Ice Age boulder resurfaces on beach

Volunteers uncover the stone on Newbiggin beach.
Volunteers uncover the stone on Newbiggin beach.

Volunteers have brought a piece of Newbiggin’s heritage back to the beach.

A glacial erratic boulder had been hidden under the town’s beach but has now been restored to the landscape thanks to the efforts of local people.

The boulder, known locally as the Hunkleton stone, is believed to have rolled to Newbiggin during the last ice age, with others potentially buried in the area.

It was exposed due to it lying in the glacial clay on Newbiggin beach, being part of Newbiggin Bay for hundreds of years and a landmark in the many maps and notes since the 1800s.

It was popular with couples or people wanting somewhere to sit, climb, or dive, and appeared on a postcard for Newbiggin.

The stone started to disappear in the 1950s as the level of the bay began to sink with a campaign started by Tim Martin, 83, and his son Richard in 2005 to uncover it after the boulder had sunk below the sand.

In 2007, with support from Wansbeck District Council, the stone was uncovered and placed back in its original, but higher, position on the new sand on the beach, and given a GPS location.

However, it sank again in 2013.

Tim, supported by Northumberland County Council, was joined by residents Michael Ross and Keith Shirley to relocate it.

After narrowing down their search, and with the light fading, they eventually found the stone.

Over the last few months, Newbiggin Heritage Partnership, and Hubbway Plant Hire in Cramlington, helped lift the stone back to its original position again.

Richard said: “Finally the stone is on show to the community and in use by visitors on our beach.

“Thanks to everybody who enabled this project to be delivered where skill, resourcefulness and determination delivered a massive result as well as preserving another piece of our local heritage.”