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Longniddry Bents, Gosford

Longniddry Bents, Gosford

East Lothian

This long sandy and rocky beach is accessed easily from the road (A198) and car parks.  It is close to a nature reserve and there are a lot of birds to be seen feeding when the tide is out.  It is a great beach for blustery walks, horse rides and dog exercising during the winter as well as family visits in the summer.  The beach is also popular with kite surfers and windsurfers. Excellent sandwiches and cakes are available in the nearby village of Longniddry.


Longniddry is primarily a dormitory village for commuters, with good transport links by road and rail (Longniddry railway station is on the North Berwick Line) to the capital. Like many coastal towns in East Lothian, Longniddry has a sandy beach beside the golf course. This stretch of local coastline lined with dunes and is known as Longniddry Bents.18th century Gosford House, home of the Earl of Wemyss and March, stands on the eastern edge of the village.

Natural Space

Sea defences made from sea-lyme grass and dead buckthorn run along the shoreline at the southern end of the bay. This attractive strip of beach, with its backdrop of forest and cliffs is just a short drive from Edinburgh. At low tide, a large expanse of sand and shingle beach is exposed. When the tide is in, the coastal road running alongside the beach limits the area available. Behind the beach are the gates to the magnificent Georgian mansion of Gosford House. This is still privately owned, although it is open to the public during the summer.

Plant Life

Longniddry Bents is known best for its plant life. The base-rich soils have allowed a number of plants to flourish here that are only seen occasionally elsewhere in the county. In May, yellow cowslips are abundant, their nodding heads enabling you to tell them apart from their close relative, the primrose. Cowslips are quickly replaced by bloody cranesbill, bright pink-purple flowers that occur in clumps, particularly at the No3 car park.


Alongside the flowers, this section of coast attracts a number of sea duck and wading bird, together with sandwich terns during summer. The autumn sees red-necked grebes regularly forming a small flock in Gosford Bay, these attract a number of bird watchers and, again, No3 car park is the best place from where to look for them.


The beach is west-facing and the waves generated by the westerly winds have caused erosion of the sand over the years. However, action has been taken to stabilise the sand. Sea defences made from sea-lyme grass and dead buckthorn run along the shoreline at the southern end of the bay.

Getting There

Access is off the main East Lothian coastal trail route.  The beach is well sign posted. There is disabled access and free car parking (charge applies). Via public transport, the beach is accessible via East Coast buses. Scotrail station 1km to South. Situated on John Muir Way and adjacent to National Cycle Network route no.76.

Water Quality Information

This beach is a designated bathing water site. Further information about water quality at this site can be found on the SEPA website. Please observe local signage and only swim where it is safe to do so.


Please check the council website here for toilet opening times.

Contact Details

ELC Countryside
Visit Website


Beach Award Canoeing Disabled Parking Disabled Access To Beach Disabled Visitor Facilities Family Pay Parking Good for Wildlife Recreation Friendly Rocky Sandy Surfing Toilets Windsurfing Wildlife Reserve

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