Northumberland Coast (3) – land defences

During the Second World War, the long, low, open expanse of the north Northumberland coast was considered one of the most likely points of a projected land invasion by Hitler’s Germany — and a system of land defences was rapidly set into place along, and just inland from, the coast. Many of these survive. Pillboxes (gun turrets) in various states of preservation are a reasonably familiar sight – there are 37 of them within the Northumberland Coast AONB alone – and large concrete anti-tank blocks can still be seen lying along or just above the beach in a few places. In some instances they have been incorporated into the existing landscape – anti-tank blocks at Boulmer for example were used as building materials in the harbour wall.
Despite their incongruity with the surrounding landscape, their presence is strangely appropriate for a county which can boast some of the finest defensive architecture anywhere in the UK (Warkworth castle, Dunstanburgh castle, the Elizabethan walls at Berwick-Upon-Tweed…).
The following images were taken on St Oswald’s Way, St Cuthbert’s Way and the Northumberland Coast Path between 2011 and 2012.

Concrete anti-tank blocks and the remains of a small bunker made from concrete sand bags, on the beach between Warkworth and Alnmouth

Concrete anti-tank blocks near Holy Island Causeway

Pillbox in a field near Pauperhaugh, on the River Coquet
Photos © Rudolf Abraham. No unauthorized use.

9 thoughts on “Northumberland Coast (3) – land defences”

  1. Some similar defenses down here in East Anglia too. Notably Weybourne on the North Norfolk coast and along the Suffolk coast close to Minsmere RSPB reserve where there are many anti-tank blocks.

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