Monday, 14 February 2011

317 March Walks from Arnside

Our first walk of the 2011 season will be from that area of outstanding natural beauty [AONB] of the ARNSIDE and SILVERDALE coastline and will be on

Saturday 12th March 2011
0800hrs prompt from short stay car park

There will be three walks;
  • A Walk led by Beverley Kelly, linear walk from Yealand Conyers
  • B Walk led by Keith Scott
  • C Walk led by Norman Jones

Please look and decide before you get on the coach as the journey is only short and insufficient time for everyone to read the walk descriptions

Arnside is a modest sized, unspoilt, holiday resort on the estuary where the River Kent enters Morecambe Bay.

This former fishing port has retained many of the features from its past. The beautiful pier and port areas of the town offer stunning views across Morecambe Bay as well as providing an enduring reminder of Arnside's illustrious history.

It is a haven for birds, and the surrounding countryside contains a wealth of flora and fauna. Here is the National Trust owned Arnside Knott, a 520 ft high flat rock, which with neighbouring Silverdale in Lancashire, has done much to secure the designation of 'Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty'. It has many lovely wooded walks around Arnside Knott, up to the "Pepper-Pot" at Silverdale or around the coast with its cliff top walks and sea views.

Link to Arnside and Silverdale AONB

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Description taken from another walk

The area between Arnside and Silverdale on the eastern edge of Morecambe Bay is a veritable walker's paradise. Topographically speaking, the area is a rocky limestone peninsula, for the most part heavily wooded. Formerly it was surrounded by the sands of Morecambe Bay on the one side and by marshes and mosses on the other, with frequent incursions by the sea up the connecting valleys. Bypassed by the traditional 'oversands' route from Lancaster, the Arnside/Silverdale area long remained wild and remote, an unspoilt rural backwater quite unknown to the world before being 'discovered' by the novelist Mrs Gaskell in the last century. Mrs Gaskell lived for long periods at Lindeth Tower and she was one of the first people to be sold on the beauties of the area. Many others have followed in her wake. Eaves Wood belongs to the National Trust, who aquired it in sections over a number of years. The woodland seclusion is complete and unbroken, and you have to find your way around this leafy maze with care.

Eaves Wood, like its cousin Eggerslack Wood across the sands at Grange, is a wood characterised by limestone scars and pavements, with their associated clints and grykes. As one familiar with the windswept and open limestone country of the Dales I find this heavily-wooded landscape highly unusual, though no doubt much of the Dales with which I am so familiar would once in fact, have looked much like this, for that landscape is the man-made product of centuries of deforestation by farmers.

At Eaves Wood the whole hillside consists largely of ancient and undisturbed woodlands. The bare limestone with its thin soil is home to numerous yew trees, while deeper soils support oak and lime trees. There is also ash, beech, birch, hazel,larch, pine, hawthorn and holly (Not to mention areas of grass and heather.) The limestone is also of interest, though after heavy rain its smooth pavements can become a slimy, mossy slither for the unwary. In wet weather you should proceed with care.

From the car park our walk passes behind Woodlands, the former residence of Mr. Dickins (who donated much of his land to the National Trust in 1929 and on his death in 1949)passing close by the water tanks which originally supplied the house and which were fed from a spring higher up the hillside. A further reminder of the original ownership of the woods appears higher up the hill, when we encounter the stone kerbs and steps which lead to the summit of King William's Hill, where we can still make out the hexagonal foundations Mr. Dickin's Gazebo, unfortunately well past being saved by the present interest in folly preservation. It was reputely erected around 1830 in honour of the accession of William IV, after whom the hill was presumably named.

Descending the steps back to the main path, we very quickly reach the summit of Castlebarrow and our chief objective- The Pepperpot. The summit of Castlebarrow stands at over 250 feet above sea level, but being largely backed by dense woodland its only real prospect is to the south-east, where we have a bird's eye view over Silverdale, which lies immediately below us. Further afield however there are other treats. If the weather is really clear, The Ashton Memorial and Blackpool Tower should also be in view, along with the great 'box' of Heysham Power Station and the distant summit of Clougha Pike. Looking towards Yorkshire the view is dominated by the table-topped summit of distant Ingleborough, and last, but by no means least, there is the southern part of Morecambe Bay, glittering in the sunshine.

