Earlier this year with much fanfare and media coverage it was announced that a 125 mile coastal path is in the pipeline linking Cleveleys in Lancashire to Silecroft in Cumbria and incorporating 27 miles of previously inaccessible footpaths.
If approved it would form part of the England Coastal Path. The north west section would take in the spectacular promenade of Morecambe, pass along the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as the industrial heritage of Barrow-in-Furness.
The eight week consultation process came to a close on Wednesday, March 4 so if you want to view the proposals in detail go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/england-coast-path-in-the-north-west-of-england and follow the links if that’s your bag. Better by far is to try the walk described below to sample part of the new long distance path – perhaps it will inspire you to do the whole of the England Coastal Path – all 2,700 miles of it
Start/Finish: Arnside Promenade LA5 0HD
Distance: 9 miles
Time: 4-5 hours
Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South-eastern area
The first part of the walk hugs the shore between Arnside and Far Arnside. There may be a temptation to stray onto the sands at low water but pay attention to the frequent warning signs seen along the promenade.
With the River Kent to your right walk along the Promenade keeping ahead where the B5282 turns left up the hill with the Albion pub on the corner. Passing handsome stone built villas go slightly right onto a walkway above the shore as the Promenade ends. After the coastguard station the path enters a small bay at New Barns.
As you reach a drive turn right and continue to the entrance of a caravan park. Here bear right to keep to the shore. Below Frith Wood the route comes to the far side of New Barns Caravan Park. The path climbs up a low cliff to enter woods and continues past Park point to arrive at the edge of Far Arnside Caravan Park.
Following the footpath signs keep ahead through the park and then the hamlet of Far Arnside to arrive on Cove Road. Opposite take a footpath across fields which brings you to another caravan park – Holgates. As you reach the main part of the complex go right on a path leading to the rear of the centre building bringing you back to Cove Road close to the border between Cumbria and Lancashire. Turn left. At the next junction turn right on a lane that takes you down to the Cove which is Lancashire’s most attractive piece of coast. If the wind is blowing off shore this is a lovely place for a picnic.
Continuing the route take a footpath to the left which climbs above the not very high cliffs and after a neck of woodland enters pastures. Follow the obvious path to arrive Shore Road – a little way above the Silverdale Hotel. Descending steps turn left at the bottom and keep left to enter Silverdale Village centre. Now on Emesgate Lane pass the Royal Silverdale, the village hall on the left and St John’s CofE Church on the right. Follow the road as it brings you to the war memorial and then continue to the junction with Park Road. Keep right but almost immediately after turn left onto a footpath next to the entrance of The Woodlands. The path leads up to Eaves Wood. When you come to a wide track turn left following a wall on the left. Keep on this track to arrive at Elmslack – a suburb of Silverdale! Turn right on the lane passing properties on the left to re-enter woods. Keep ahead on this track and after a stile in the wall pass alongside Holgates. As the path emerges from trees it crosses the upper section of the caravan park to continue to a ladder stile below Arnside Tower – a ruin. Over the stile follow a farm track leading to Arnside Tower Farm. By passing the yard on an enclosed path turn left onto the drive to walk up to Silverdale Road.
The final part of the walk is an ascent to Arnside Knott before dropping down to the starting point. Almost opposite the end of the drive take a bridleway leading into the woods on the lower slopes of the Knott. After ¼ mile turn right onto a path leading up to the top. Keep climbing until you attain the ridge with magnificent views across the Kent Estuary to the Lakeland hills. Make no mistake this is one of the _ _ _ _ _ _ /_ _ _ _ _ /_ _ /_ _ _ North of England (no prize for filling in the missing words). The trig point more or less surrounded by trees in not the best viewpoint but is up to the right from the main track. To descend follow the crowds – or in their absence follow the path that drops in the direction of the viaduct.