Arnside, Cumbria Sunday 25th January 2015

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 12.5 miles

We will initially trend south over Arnside Knott to Arnside Tower, enjoying glorious views of Morecambe Bay. We then head towards the railway line, circumnavigating both Middlebarrow and Eaves Woods to arrive at the iconic “Pepper Pot” for lunch and again enjoy the views. Well! With a name like that it just seemed the obvious place to stop!

Descending into Silverdale we will connect with the beautifully scenic “Lancashire Coastal Way” back to Arnside, Hopefully for our usual tea and tiffin!

I would just mention that the short initial return coastal section from Silverdale is on the shore and is dependent upon the tide, but this can be avoided if necessary. Please also bear in mind that we are walking on limestone terrain which can be slippery when wet, so take extra care!

Moderate Leader: Leo and Jean Keenan   Distance: 8 miles

We leave Arnside following the rocky shoreline (tide permitting) towards New Barns. From here we follow the coastal path to Far Arnside. We go through Holgates caravan park to arrive in Silverdale for our lunch stop. After lunch we make our return journey to Arnside via Eaves Wood, Middlebarrow Plain, passing Arnside Tower and then up and over Arnside Knott with lovely views of the estuary all the way.

Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton and Ruth Melling   Distance: 7 miles

We start along the promenade and beach to New Barns. Through one caravan park and then round the headland on a cliff top walk, with lovely views across the estuary, to Far Arnside. Be aware if you do not like height the path is close to the cliff edge in one or two short stretches. We then go through another caravan park (possible toilet and coffee stop if make a small purchase in the shop) before walking past Arnside Tower and up through the woods to Arnside Knott. Wonderful views across the estuary again, before coming back along the promenade to Arnside.

Easy Leader: Lydia Ashton and Philomena Walker   Distance: 5.0 miles

The walk starts off along the same route as the others, along the promenade, around the bay and along the cliff top walk. The walk starts the return back to Arnside through an area called Heathwaite and then skirts round the bottom of Arnside Knott. If it is a nice day and people wish there will be the option of going up to the top of the Knott.

Notes On The Area

Still popular today, Arnside, where the River Kent enters Morecambe Bay, was especially so in the 19th century when pleasure boats would arrive from Morecambe and Fleetwood, and barges plied the river, carrying coal and limestone. Then it was a busy little port in the county of Westmorland (and the county’s only link with the sea), but one that succumbed as more accessible places robbed it of its trade. Before the 19th century, Arnside was only a small village, part of the parish of Beetham, and without its own graveyard, which meant that the dead had to be carried to Beetham for burial. The church of St James, built by Miles Thompson of Kendal, is late Victorian, enlarged in 1884, 1905 and 1914.

Now Arnside is a modest sized, unspoilt holiday resort of limestone-built houses and cottages. Arnside was originally a port for the mills of Milnthorpe, four miles north-east. It was also a base for fishermen who gathered cockles from the sands. Horses and carts would wind their way over the glistening wet sands as the tide receded and the fishermen would rake vigorously until the water rose to the surface, bringing with it a harvest of cockles which were boiled, then transported to the market. In addition flukes, flounders and shrimps are plentiful in the bay and trade is still carried on today, although tractors have replaced the horse and cart.

The area around north Lancashire and southern Cumbria is dotted with limestone hills rising to just over 400 feet: Warton Crag, Whitbarrow Scar, Hutton Roof, Arnside Knott and many others. Below these hills lie quiet villages built from the local stone: Yealand Conyers, Burton, Hutton, Levens, Arnside and Silverdale to mention just a few. It is a walkers’ paradise. There are many well marked paths and evidences of wild life and local history.

The estuary is a haven for coastal birds, and the surrounding countryside contains a wealth of flora and fauna, including deer, red squirrels, foxes and badgers, while anglers fish the fast-flowing estuarial waters for eels and flounders. Leighton Moss, the bird sanctuary, has recently featured on BBC’s Autumn Watch.

Arnside Knott stands above the village to the south, with distant views of the Cumbrian fells. Access is by rights of way only, although it has been in National Trust ownership since it was given anonymously in 1946. The Knott is surrounded by wooded hills, heathland and salt marshes that have done much to secure for Arnside, and its neighbouring village of Silverdale in Lancashire, the designation of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The village owes much to the coming of the railway during the 19th century. A splendid viaduct, originally built by the Furness Railway Company, connects Arnside with the north bank of the Kent, a service that today provides a vital and invaluable link between Lancashire and the towns and villages of Furness (which once belonged to Lancashire).

The ruined remains of Arnside Tower stand in a wide valley to the south of Arnside Knott. It is a large pele tower, thought to have been constructed in the 15th century as a defence against raiding Scots. Fire virtually destroyed the tower in 1602.