Walk 146: Silverdale Circular Walk (1)…a beautiful unknown corner of Britain

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6km)

Time to walk: This walk took us roughly 1 hour 45 minutes but, as the weather was poor, we did it quite quickly. On a better day, there’s opportunities to explore the shoreline & sit & admire the views

Difficulty: A mixture of grassland, forest paths & hard surfaces. There’s a few short upward sections but nothing too strenuous

Parking: On the road in Silverdale

Public toilets: Cafes etc in Silverdale

Map of the route: 

We’d never been to the Arnside & Silverdale area of the UK &, to be quite honest, had to look up where it was! But wow…what a stunning hidden away jewel it is, just below the Lake District & bordered by stunning countryside on one side, & Morecambe Bay on the other.

Silverdale the village, stands 8.5 miles north of Lancaster & had a population of 1519 in the 2011 Census. It forms part of the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The RSPB’s Leigton Moss nature reserve is close to the village & we were lucky to witness one of the largest starling murmurations we’d ever seen

The National Trust owns several pieces of land in the area & the Lancashire Coastal Way footpath goes from Silverdale to Freckleton & the Cumbria Coastal Way goes from Silverdale to Gretna

In September 2011 a metal detectorist unearthed the ‘Silverdale Hoard’, an early 10th century Viking hoard comprising 201 silver coins, jewellery, ingots & hacksilver that had been buried in a lead container in the vicinity of Silverdale

It was a cold, wet & windy day so our photos aren’t the best, but we hope you can get an idea of how beautiful this place is, so…

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts in the narrow Shore Road at the entrance to the common land – you’ll see the way markers in the middle of the pasture…

Immediately you enter the field you see Morecambe Bay spread out in front of you. At the time of this walk, the tide was well & truly out

2. Morecambe Bay is the largest expanse of inter-tidal mudflats & sand in the UK, covering a total area of 120 square miles. In 1974, the second largest gas field in the UK was discovered 25 miles west of Blackpool, with original reserves of over 7 trillion cubic feet. At its peak, 15% of Britain’s gas supply came from the bay, but production is now in decline

The extensive sandflats are the remains of a vast outwash plain established by meltwaters as the last ice age waned. The bay is notorious for its quicksand & fast moving tides. On the night of 5th February 2004, at least 21 Chinese immigrant cockle pickers drowned after being cut off by the tides

There have been royally appointed local guides (holding the post of Queen’s Guide to the Sands) for crossing the bay for centuries. This difficulty of crossing the bay added to the isolation of the land to its north which, due to the presence of the mountains of the Lake District, could only be reached by crossing these sands or by ferry, until the Furness Railway was built in 1857, which skirts the edge of the bay, crossing the various estuaries

3. Follow the markers across the field & pass through the gate in the stone wall, heading straight towards the Bay

Where you’re walking now is Bank House farm, which is a farmstead of 8 buildings owned by the National Trust. Once through the wall there are more extensive views along the Bay towards Morecambe &, on a clear day, Heysham Nuclear Power Station

Heysham Power Station is operated by EDF Energy & is divided into two separately managed stations, Heysham 1 & Heysham 2, both with two reactors of the advanced gas-cooled reactor type. On 1 August 2016, Heysham 2’s Unit 8 broke the world record for longest continuous operation of a nuclear generator without a shutdown

4. Continue across the next, short field & exit through the kissing gate into the narrow, wall-flanked lane…

The path now starts to head downwards towards a cove. There’s considerable erosion on the cliffs here & some of the trees are hanging on for grim death!

5. The cove is pretty & the small cave in the cliff’s a local landmark. There’s also a bench with a fine view at the end of the path

At low tide, it’s possible to climb up into the cave, but it could be risky if the tide’s rushing in. Today it was definitely out!

6. Walk through the gate & head up the narrow lane…

Look over the wall on the right into the orchard to see a rather strange looking stone shape. It’s a smaller replica of a famous landmark we’ll see later in this walk

7. At the top of the lane turn right for a short distance along Cove Road, crossing to the left side & walking along the raised path

On this walk we had the gorgeous Toby, Annie & Ollie, all Spanish rescue dogs, to keep us company

8. Take the narrow footpath through the gap in the wall with the public footpath sign to Elmslack…

The path opens out into a lane, so continue straight ahead. As the track rises you begin to get fine views across the village itself

9. Walk through the archway into Walling Lane…

…& continue straight ahead passing a triple footpath marker. Follow the directions to Eaves Wood

