North from Arnside.

Start. Arnside.

Route. Arnside - Arnside Station - Sandside - Dallam Park - Heron Corn Mill - Beetham Fell - Fairy Steps - Coffin Route - Hazelslack - Black Dyke - Middlebarrow Wood - Arnside Tower - Holgates - Far Arnside - Park Point - Arnside Point - White Creek - Blackstone Point - New Barns - Arnside.

Notes. Yes I'm again in Arnside, a late start, a misty morning and a bloody awful camera, the odds are stacked against me. A varied ramble including a little of everything the area has on offer, parkland, coppice woodland, limestone grassland and crag, a slice of history but best of all a sizeable chunk of estuary rambling. Grab your walking boots, a warm jacket and join me in an attempt to blow away the Christmas cobwebs.

I left Arnside via the foot-bridge spanning the railway line at tiny Arnside Station, the track bed of the disused Arnside/Hincaster rail link then guided me to Sandside, past rows of patient anglers I wandered before stepping onto the sands opposite The Ship Inn, the edge of the estuary then guided me all the way to the River Bela then into Dallam Park. The path through Dallam Park is well marked. South I wandered passed the earthworks perched on castle hill, the remains of a motte and bailey castle, next nestling in a hollow a pillared barn, an 18th century deer house, over the next hill a ha-ha, a wall in a ditch, a method of walling without damaging the expanse of parkland. From the ha-ha I descended to the Heron Corn Mill, corn has been ground on this site since 1220, the present building dates back to 1750 and is well worth a visit.

Via narrow green lanes, the odd stretch of tarmac and field paths I made my way over Beetham Fell. The Fairy Steps are nearly always busy with picnickers and intrepid walkers attempting to ascend the narrow fissure in the Whin Scar cliffs, today it was particularly busy, I wandered south skirting the edge of the cliffs before stepping onto the old coffin route. Corpse roads reflected the desire of the church to keep the people of their parish within the fold, even after death. Not surprisingly the paths became steeped in folklore, tales of ghostly happenings are commonplace and rituals were often performed, particularly at river crossings and crossroads to help prevent the spirits of the dead returning. Until Victorian times the dead of Arnside had to be carried over the fell for internment at Beetham, as a matter of interest so did the dead of Witherslack on the other side of the estuary.

This route of the dead, a pleasant track through woodland over limestone pavements, not spooky at all deposited me at Hazelslack where I joined field paths for the short walk to Black Dyke. Black Dyke is a particularly interesting place, littered with the remains of the 17th century salt industry. Before the introduction of drainage the fields would flood at high tide, the water would then evaporate leaving salt a valuable commodity. I walked through the salt pits passed under the railway before swinging left, after wandering through two large fields I entered Middlebarrow Wood, a finger-post invited me to Arnside Tower, I obliged, walked passed the sad remains of the pele tower to join a narrow green lane leading to Holgates. From Holgates field paths then ushered me to Far Arnside and the coast.

I didn't expect to be walking back at sun set but what a stroke of luck, you can't beat an evening wander under the cliffs bordering Arnside Park. In long shadows and a golden hue I strolled, passed Park Point, across White Creek, under the fossil rich cliffs at Blackstone Point to start the short walk back up the estuary to Arnside. So there you have it, a hazy start, a hefty slice of history, a sun set to finish and a camera full of poor pictures, you decide.

view route map.


Arnside seen over the salt marsh to the north of the village.

Arnside Knott rises through the morning haze.

The rising tide at Sandside.

Whitbarrow viewed across the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay.

The confluence of the rivers Bela and Kent.

Ascending through Dallam Park looking back to Whitbarrow.

The 18th century deer house plus some of Dallam Parks Fallow Deer.

Approaching the ha-ha looking to the limestone scree and cliffs of Farleton Fell.

Seen from Dallam Park the woodland of Beetham Fell.

A ha-ha, a wall in a ditch, the idea was to preserve the lines of the parkland.

Plumb straight, the Arnside/Beetham coffin route, there are a couple of kinks but folk law tells us the spirits of the dead dislike going around corners.

Looking back to Underlaid Wood and Beetham Fell.

The squat ruin of Hazelslack Tower built around 1375, protection against marauding Scots and any other un savoury passers by, Border Reivers spring to mind, just a thought.

Remains of salt pits on Black Dyke.

Arndale in sunlight and shade, the wooded hill just off centre is Beetham Fell traversed earlier.

En route to Holgates looking back to Arnside Tower.

Long shadows and golden light on the Arnside/Silverdale coast.

Footprints in the sand.

A low winter sun and a hazy Humphrey Head seen over wonderful silvery seascapes.

Looking to Arnside Park where limestone cliffs meet the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay.

The setting sun paints the cliffs at Blackstone Point a wonderful gold.

From the edge of New Barns views south down the estuary.

The mirrored surface of the upper Morecambe Bay captures the colours of the evening sky.

Stunning views to Hampsfell above Grange-over-Sands.

North towards the Kent Viaduct as the sun finally dips under the horizon.

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