Bolton-le-Sands and Morcambe Bay.

Start. Red Bank Farm.

Route. Red Bank Farm - Wild Duck Hall - Marsh House Farm - Shore Road - Lancaster Canal - Hest Bank Swing Bridge - Coastal Road A5105 - Hest Bank Railway Crossing - Morecambe Lodge - Red Bank Farm.

Notes. Morecambe Bay the largest expanse of intertidal mudflat's in the United Kingdom, covering a total area of 120 square miles, remains of an outflow plane formed by glacial deposits at the end of the last ice age. In contrast the Lancaster Canal was built to carry trade between Kendal and Preston, opened in 1797, the northern reaches followed later in 1826. This level walk takes in an interesting slice of coastline followed by a tranquil stroll along the canal through Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank.

Our starting point for this short excursion was Red Bank Farm on the edge of Morecambe Bay, there’s quite a bit of free parking but in good weather it fills up fast, as the morning greeted us with rain it didn’t look like we’d have a problem. As it happened we stepped from the car into improving conditions, clearing cloud and a hint of sunshine, our timing was perfect. Boots laced up we headed north the Lancashire Coastal Way under foot. We passed the wonderfully named Wild Duck Hall followed by Bay View Holiday Park, at this point the path became indistinct, all we had to do was follow the coast. We continued north passed Marsh House Farm, here the River Keer spills into the estuary, on the opposite bank slag heaps, all that remains of the Carnforth Haematite, Iron Company.

Our route crossed a stile then continued to a second, this allowed access to a tarmac lane, we turned right, With Shore Road under foot we wandered passed housing, old and new, by the time we reached the A6, Shore Road went by the name of Longfield Drive. To the left of the mini roundabout a narrow path allowed access to the tow path of the Lancaster Canal, built to carry trade between Kendal and Preston, it's now mainly used by pleasure craft and makes for a lovely easy walk.

The canal meandered south, we meandered with it, under a number of single arched bridges we walked, between the houses of Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank all this via the bear garden of the Royal Oak, which conveniently backs onto the waterway. On reaching Hest Bank Swing Bridge we left the canal, a foot-path guided us between housing to the main road into Morecambe, we crossed, turned left then continued to Hest Bank Railway Crossing. The barriers at the crossing were our gateway back onto the estuary, north we walked not realising just how far it was back to our starting point.

Passed parked cars we wandered, passed a couple more caravan parks, instead of ascending Red Bank we stuck to the coast there was something else worth seeing. Praying Shell by Anthony Pagett, a sculpture merging a kneeling figure in prayer and a cockle shell. It combines themes from nature with the spiritual heritage of Morecambe Bay to create a potent symbol of reflection, renewal and environmental integration. It looks over the site at which 23 Chinese cockle pickers died in 2004. Just round the corner from the sculpture the car awaited our return, but if it's open and, if you can grab a seat there's an excellent cafe at Red Bank Farm.

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From Red Bank Farm the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay.

White washed shining in the sun Wild Duck Hall on the edge of Morecambe Bay.

Near Marsh House Farm looking across the Keer Channel.

The Keer Channel with views over Morecambe Bay.

Viewing sylvan Warton Crag.

From salt water to fresh, the Lancaster Canal.

Dappled light at Thwaite End Bridge.

Sue strides out along the edge of the Lancaster Canal.

Barkers Bridge.

Church Bridge carries St Michael's Lane over this delightful waterway.

Hest Bank Swing Bridge, at this point we left the canal.

Near Hest Bank Railway Crossing viewing the white limestone cliffs of the Silverdale coast.

Near Morecambe Lodge Caravan Park looking to Arnside Knott with sylvan Heald Brow and Gray Walls to the right.

On the horizon the white washed buildings of Grange-over-Sands.

A wonderful silvery view to the Morecambe sea front.

Sunlight and shadows on Red Bank.

Teetering our way across the boulder strewn beach at Red Bank, every now and then we'd take our eyes from the toe of our boot to enjoy views to Warton Crag.

Praying Shell, a sculpture conceived before 23 Chinese cockle pickers died in 2004, it now stands a fitting tribute overlooking the site of the disaster.

Sunlight on the shifting channels and rising tide of Morecambe Bay.

With my back to Red Bank Farm viewing the Arnside/Silverdale coast.

From the parked car views to Warton Crag, the massive scar being Warton Main Quarry (disused) now a nature reserve.

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