Footprints which could be 7,000 years old have been unearthed at a popular Northumberland visitor spot.
The prints, some made by animals and others possibly by humans, have been preserved in a newly exposed area of peat bed at Druridge Bay.
It is believed the 100m long bed may have been uncovered during the recent tidal surge that hit the East coast.
The finds follow discovery of similar footprints, since dated at more than 7,000 years old, at nearby Low Hauxley in an organised dig which took place last year.
Archaeologist Barry Mead, Greater Morpeth Development Trust’s Heritage Officer, found the latest prints on his daily walk along the beach near his Cresswell home with his dog. Barry was involved in last year’s dig and now regularly walks the length of Druridge Bay to seek new findings.
He said: “I have never seen this peat bed until now. When I looked more closely you can clearly see lots of footprints along with some large tree trunks, one of which is still attached to its root system.
“My discovery of these latest footprints adds to the picture that has been built up of what life may have been like thousands of years ago on this stretch of the Northumberland coast.
“Around the time these prints would have been made, Mesolithic period hunter-gatherers who had followed migrating animals as they moved around the country, were beginning to form settled communities.”
Both adult and child prints were identified during the Low Hauxley dig as well as those of wild boar, large deer and cattle similar to the current Highland variety. Radiocarbon dating confirmed that the prints were more than 7,000 years old.
Barry added: “It is reasonable to assume that the footprints I discovered may have been made by these same animals – and perhaps humans – around the same time because of their proximity to Low Hauxley, It is quite incredible to stand on the beach and look at footprints that may have been left by animals passing this very way perhaps thousands of years ago.”