14. Hest Bank to Silverdale

I’ve misled you already in the title. I actually walked from Silverdale to Hest Bank. That’s backwards, from further on back to where I ended in the last section. It’s going anti-clockwise, which is just plain wrong! It just feels wrong going round Britain that way. The sea should be on the left. There was never a book called “The sea on our right“.

Also, one of my guidance rules states…

3. Start each stage at the exact same point where the previous stage finished.

so I’ve gone and broken that rule too.

The reason is explained in this phone screen-grab…

Yeah, it’s lovely and sunny, but look at that wind… 28 mph gusting to 47 from the south-west. Sod cycling into that for a game of soldiers. I’ve not done any cycling more than a couple of miles for 30 years, and I’m certainly not going to start now into a 50 mph headwind!

So I decide to drive to Hest Bank, cycle north-east with the wind behind me to Silverdale, then walk back. I don’t mind a headwind when I’m walking.

The cycle ride is pretty uneventful, actually quite pleasant as a couple of miles of it is along the pretty Lancaster canal, although to be honest, I’ve had enough of canals for the time being after my lockdown exploits. I lock my bike up to a lampost and trudge off in an unfamiliar southerly direction.

From aerial images, it looks like it might be possible to follow the coast around the little promontory called Know End Point. I consider risking it, but I’m still feeling the “saddle” effects of the bike ride and don’t fancy having to double back right now. Besides, all the maps show the only route going inland, and every other coastal walker I’ve followed went inland, so I start along the road through the village. After a few hundred yards a footpath leads down the side of a garage and onto a narrow winding footpath, bringing me out onto Lindeth Road.

Lindeth Rd

It’s a nice stroll along this shady lane in the sunshine, well shielded from the ferocious wind, and plenty of flowers dotted around decorate my way. Pansies, Endress Cranesbill, and Evergreen Bugloss… you know by now I had to look them up don’t you? Well, except the pansies, I’m not that much of a city boy! I’ve always loved that bugloss stuff, the blue is so vivid. This is the first time I’ve known what it’s called.

Endress Cranesbill

After half a mile or so I pass Lindeth Tower and Gibraltar Farm, and shortly after that a gate leads off the lane to Jack Scout, a National Trust area.

Just the other side of the gate is an old Lime Kiln with a sign showing how it worked….

Jack Scout Lime Kiln

Jack Scout is a lovely place, reminding me a bit of North Cornwall where I grew up. It’s only small, but the cliffs and gorse and views over the sea make it truly glorious.

Except in North Cornwall the rocks would be slate of course…

Jack Scout. Look how the trees follow the flow of the cliffs.

A tiny secluded pebble beach is accessed by a stile.

The cliffs get lower as I head south until the path is only just above the level of the sea.

The lane swings round to the east at Jenny Brown’s Point. Jenny was probably either Jennet Walling who married Robert Brown who’s old house is still here, or their daughter Jennet.

Brown’s Houses

Shortly after the house is a chimney, the only remaining evidence of a short-lived attempt at copper mining in the 1780s.

Copper smelting chimney at Jenny Brown’s Point

The path here passes over limestone pavement and grassy expanses dotted with salt water pools.

The route takes a right turn along a raised bank called Quaker’s Stang which crosses over the salt marshes to Crag Foot.

A mildly interesting booklet about the features of this area can be found here.

The path passes under the railway…

…and emerges onto New Road, which looks like it might be a busy road, but is actually fairly quiet to stroll along.

New Road

That’s good because the next couple of miles is spent on this road. The Lancashire Coastal Way actually takes a higher route along a country lane running parallel to New Road, but this route is closer to the coast, and allows frequent views over the salt marsh and the sea which the lane doesn’t.

Reeds ripple in the wind
Yellow flag iris
Pink footed geese and goslings

In the hedgerow, my favourite wild flower, the dog rose, smiles innocently in the May sunshine.

The railway line runs closer to the sea than any road or pathway along here. It’s a shame you can’t walk along down there, but the railway line is built on a bank of stone ballast to raise it above the marsh, so any path would be a very wet one.

Thankfully I’m reaching the end of the main road, and I turn right over the railway line and head down a cycle path, all the time overlooked by the imposing Warton Crag.

At the bottom of the short cycle path, a modern wooden footbridge spans the little River Keer. The route turns sharply right, and follows Shore Road towards the west, the sunshine, the sea, and a fierce headwind.

