Was today going to be anticlimax of lane walking into Arnside? No, with Sir Hugh’s local knowledge we weaved our way through unknown woods, nooks and crannies. Our plan a few week’s ago was to walk between our residences, they sound grand, as close as possible to a straight-line drawn on the map. We have actually kept it to within a kilometre of said line.
The road from the Carnforth/Warton marshes was busier than we had hoped so at the earliest opportunity we took a hidden path up onto the higher lane. We knew this area well from climbing on the numerous limestone crags. Warton Main Quarry was a place to fill you with fear but the higher outcrops were far more attractive. We had met up at Warton Pinnacle Crag before.
Passing on we dropped down to Crag Foot where there is a distinctive chimney, the remains of a pumping station for the low-lying fields that now are abandoned for the reed beds of Leighton Moss Reserve made famous for its Bitterns. The other chimney seen across the marshes at Jenny Brown’s Point is related to copper smelting works dating from the end of the 18th century.
Soon we were crossing those saltmarshes towards an RSPB hide named in honour of Sir Eric Morecambe. We had no binoculars so we bypassed towards the wooded Heald Brow where a limestone track wandered through the woods towards Silverdale. This was all new to me and I was enjoying the atmosphere. Devious lanes and paths were taken around the edge of Silverdale through various National Trust Properties and despite a basic navigational error, not knowing which road we were on, we arrived at Waterslack Farm where I remembered a garden centre and cafe in days gone by. On the way we passed several wells, Lambert’s Meadow, Ancient woodlands, lots of limestone outcrops and The Row of houses. This whole area is worthy of detailed exploration.
The Black Dyke runs parallel with the railway into Arnside but we first had to have a look into Middlebarrow Quarry, a large abandoned limestone site where there would be climbing possibilities if it wasn’t on the dreaded private Dallam Estate land where any public access is unwelcome.
Mission accomplished before the end of 2018. Happy New Year for 2019. What next.