A Circuit from Silverdale including Warton Crag and Castlebarrow.

Start. Silverdale (Shore Road).

Route. Silverdale - Hollins Wood - Woodwell - Heald Brow - Quacker's Stang - Crag Foot - Crag Road - Occupation Road - Warton Crag - Strickland Wood - Occupation Road - Coach Road - Peter Lane - Summerhouse Hill - Leighton Park - Grisedale - Leighton Moss - Storrs Lane - The Trough - Trowbarrow - Red Bridge - Red Bridge Road - Eaves Wood - King Williams Hill - Castlebarrow - Elmslack - Cove Lane - Silverdale Cove - The Lots - Silverdale.

Notes. This is an ideal location for a quiet walk, come with me, we'll conquer the highest point in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 535ft Warton Crag. Home to a multivalent hill fort dating back to the late Iron Age. The site is rich in flora and fauna, as is our second high point, King William’s Hill. Ancient woodland alive with rare ferns, small leaved limes and the grey giants of Beech, hidden grassy glades, twisted Juniper and limestone pavements. We’ll savour magnificent views from Castlebarrow over Morecambe Bay, the Yorkshire Dales and the hills of Bowland, (well on a clear day we will). Then there’s the bit in-between, limestone grassland, scrubland rich in rare insects and the reed beds of Leighton Moss, a bird watchers paradise.

My day started in Shore Road near the Silverdale Hotel, after wandering away from the coast I stepped onto Stankelt Road, Almost immediately a finger-post greeted me, Public Footpath, this I followed between old and new housing, through narrow ways hemmed in by dry stone walls, the path guided me through Hollins Wood depositing me at Woodwell in the shadow of a limestone cliff. I continued the cliff to my left, the path ascended through giant Beech trees depositing me in a narrow lane, across the lane the foot-path continued.

Along a narrow trod between hedge rows and dry stone walls I wandered, through the limestone grassland and scrubland of Heald Brow before descending to the salt marsh. The finger-post that greeted me announced the start of the path to Quacker's Stang, I followed said path across the top of an embankment, passed Quacker's Stang and the deep gully of Quicksand Pools to access Crag Foot. From Crag Foot it was a simple ascent over the tarmac of Crag Road, at the top of the hill another finger-post greeted me, another announcing Public Footpath.

This stoney track is known as the Occupation Road, it’s a route of old, once part of the main winter road north, the higher, dryer ground being preferred over routes through the valleys, which a couple of hundred years ago after bad weather were boggy and unsafe to travel. This high dry track guided me onto the shoulder of Warton Crag. A number of paths radiate from this track, all head to the summit, I opted for the second, (no sign). The stunning walk that followed passed through scrubland, woodland, passed limestone pavements eventually depositing me on the summit. You can see bugger all from the top, you need to walk the few yards to the south west for the views, stunning views they are to. I sat around a while on polished limestone blocks, obviously many backsides had perched there before me.

Once I’d picked myself up I re-traced my steps to a path junction near the summit, the path to the right then ushered me through ancient woodland, on reaching a split boulder I swung left letting the path guide me through Strickland Wood back to the Occupation Road and the start of a permissive path to the Three Brothers. Three reasons for going that way, it cuts out the steep descent of the Occupation Road followed by a long stretch of tarmac walking and, the three erratic boulders laying in a dead straight line on the limestone pavement are worth seeing, imagine my disappointment when the path was closed. I contemplated scaling the gate, but decided on the long steep descent and walk over tarmac.

After descending the Occupation Road I stepped onto the tarmac surface of the Coach Road, this narrow lane ushered me up hill passed Greenbank Kennels then over the old county boundary, I know this because the road name changes to Peter Lane, as so many do in these parts. Peter Lane in turn guided me passed the entrance to Leighton Hall then on to a finger-post promising passage to Summerhouse Hill, this path I followed through woodland into stunning views over Leighton Park. After sitting a while I descended passed the Gothic pile of Leighton Hall to join a narrow tarmac lane that ushered me into Grisedale, at Grisedale Farm the tarmac ended to be replaced by a stoney track, this track lead through the reed beds of Leighton Moss before ejecting me onto Storrs Lane, I swung right to join a path signed The Trough, an interesting geographical feature that cuts through this limestone peninsula.

The limestone walls of The Trough guided me into Trowbarrow Quarry, once the work place of hard rock minors now a nature reserve with flora and fauna slowly re-claiming the site. What was once the access road guided me to Red Bridge and the tarmac of Red Bridge Road which in turn ushered me to Eaves Wood. In Eaves Wood signed paths guided me through ancient woodland, passed the remains of Emes Cottage, beneath the grey giants of the Beech Circle then on over King William’s Hill to Castlebarrow, home to the Pepper Pot. I stopped on Castlebarrow, soaked up the views that greet the lucky rambler, sat a while away from the many people that visit this special place, when I set off again it was west to access the path leading through Elmslack. This way marked path guided me between smart houses, through narrow ways soon ejecting me onto Cove Lane, said lane then guided me to Silverdale Cove and the path that traverses The Lots. After traversing the wild flower meadows of The Lots a wicket gate allowed access to Shore Road just around the corner from the Silverdale Hotel and patiently waiting car.

view route map.


Woodwell Cliff.

Ascending into sunlight the path through Woodwell.

Arnside Knott as seen from the fields of Heald Brow.

Near Quacker's Stang looking to the woodland and scrub of Heald Brow.

The Occupation Road, and you thought you'd be dodging traffic.

Moss painted boulders and coppice woodland on Warton Crag.

A few paces from the summit wonderfull views back to Silverdale....

....and out over Morecambe Bay with the Furness Peninsula melting into the horizon.

The split boulder passed on the descent.

I passed many specimen trees on my descent, this fine example being a Beech.

From Summerhouse Hill stunning views over Leighton Park.

Next on the bill, a steep descent followed by a stroll through Grisedale then a wander over Leighton Moss.

The climbing cliffs of Trowbarrow Nature Reserve.

The Shelter Stone in Trowbarrow, once used by the minors to seek shelter during blasting, now a popular Bouldering feature.

Emes Cottage in Eaves Wood.

It's worth following this path, apart from the cottage it passes through the Beech Circle.

The Pepper Pot on Castlebarrow with views to a distant Warton Crag.

Over Morecambe Bay the long finger of the Lancashire coast.

High tide at Silverdale Cove.

View taken from Red Rake, Silverdale Cove and the limestone cliffs of the Arnside/Silverdale coast.

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