You are in: Home > Trips >Holy Island
Other Trips:- St Abbs Head to Pease Bay...... Berwick to Eyemouth...... River Tweed...... The Farne Islands...... Beadnell to Boulmer...... Boulmer to Amble...... Coquet Island......
Holy Island is a small island lying between Banburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed, that is linked to the mainland by a tidal causeway, accessible only for about half of each tide. When the tide is rising it comes in very quickly as many motorists have discovered to their cost, so check the tidal crossing information boards at the start of the causeway before crossing.
CROSSING TIMES LINK - Holy Island causeway crossing times
The island is low lying with long sandy beaches and low rocky headlands. A small village is located at the southern end (population about 200) along with the harbour, monastery and castle.
The early Christian monastery was established by St. Aidan in 635 AD and later home of St Cuthbert, as well as the Lindisfarne Gospels. The visitor centre is well worth a visit.
The castle built in 1540 AD, to protect the harbour, is one of the islands dominant features and is built on an outcrop of whin sill overlooking the harbour and facing the sea.
Holy Island is very heavily visited, especially during the summer,( and although you will be going during high tide when most visitors have left), it has resulted in some access restrictions. Please read the following section on access prior to visiting.
A new access agreement is being discussed.
For the latest access details please contact either :-
the Canoe England Sea Kayaking Coastal Officer - Ollie Jay - 07941 450064
the Holy Island Harbour Master - Paul Douglas - 07548 675505
Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve – Bylaws
A further agreement is in place with English Nature who manages the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. The area of this Reserve covers the entire coastline around Holy Island, from Cheswick Black Rocks (5 kms / 3 miles south of Berwick) to Budle Point. It includes most of Holy Island, all of Holy Island Bay and Budle Bay.
The purpose of the reserve is to protect nesting birds during the breeding season (April to August) The sensitive areas are the north side of Budle Bay, Ross Links, the Wide Opens and Guile Point.
During the winter the reserve is heavily used by migrating and over wintering flocks of waders and wildfowl with the most sensitive area being Fenham Flats.
Holy Island itself is not a significant bird reserve, as visitors walk all over it throughout the year.
The bylaw prohibits the: -
The Access Agreement states: -
The circumnavigation of Holy Island is a very special trip but remember that the extensive flats and marshes either side of the causeway drain very quickly, so a spring tide and accurate prediction is necessary to avoid a long walk carrying your kayak.
Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve
As stated earlier this reserve includes most of Holy Island, all of Holy Island Bay and Budle Bay. An area where land and water meet the tidal
salt marshes, mudflats and sand dunes create an environment that is home to many wild plants and a supply of food that attracts many resident and migrant birds.
Wildfowl and waders wintering here are ;Brent geese, Pink-footed geese, Graylag geese, Wigeon, Grey plovers and Bar-tailed godwits, but the list of species sighted within the reserve runs into the hundreds.
Seals off Emmanuel Head and lying up on Sand eel Beds.