When wintry Scandinavian winds blast across the North Sea, Hauxley Beach can be bleak indeed, with nearby Coquet Island a ghostly suggestion through the spray.

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Waves churn the sand, uncovering 8,000-year-old remains of trees that flourished in the Doggerland forest that once linked Britain with Europe.

Bird in wave
A stunning Sanderling (Calidris alba) searching for food along the shoreline at high tide/Credit: unknown, Getty

The same winds bring bird migrants from north and east, tiny sanderlings dodging the tide’s edge, small flocks of shore larks amid the stranded seaweed and brent geese riding the waves alongside resident eiders, while gannets, cormorants and guillemots fly urgently past.

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A beach walk or a cycle track leads south past cottages to a signed footpath that brings you to Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre. Here, from the warmth of the café, you can enjoy views across the lake with its flocks of wintering wildfowl and waders.

Authors

Anthony Toole
Anthony TooleFreelance travel and science writer

Anthony has published more than 500 magazine and online features about his visits to more than 20 countries.

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