This is easy – just walk around the coast with not a single religious site to visit but a myriad of paths in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’
From Carnforth station, a steam train was just getting ready to head off on a Santa Special, I tramped dingy streets to find a back road leading to a bridge over the River Keer. Familiar ground led up onto the higher road above Warton Sands. The terrifying main limestone quarry was just catching the early sunlight. The views across the marshes obscured by trees. At the end of the road is the familiar chimney at Crag Foot, all that remains of a pump house used to drain Leighton Moss.
I head across the marshes towards Jenny Brown’s Point where there is another preserved chimney, this one from a short-lived C18 copper smelting endeavour. Flocks of geese wheel above me. Across the bay, Morecambe power station appears to be in the sea.
Despite the tide being out walking along the muddy beach doesn’t seem attractive so I take the little lane above until I can go onto NT land at Jack Scout Cove. From up here, I can see the remains of ‘Walduck’s Wall’, an attempt to reclaim an area of land between the point and Carnforth in the midC19. This disappeared beneath the sands before re-emerging in 1975 as the channels changed. I used to climb on a small limestone cliff, with perfect water washed handholds and fossils, hereabouts but trying to identify it from above is difficult. I do however come across a limekiln which was restored some years ago and I remember it being fired up to celebrate the event.
Back on the lane, I pass Lindeth tower, apparently originally built as a summer house and now available to rent as holiday accommodation.
This area holds so many memories for me; camping at Gibraltar Farm, dodging the tides at Jack Scout’s Cove, bouldering at Woodwell, cosy teas in The Wolf House Gallery and buying unusual plants from brothers at the nursery along the road.
In Silverdale, I take the grassy path across The Lotts shown to me by Sir Hugh on a previous occasion. This takes you straight to The Cove an enchanting place next to the sea with a prominent cave on one side. NT volunteers were out cutting back vegetation. Back on lanes, I cross the boundary from Lancashire Into Cumbria. I presume my guide refers to the ‘old’ Lancashire as it heads towards Furness.
Holgate’s caravan park is massive but well laid out and maintained. I stop for a snack in a wrought iron shelter celebrating the life of Frank William Holgate, 1941 – 2015.
A good track leads to the tottering pile of Arnside Tower a C15 Pele tower built because of the threat posed by Border Reivers.
Looming above was Arnside Knott, another NT estate. Having climbed it many times, today I had the luxury of following woodland paths around its base. Even from this lower elevation, there were good views across the Kent estuary to Grange and Humphrey Head. I picked up a path across Red Hills Pasture and into the woods where I became disorientated until popping out next to the cemetery. Before you knew it I was seated in Sir Hugh’s sanctuary with a strong cup of coffee. He even gave me a lift back to Carnforth so I didn’t make it to the promenade and station in Arnside.
That looks a fascinating walk. I know the Humphrey Head side, and I’ve walked part of the Arnside coastline as a preamble to walking across the bay, but I’ve never done the stretch up from Carnforth. You’ve inspired me.
A wonderful coastline.
I’m afraid to say I’ve never done the cross bay walk, last year I was signed up for a charity walk but floods caused changes to the channels and the event was cancelled. Maybe next year.
That’s happened to me too before. Better luck next time.
Mostly familiar to me – my home patch, but one or two new snippets including Lindeth Tower which I must have seen but after twenty years now in Arnside some of the memories fade. In the early days I took my ageing springer Barney on the Cross Bay Walk with Cedric. I was concerned about him coping but there was a lady with a little bitch that was on heat walking out at the front. Barney got tucked in behind and made it unhesitatingly all the way.
I keep trying to find something new for you.