Coldingham Bay

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A panorama shot of Coldingham Sands from Homeli Knoll, the village of St Abbs is just visible over the headland.

Coldingham Bay is an inlet in the North Sea coast, just over three km north of the town of Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It is situated at grid reference NT918666 and is easily reached by a minor road which leaves the B6438 road at Coldingham.

The Beach[edit]

Coldingham Sands is the name of the large beach in the Bay. It attracts many visitors, on busy days there can be over 1000 visitors on the beach.[1] Coldingham Sands is an award winning sandy seashore which is a rare occurrence on Berwickshire's rocky coast. The beach was awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award in 2010 and has also received the Seaside Award which is for beaches that are more rural in character, being quieter and less developed. The Marine Conservation Society have awarded the beach its top award for cleanliness in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. There is a cafe, toilets, disabled access and car parking.[2]

The beach, which is approximately 200 metres wide, is well sheltered by headlands to the north and south (Yellow Craig Head) with rocky sections at both extremities of the sand. The beach is popular with surfers and bodyboarders and a lifeguard attends the beach during busy summer periods. The north end of the beach has 55 beach huts, some of which are believed to be 100 years old. The huts are leased from the Scottish Borders Council who own the sands, but not the huts.[3] At the top of the high ground above the huts are several private dwellings plus the Dunlaverock House hotel.[4][5]

The north side of the beach showing the beach huts with the Dunlaverock House hotel and the St Abb’s Haven Hotel above.

The Bay and its surroundings[edit]

Coldingham Bay is situated within the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve which itself is part of the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast Special Area of Conservation. The rocky shore around the bay has much marine life with many types of sea creatures and seaweed to be found. The large area of tide pools are popular with rockpoolers. Slightly inland from the seashore is an area of dunes and grassland which provide a fragile habitat for a host of plants and animals. Visitors are requested to keep to the paths, not to pick flowers or light fires in this area to protect the environment.

The Berwickshire Coastal Path goes round the perimeter of the bay and provides walks that give easy access to St Abbs and Eyemouth. At the southern extremity of the beach lies Homeli Knoll (or Knowe), a steep sided hillock which provides fine views of the beach area and along the coast. The south facing slope of the Knoll has seen sightings of the small blue butterfly and its sole larval food plant kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) grows there. The north slope of the Knoll is a popular site for cowslip.[1] Milldown Burn flows into the southern part of the Bay and is its main inflowing water source, rising on Coldingham Moor and running for 6 km through the village of Coldingham before reaching the Bay. On the north side of the bay stands The Kip, an eight metre high sea stack which stands on dry land at low tide. At the southern extremity of the bay are the 30 metre high grassy cliffs of Yellow Craig.

Coldingham Bay has two other accommodation facilities for visitors. The St Vedas Hotel was built in 1897 and apart from supplying the usual amenities of a hotel also provides surfing facilities such as a surf shop, lessons, equipment hire and repairs.[6] The Coldingham Sands Youth Hostel, another late 19th century house, was closed by the Scottish Youth Hostels Association in early 2008 after low visitor numbers deterred the investment needed to bring the hostel up to an acceptable standard. However local residents are trying to purchase the hostel under the Community Right to Buy legislation and keep it open for visitors who bring trade to the area. The application to purchase the hostel was declined in February 2009 by Lottery Funds, and the fate of the hostel now remains uncertain.[7][8]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Scottish Borders Council. Gives details of Homeli Knoll and states there are 55 beach huts and can be over 1000 daily visitors.
  2. ^ Berwick News 2. Gives details of beach and award.
  3. ^ Berwickshire News. Gives details of beach huts.
  4. ^ "The Scottish Beach Award Guide" (leaflet) Gives general details on Coldingham Sands.
  5. ^ Keep Scotland Beautiful. Gives details of Coldingham Sands.
  6. ^ Gives details of St Vedas Hotel.
  7. ^ Berwickshire News. Gives details of possible community buyout of Youth Hostel.
  8. ^ Gives general details of Youth Hostel.

Coordinates: 55°53′33″N 2°07′58″W / 55.89246°N 2.13268°W / 55.89246; -2.13268