I hadn’t intended to come to Heysham but the day seemed suited to exploration. I had parked up again at Halton station and cycled into Lancaster on the old line, as I did last week on my trip to Glasson and beyond. My plan today was to continue on the 69 cycle way into Morecambe and then explore the coast northwards. I was soon crossing the Lune on the Millennium Bridge and then taking another old railway line, still cycle route 69, westwards. Two thirds along here I noticed a marked turning perhaps towards Heysham and on a whim diverted off onto what must have been a branch line of the railway. I was now in the hands of the sign setter. At first, I was on a cycleway between horse paddocks, but then I was directed into suburban streets, thankfully traffic free. Signs were followed until I lost them, and then I followed my nose into the inevitable cul-de-sac in Higher Heysham. A bit of backtracking and then a bit of the main road past the C16th Old Hall Inn down to the ferry terminal. Not the best way into Heysham.
At last the sea was now in sight. The road came to an abrupt end, but I was able to cycle through on a rough path to arrive at Half Moon Bay where there was a café, but every seat was taken. An advantage of cycling over walking is that it is easy to continue on to the next source of refreshment, though that didn’t quite work out.
Onwards and I found myself in Heysham Village. Lots of quaint alleyways, I remember from years ago a house selling potted Morecambe Bay shrimps, but couldn’t see it today. Soon I’m alongside St. Peter’s Church. It is thought that a church was founded on this site in the 7th or 8th century. Some of the fabric of that church remains in the present church. In the graveyard is an Anglo-Saxon cross and a stone grave. A track goes up onto Heysham Head to the ruined C8th St. Patrick’s Chapel. Most people come here to view the ‘stone tombs’ — a group of six rock-cut tombs and a separate group of two rock-cut tombs. Each tomb has an associated socket, probably intended for a timber cross. I have to say that today with a perfect blue sky and clear views they were magical.
I found my way back onto the promenade around Morecambe Bay. Views across the water to the Lakeland Fells held my attention as I approached the West End of Morecambe. I was soon alongside the 1930s art deco Midland Hotel. Somewhere along here is the proposed site of the Eden Project North, which is expected to bring back prosperity to this ageing seaside resort. I’d never been down the ‘stone jetty’ to the old lighthouse, it was along here that a fellow blogger described what she thought was the ugliest sculpture, I’m inclined to agree with her.
Also on the jetty is a bell that only rings at certain high tides. This bell is one of several around the coast of Britain connecting us with our maritime heritage and a timely reminder of climate change. https://timeandtidebell.org/#
“Bay surging, channels filling, sun setting, I ring, I sing. Listen in.” written by the local artist community is going to be engraved onto the bell. I must come back one day at high tide.
The promenade is wide all along the front so cycling was possible without endangering the crowds enjoying views. I don’t stop at every attraction, I came this way back in 2109 whilst walking A Lancashire Monastic Way, but I have to visit Eric Morecambe’s statue on a sunny day like this.
From time to time I stop and gaze across the water to the Lakeland silhouettes and as I round the Bay, Arnside Knott and Grange become more prominent. “Best view in Britain” one of the locals tells me. I knew of a café at the far end of the promenade where I thought I would get a snack, but time had flown, it was now 3.30 and they had closed.
The main road had to be used to enter Hest Bank where I found a garage that sold coffee and pies. I sat outside, still enjoying the warm sunshine. It’s always a mistake to ask a local motorist for directions when you are walking or cycling. ‘Go down the road until the traffic lights‘ – no mention of how far that is. ‘Follow the signs to Slyne and at the T-junction turn left to Halton’. After the lights half a mile away, I ended up on the busy A6, there wasn’t a T-junction and I was almost back to the garage where I started. At least I was on higher ground and had a good run down over the M6 into Halton, with the Bowland Fells in the background, and over the narrow bridge to my car, the last in the car park.
There may not be many more days like this as Autumn draws in — bring me sunshine any day.
Another cracking run. I still have a soft spot for Morecambe, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed they will eventually find funding for the Eden project. It would be a massive boost to the area.
Yes I thought the Morecambe promenade one of the best in the country with lots of interest.
They have planning permission for the Eden Project, but need another 70 million or so from the government. If we were in the southeast that would be no problem, so let’s watch the outcome with a critical eye.
Just caught up with you – been away at brother’s in Hereford for a few days. All familiar territory. The statue of the commander is even worse than that of the pseudo penguin or whatever that is supposed to be, although it does win a prize for conveying malevolence.
The view across the bay makes up for the tatty statues, of which there were several more not photographed.
I agree. That view is tops.
What a perfect day. I remember the Midland hotel when it was lying empty and in need of repair. I used to love peering through the windows trying to imagine it in its initial heyday.
The view across the Bay to the Lakeland Fells is amazing and you look to have had the perfect day. I’ve never visited St Patrick’s chapel and the stone-cut tombs, however. I think a trip to Heysham is in order.
I think you could weave one of your excellent essays on Heysham and Morecambe area. Lots of interest and history.
I haven’t been in the Midland Hotel as yet – looking back, I should have had afternoon tea there last week instead of sitting on a garage forecourt.
Sounds like a great ride, you had perfect weather and got some more great views over Morecambe bay. Thanks for the link by the way, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that statue is ugly 🙂
Morecambe promenade is improving each year. I thoroughly enjoyed it.