Coastal Walk from Silverdale to Arnside

One of the good things about being your own boss is that you can decide how to organise your workload. The weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend was not so clever but it was expected that last Thursday would be a fine day, particularly in the north, so as there was nothing that needed finishing urgently I decided to put on my boots and head out for a walk.

I didn’t want to go too far, and didn’t feel like driving, so I hopped on the train and set off for a relatively little known corner of north west Lancashire and south west Cumbria on the coast of Morecambe Bay – Arnside and Silverdale. The area isn’t far from the M6, but most people tend to zoom past heading for the Lake District or Scotland. With no through roads to anywhere,  it’s a place you have to deliberately go to as there’s no reason to pass through – unless you’re taking the train to Barrow, Workington or Whitehaven. And compared to the nearby Lake District and Fylde coast, it has relatively few visitors. Consequently, it’s one of the quietest and most peaceful rural areas in the North West of England. 

I’ve visited the area quite a few times during the last 6 or 7 years. It’s easily accessible by train meaning I don’t have to drive if I don’t want too. I’ve normally taken a circular route, starting and finishing at Arnside station, but this time I decided to start at Silverdale and follow the coast up to Arnside.

Silverdale to Arnside walk

Map of route

After a short walk on the narrow road from the station towards Silverdale (it can be a little hairy at times as the road is narrow and bendy without a footpath and cars come racing round the bends) I came to a footpath which leads down to the coast.

2012-05-03 12.01.48

It was very peaceful – being mid week there were very few other people about.

2012-05-03 12.08.00

After 10 minutes or so I hit the coast of Morecambe Bay.  The tall tower in the picture below isn’t a lighthouse. It’s believed to have been part of a copper smelting furnace dating back to the 1790s.


Just beyond were a few isolated houses – “Jenny Brown’s Cottages”

2012-05-03 12.19.50

The tide was receding fast leaving behind a vast expanse of sand.

2012-05-03 12.27.23

2012-05-03 12.34.17

2012-05-03 12.43.44

This section of the coast is owned by the National Trust. It’s rural and picturesque now, but at one time it would have been more industrial. The Trust have recreated a lime kiln at “Jack Scout”. Kilns like this were used to make slaked lime from limestone for agricultural and building use. There’s a display board that explains how it worked.

2012-05-03 12.49.26

Coming back off the coastal path onto the road I headed towards Silverdale village, passing Lindeth Tower which, was used by the author, Elizabeth Gaskell who wrote one of her novels, Ruth, there.

2012-05-03 12.54.08

I stopped off at Wolf House gallery and Cafe for a brew and a bite to eat, then set off again, passing through the village back to the coast, walking along the rocky shore as far as “the Cove”.

2012-05-03 13.33.15

I cut in land, taking the path up to Arnside Tower. It’s a pele tower, a defensive structure to protect the local population from marauding Scots, built in the late 14 or early 15th century. It’s in ruins and isn’t accessible as it’s too dangerous.

2012-05-03 13.59.38

From here the modest hill of Arnside Knott, which is owned by the National Trust, was clearly visible.

2012-05-03 13.55.39

Well, I can never resist a hill so it had to be climbed.

2012-05-03 14.07.54

As it’s the highest point for many miles, from the top there are tremendous views over Morecambe Bay, The Kent Estuary beyond which the Lakeland mountains are spread out in a magnificent panorama (well, on a good day) and over to the Howgill Fells and the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.

2012-05-03 14.29.31

The view was good but it was a little hazy, so although I could make out the Lakeland Fells they were a little indistinct and didn’t come out on my photos (which I was taking on my mobile phone as I’d neglected to take my camera with me). However, I’d managed to get some good shots during previous visits.

June 2006 017

June 2006 018

I now had the option of heading down into Arnside, but I decided I’d re-join the coastal path a little north of where I’d left it. The tide was well out by now so I was able to walk along the beach. Care has to be taken as Morecambe Bay is notorious for it’s quick sands and fast incoming tide that can easily cut off careless walkers.

With it’s vast expanse of sand, the Bay looked like a damper version of the Sahara Desert.

2012-05-03 15.23.06

Eventually the Kent railway viaduct came into view,

2012-05-03 15.54.37

and not long after that I arrived at Arnside

2012-05-03 15.57.00

where it was time for a strong cup of coffee to recharge the batteries before catching the train back home.

There’s a good free leaflet showing suggested walks in the area here. My walk was an approximate combination of two of them. A circular walk around Silverdale also featured in the Guardian “Top 10 winter walks” in December 2010.

22 thoughts on “Coastal Walk from Silverdale to Arnside

  1. One thing better than being your own boss is to be retired and then you can do this sort of thing any day you want! What was your total distance? I fancy a stroll round here but nothing more than about five miles.

  2. what a lovely posr with great photos, you had a good walk too. I have never been to that area but it’s on the list now!

    • it’s a beautiful area – took me long enough to discover it though despite not living so far away. Thanks for comment about the photos. They’re not too bad considering I took them with my mobile phone

  3. A great walk – though I am a little biased. I always bypassed this area too – until I moved to Morecambe with work around twenty years ago.

  4. Pingback: Silverdale to Arnside reboot | Down by the Dougie

    • I certainly agree with you Gail. This area is a little off the beaten track and is very peaceful with fewer people around. Though not completely deserted so when walking there you see other people. If I want solitude I go up the Forest of Bowland, an area of moorland, where, once you get away from a few “honeypot” villages and up on the moors is usally pretty much deserted and often you don’t see another soul.

  5. Thanks for the walk. I really enjoyed it. 🙂 The little I’ve seen of Morecambe Bay led me to think it was a bit dismal but you’ve shown some interesting bits. Arnside reminds me rather of the Headland here at Hartlepool.

    • Thanks for that positive comment 😉
      Morecambe Bay can look dismal on a grey day especially in the town of Morecambe itself (except near the Midland Hotel, perhaps). But north of Carnforth (and south of Heysham) the bay and the countryside are beautiful even if the bay can look bleak when the tide is out

  6. That’s a lovely area – I’ve walked there on and off since my parents took me regularly as a kid – we used to stay at the Youth Hostel there. I pretty much always go on the train – very convenient. Have you been to the wonderful Fairy Steps not far from Arnside?

    • Yes, it is a lovely area, and not well known so uncrowded and peaceful. I finally discovered it some 15 years ago after dashing past on the M6 so many times. It’s particularly good as I can get there easily on the train- saves the hassle of driving.
      Did’nt know about the Fairy steps but having had a quick Google definitely one to add to the list. Thanks 👍

  7. Doing some research for a project I am working one. Your report brought back some great memories of walking from Silverdale to Arnside with the 3rd Aintree Scouts some 60 years ago. Lovely country with great natural walks and reminders of times gone by. Thanks for bringing my memories to life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.