Eaves Wood spreads over the slopes of a low hill known as Castlebarrow Hill from the northern edge of Silverdale, up to the crest of the hill which marks the northern border of the county, over which is Middlebarrow Wood, in Westmorland. It’s also managed by the National Trust, which maintains a network of paths through the wood for visitors

This is not technically an ancient woodland, but still old & of natural variety, of mixed trees, oak, ash & lime & others. The lime trees are surrounded by undergrowth deep in ferns & lily-of-the-valley, & open, leaf-strewn forest floor under the great beeches, the result of a plantation. There are also areas of exposed limestone pavement in the wood, which provide a habitat for rare plants & wildlife, & junipers grow in cracks in the rocks

10. Shortly you’ll arrive at another signpost, where you should take the left path towards the ‘Pepperpot’

Continue bearing straight up the hill, ignoring the footpath going off to the left – we’ll come back to that later, but for now we’re walking in a large clockwise circle, through some impressive beeches

11. Pass the stunning, moss covered stone wall & continue left, up the hill & round to the right…

The path continues in a circle, descending down to an old stone building

12. At this point turn right through more impressive beech trees, to shortly arrive at an area known locally as the ‘Fairy Ring’ which is an almost perfect circle of mature trees, probably all originating from one tree. Understandably this area is used for wedding photographs. The path goes straight through the middle…

13. Continue to the signpost, where you can turn left & then follow the wall back to the lane if you wish…but why would you when there’s a ‘pepperpot’ to visit

Walk back up the hill &, this time at the junction take the left path as it rises diagonally left through the trees & then climbs some old steps

14. Walk through the gap in the wall &, after 50 yards, turn up the small hill to arrive at the magnificent ‘Pepperpot’. The structure was built in 1857 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria

If it’s a nice day, this is a great place for a picnic & the limestones under our feet reminded us of the top of Malham Cove in Yorkshire

15. Retrace your steps back down to the junction signpost & this time head down to the wall & follow it to the right back down towards Walling Lane…

…turning left upon reaching the road

16. At the end of the lane, turn sharp left walking towards the methodist church, but head straight towards the lane with the ‘No Entry’ signs. However, just before the signs turn right down the narrow lane between the houses…

…& then at the end, left into the even narrower passage

17. The main road at the end’s Emesgate & it’s time to turn right & visit the centre of this lovely village, passing the Church of St John’s, which dates back to 1884

Almost opposite is St John’s Primary School. Have a look at where the basketball hoop is in the playground. It made us laugh as it’s against a wall with a field on the other side, outside of the school property. Imagine the number of balls there in term time!

18. Although small, Silverdale appears to be a very self-contained village. Pass the fire station, which isn’t hard to miss…

…& then Bleasdale School with its magnificent cupola. The school website says it caters for pupils 2 to 19 years with Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulties. However at the time of writing there’s also another report that says it’s being closed

19. The road bends left into the heart of the village, where there’s even more amenities…

The library was very busy when we visited, as was the local village shop…

What we really loved though is the village has retained its traditional feel & people are happy to support the local butcher rather than head into the supermarkets of nearby Carnforth

20. Next door’s ‘The Royal’ public house, which stood empty between 2010 & 2016, before undergoing a major furbishment programme. The opening ceremony was performed by Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle in ‘Emmerdale’

If you’d rather have a coffee, then ‘The Blossom Bird’ coffee shop comes highly recommended…

Whilst sipping your coffee you can admire the rather ornate village Millennium Clock over the road

21. To return to the start of this walk, turn right at the junction, but there’s something else we want you to see, so continue along the road as it bends left into Stankelt Road. Approximately 50 yards along the road on the left’s the incredible ‘Spite Wall’

The house on the left was built first & had windows looking out onto open space. When the house on the right was built the first house resented not only losing its view, but also losing its privacy

In those days there was no such thing as planning permission so the house on the left built this very solid wall two stories high right on the edge of their land boundary & very near to the wall & windows of the house on the right

It has become a famous structure which people now come to see!

22. Turn round & retrace your steps to the junction, heading straight across into Shore Road where we began this walk…

So that’s our brief look at what’s pretty much a small hidden part of Britain & one that we’ll definitely return to in the summer. The walking trails here are excellent & extremely varied & it’s possible to extend this walk to take in parts of Arnside, & other beauty spots such as ‘Jenny Brown’s Point

It’s fabulous so…

Go Walk!