole on the east side of the river and follow to the island.
  • If you don’t feel confident about walking across the sands you can always walk beside the road but please note it is a very busy road a certain times of the year.
  • Remember people have crossed to and from the island along this route for centuries along this route – if you follow these tips it will be one of the best walking experiences you will ever have.


If you are not confident there are professional walk leaders that lead guided walks across the mud.

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