The village of Embleton stands three quarters of a mile inland from Embleton Bay on the Northumberland coast, some six miles south of Seahouses and a similar distance north of Alnwick. It occupies the top of a low ridge running parallel to the coast, and this affords parts of the village fine, if distant, sea views.
The main axis of the village is formed by the B1339, which runs through it roughly from north to south. The junction in the centre of the village, from which Front Street heads uphill towards the top of the ridge, can be thought of as dividing it into four quarters. To the north west, what looks from a map to be the largest part of the village is almost exclusively residential in nature. The south west quarter is largely occupied by Holy Trinity Church. A church has probably stood here since the 700s, and the earliest parts of the building you can see today date back to the 1100s. The old manse to the south west of the church is almost certainly the oldest building in Embleton except for the church itself, and began life as a fortified "vicar's pele" in the 1300s.
The north east quarter of the village has as its focal point the whinstone quarry that was opened on the ridge in 1864. This employed some 80 men in the early years of the 1900s, but closed in 1961. The village school is also in this part of the village. What this means in practice is that the focus for the many visitors who come to enjoy Embleton is the south eastern corner of the village. The northern edge of this is defined by Front Street. Here you find the village green, complete with water pump. One one side of the street is the village shop and the post office, while the lower corner on the run of white buildings along the other side of the street is formed by the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel.
At the top of Front Street is an attractive open area formed by its junction with Mount Pleasant. Nearby is The Greys Inn, a welcoming pub whose Whitby scampi and chips can be wholeheartedly recommended. Carrying on past the The Greys Inn brings you down to a junction overlooked by the Blue Bell Inn, and from here you can walk past the play park and the village hall back to the B1339 close to Holy Trinity Church.
From the top of Front Street a road continues obliquely down the east side of the ridge. This is Sea Lane, whose name, and the sea views it affords, give a clue about its destination. This narrow lane leads to the dunes and beach that make up Embleton Bay. Located immediately inland from the dunes is the clubhouse of the Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club, which is open to non-golfing visitors for meals and refreshments.
The golf course itself was designed by the Scottish professional golfer (and course designer) James Braid in 1900. Originally it had nine holes, but the number grew to 12 in 1932 and 15 in 1935. It has since become a full 18 hole golf course. This is a true links course, on land previously occupied by the margin between the dunes behind Embleton Bay immediately to the east, and the farmland to the west. At its southern end is the 13th hole, a par three involving a drive across a gully to a green located almost in the shadow of the promontory on which you can still find the spectacular ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. It is very fitting that the golf club should have been named after its imposing southern neighbour.
Dunstanburgh Castle was built in the years from 1313, and the village of Embleton was the castle's local settlement. Today most of the steady stream of visitors who walk to Dunstanburgh Castle when the weather is nice do so from the village of Craster, to the south. It is also possible to reach the castle from the much more limited parking area at Dunstan Steads, which is found at the end of a minor road heading south east and then east from Embleton. From here you walk for a little less than a mile beside the golf course.
It is thought that the name "Embleton" comes from the Old English for "the hill". An agricultural village is recorded here in the early 1100s, though there seems to have been a settlement on the site as far back as the 700s and probably much earlier. The Barony of Embleton was given by King Henry III to his younger son Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, in 1264, and this started a connection between the Earldom (and later the Duchy) of Lancaster and Embleton that would last until around 1600. Embleton suffered badly at the hands of the Scots in the 1200s and 1300s, and again during the Wars of the Roses in the 1400s.
Visitor InformationView Location on Map