The Pepperpot (originally known as the Pepperbox) is a circular roughstone tower, about twenty feet high with a conical roof. It was built at the instigation of the Hebden family, who then owned Castlebarrow; the builder being a local man by the name of Mr. Bowskill. Its purpose (your average folly builder's excuse) was to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. Apparently there was once a plaque telling the story of the monument, but this fell prey to vandals long ago and was never replaced. During the Great War, soldiers were billeted at nearby Bleasdale House, a Red Cross hospital, and it is said that they planned to build a 'Salt Cellar' to keep the Pepperpot company, though nothing was ever done. In 1977 the idea was mooted again, this time the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II being the proferred excuse, but nothing materialised, and we must live in hope of any future efforts. From Castlebarrow our route, frequented by walkers, caravanners, and rough- spoken men with dogs, deerstalkers and uncovered shotguns, proceeds towards the caravan site. Proceeding around the caravan site we eventually descend to Arnside Tower. This picturesque ruin, standing on the saddle of land between Castlebarrow and nearby Arnside Knott with its steep forbidding screes (locally called 'shilla') has a commanding, dominating presence that was no doubt intentional. Arnside Tower was a defensive structure, and this is reflected in the cunning way in which it was sited, with sea on one side and flat marshes on the other. It seems possible that at one time it could have had the sea on both sides, which would have made it well-nigh unassailable! It was built by the De Broughton family around 1340, and was damaged by fire in 1602. It was restored and survived intact until the end of the seventeenth century, after which it began its steady deterioration. In 1815 it was sold to Daniel Wilson of Dallam, and in 1884 a great storm felled one corner of it. Today it is little more than a shell, although it still retains its fireplaces and sections of newel staircases.

A pele tower was not a great castle or garrison filled with soldiers. It was essentially a home - a tower house which could, if required, be quickly transformed to withstand a sudden attack. Arnside Tower, along with its neighbours at Hazelslack, Borwick, Beetham, Levens, Sizergh and Wraysholme across the sands (see Kirkhead Tower walk), were all built with one purpose in mind - protection from the Scots. Throughout the Middle Ages the Scots were a perpetual threat to the area, frequently invading, killing and looting. Arnside Tower was unusual in that it had four storeys (most peles had three). The ground floor contained store rooms and a dairy, while steps led up to the entrance, which was on the first floor. Fireplaces and garde robes (latrines) were built into the thickness of the wall. In its heyday a wooden stockade would have been built on the hillside around the tower. This was known as the 'Barmkin', and was an enclosure-cum-refuge for cattle and stock.

A Walk at Arnside No 317

Silverdale Coastal Walk
Distance: 10+ miles
Total ascent: 840 ft
Total descent: 920ft

This is a walk of variety, exploration and surprises in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Whilst there are no Mountains to climb there is a level of fitness required to traverse the clifftop walks and to enjoy the rock scrambling. The distance is not one to endure as we have 5-6hrs, indeed care needs to be taken not only for safety but so as not to miss the wonderful ever changing views and the abundance of wildlife, particularly as we pass the Leighton Moss RSPB reserve and estuary.

As this is a linear walk, we will leave the bus at Yealand Conyers and as it is a short journey from Formby, I anticipate that we will be walking by 0930hrs at the latest.

I can promise you wildlife, history, a smugglers cove, a writers place of inspiration, daring cliff tops, magical bays, beautiful views and a lovely teashop at the end and if the weather is kind it will be a walk to remember and to return to on your own.


Link to photo's taken on the walk reccie with Les Gibson

B Walk at Arnside No 317

Walk Leader: Keith Scott
Distance: 7 miles
Total Ascent/descent: 985ft

A beautiful walk for the first walk of the season, not too taxing yet packed with variety with views across an ever changing bay, lovely varied limestone woodland filled with birdsong as they prepare for the new broods, an historic Folly and splendid view of the Cumbrian mountains from the Knott viewpoint.

Leaving Arnside on the the promenade we walk in the direction of Silverdale along the coastal path, occasionly slightly rough in parts,passing thro' the caravan site at Grubbins Wood and continuing along the edge of Arnside Park eventually reaching the caravan site at " Far Arnside "

Heading inland the we pass thro' Elmslack village and climb steadily to " The Pepper Pot " ( A Victorian landmark in the form of a 20 ft. tower ).

Passing thro' Middlebarrow Wood we reach Arnside Tower, before starting the ascent of the " Knott " (approx 500 ft ) with superb views on a clear day. We finally descend to Arnside finishing on the promenade, a total distance of approx. 7 miles. 

The walk is not too difficult, the only real climb being " The Knott "
 The railway viaduct from Arnside Park

 Looking over to Grange from Arnside Park

 The view from Arnside Knott trig point.

 Back to the village and refreshments 
after a relaxing and enjoyable walk with good company

C Walk at Arnside an easy climb with splendid views.

Walk Leader: Norman Jones
Distance: 4.25 miles
Total Ascent/descent: about 550ft

After refreshments, the walk starts along the main road and into the minor roads at the rear of the village, before taking a footpath through Dobshall Wood. Our route is upwards, good underfoot, on Red Hills open ground heading for Arnside knott. At about 550ft this is the highest point in the locality. As we walk up, the views become increasingly expansive across the Kent estuary. At the trig point the view is equally good in the opp
osite direction

Our descent, with excellent views again, is sometimes on stony ground through a series of woods before we reach the shore of the estuary, when it is about a mile back along the shore and the promenade.

The walk length, as the first one of the season, is unusually short, so the uphill section may be taken as slowly as necessary for everyone to have a comfortable walk.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Picture diary of the club walks in 2010

Club walks 2010
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