The fascinating role played by a Northumberland stretch of beach in protecting the country from possible invasion during the Second World War is being brought dramatically back to life.

Visitors are to have a chance to hear about - and see - wartime shore defences on Bamburgh Beach as well as learn about the 1940s weapons and kit used by the Home Guard.

Bamburgh Castle and history 're-enactors' The Time Bandits have teamed up to host an event this January, and again in February, which will see actors in period dress capture the wartime stories of the area during a two-hour walking tour  - which may well include an encounter with a German spy too.

During the war's  so-called "darkest hour" - the phrase used by Winston Churchill to describe the grimmest period of the war - there was a very real threat that Hitler's forces would invade the country and Bamburgh 's rural three-mile stretch of beach had a vital defence role to play.

Bamburgh war walks are being launched in Northumberland, organised by Bamburgh Castle. Picture: Paul Norris Photography
Bamburgh war walks are being launched in Northumberland, organised by Bamburgh Castle. Picture: Paul Norris Photography

It led to the shoreline being dotted with barbed wire and mines as well as huge concrete anti-tank blocks which originally ran the length of the beach in a double row but which have been moved by the sea over the decades, with their remains still visible today.

There is still also part of a Second World War pillbox - a guard post with slits through which weapons could be fired - which had been hidden beneath a dune until uncovered in a storm.

Karen Larkin, events and marketing manager of Bamburgh Castle, said the coastal defences were built in the wake of the Dunkirk evacuation to help protect Britain against a Nazi invasion and "there was a very real threat that Germany would invade".

She added: "Bamburgh Beach, with its long, wide stretch of flat sand running all the way from Seahouses, was seen as an ideal location for an enemy landing."

Of the idea behind the upcoming walks, she said: "There is a huge amount of information out there about the castle and its ancient history but these two walks are an opportunity for people to get a better understanding of the history outside rather than inside the castle’s walls.

"Visitors often ask what the concrete blocks and other man-made remains are on the beach below."

John Sadler, founder of The Time Bandits, said there also remain traces of defence 'stop' lines and added: "The Northumbrian beaches are studded with tank traps, concrete and steel gun emplacements, pillboxes and some superbly restored batteries."

Karen said that this year seems the right time to host the walks given that 2020 marks the 80-year anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation and also of Winston Churchill’s famous 'We shall fight them on the beaches' speech.

The Second World War walks will take place on January 25 and February 9 at 11am. They will leave from Bamburgh Castle car park and cover three miles before returning to the castle where a hot drink will be provided.

To book tickets, costing £20 and including admission to the castle, call 01668 214 208 and for more information see here .

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