Location: Marsden

I thought I’d written a post about Marsden in the early days of this blog, but I can’t find it so I am reprising the idea now.

Marsden is on the South Tyneside coast, about 15 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne, and has lots of the kinds of rock scenery that I love to photograph.

The best-known feature is Marsden Rock, shown below, although I prefer some other rock stacks a few hundred yards to the south.

The “PH” on the map above is the location of Marsden Grotto, which is directly opposite Marsden Rock. The Marsden Grotto is a bar and restaurant which is partially built into a cave. At the top of the cliff above the grotto, you’ll find a pay-and-display car park, and there’s another (which may be cheaper) a few yards to the north. To get down to sea level, you can either take steps (I haven’t counted, but there’s a lot of them) or, if you are going to take refreshments in the bar, there is a lift which will deposit you on the inside of the bar.

The Marsden Grotto has a lot of history, some of it of a violent and criminal nature.

Looking north from the Grotto. Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Ektar film
Canon EOS300 and 35mm Fuji Sensia 200 slide film
Marsden Rock in the background. The rock can be reached at low tide but is surrounded by the sea at high tide. It was attached by an arch to the coast until about 1995.
Looking south. Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Portra 400 film
Winter dawn. The location faces east and there are high cliffs which block the light at sunset, bit it is a good sunrise location.
Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Provia 100F slide film
This prominent stack is a few hundred metres to the south of the grotto.
I call this feature the “giants footprint”
Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Provia 100F
Mamiya RZ67 and Kodak Portra 400 film
Another sunrise. Mamiya RZ67 and Fuji Provia 100F slide film.

An important safety point to note, is that the rock features to the south of the Grotto only become accessible when the tide is about 2 hours after high tide. It is safest to explore the area as the tide is going out – if you get caught by an incoming tide you will be unable to return to the safer Grotto area and you won’t be able to escape up the cliffs.

There are several web sites that give the tide times, such this one.


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