Footbridge over the River Keer
Shore Road

An old guy on a bike overtakes me at a snails pace, battling heroically into the headwind, amazingly balancing at such a slow pace and buffeting wind. I’m sure he’d use a fraction of the energy walking like I am, but his perseverance is awe-inspiring, and eventually he disappears round a corner. Perhaps he got off and pushed as soon as I was out of sight!

After a few hundred yards, the Lancashire Coastal Way splits from Shore Road, and an intimidating sign warns me of trouble to come!

Luckily I don’t sink in any quicksand (which is quite an achievement for me), but I do encounter a gang of thugs blocking my way….

I give them one of my threatening intense stares which works so well in inner city Manchester, and they take the hint and turn and flee, a lucky escape for me there! ?

Sheep possess a level of stupidity which frequently dumbfounds me. Quite how they manage to live from one day to the next is astonishing. As I walk behind them and they anxiously run off ahead of me, only occasionally do a couple randomly discover that if they move slightly to the right I walk past them. The remaining flock either don’t notice how successful this tactic is, or are just too stupid to learn it for themselves, and they continue to scamper away in precisely the same direction that I’m walking. It takes at least half a mile until one by one small groups accidentally stumble upon the amazing escape ploy, and I’m finally alone again.

For some reason it really annoys me that these sheep didn’t just walk to the side. They never got in my way or did anything to disturb my progress, but it just seems wrong that an animal can be that stupid! ?

The decaying bank to my left reveals its suffering under the impacts of past storms, which makes the path frequently so strewn with rocks that it’s hard to walk along.

I head further away from the bank onto softer ground, where I have to pick my way between the boggy pools. One thing that does help me plot a course is following the well-trodden paths of the sheep, which invariably avoid the soggy dead ends that I otherwise encounter. Maybe they do have some sense after all!

The trees are shaped into sculptured droplets, shying away from the persistent onslaught of wind and salt…

I attempt to take a selfie, balancing my camera on a pile of straw. Unfortunately the incessant strong wind has coated the camera lens with salty spray, and the picture, taken into the sunshine, is a bit of a smeary mess! ?

The path eventually joins a tarmacked road, and then rises up some steps onto a sea bank.

After a few hundred yards I reach my filthy car. My car looks fantastic when it’s clean and shiny, but unfortunately that’s only about twice a year. I promised myself when I bought it that this time, I really would take care of it, keep it maintained and shiny, but like all its predecessors, it’s succumbed to my laziness and disinterest in showing off!

It’s certainly nice to get out of the wind. Even though I was never cold, the incessant buffeting and noise becomes a strain after three and a half hours. Tomorrow the weather forecast predicts much gentler winds, and I intend to walk the next stage in the correct direction, clockwise. I drop down the roof of the car as the sun is shining, put some music on, and head back to Silverdale to pick up my bike, before the trip back to Manchester.

My poor filthy car

This walk was completed on 22nd May 2020, and was about 7.3 miles long. I’m now 134 miles into this 5,500 mile trek.

Here’s today’s map:

Here’s the real-time recorded map of my actual route, which you can pan and zoom around…:

12 thoughts on “14. Hest Bank to Silverdale

  1. Great to see you back out on the coast again and in better weather this time. Lovely to see this stretch of coast again. I’m glad to see you didn’t try the “shortcut” the byway over the sands to Kents Bank! I’d never really thought about sheep like that before but you’re quite right. Sometimes get birds doing that too (by which I mean they fly off when you get close, land a bit further ahead on the path and repeat until they eventually go somewhere else!). I do get very nervous when they are on cliff tops that one will just plummet off but thankfully not happened yet. (Though I did find an official such place on the Isle of Wight : https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncombe/28385327756/).

    Also surprised to see a new looking train on that line. When I walked this part of the coast some of the trains were still from the 1960s (and it was only 2015, see here for a photo I took further along the coast https://www.flickr.com/photos/joncombe/23753052395/ when walking next to the line). I also recall a steam train passed me on one of the walks.

    You have now reached what is I think the smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Arnside and Silverdale. I went to the top of Arnside Knott (but on a different day from my coast walk) which was nice.

    As to the clockwise/anti-clockwise thing I’d never really thought about that. A lot of my walks in England at least were done as day trips and initially I darted about all over the place so some walks were done clockwise and some anti-clockwise, though I am writing them up as if I did it all anti-clockwise.

    As to the self portrait I think you’re going to end up with a collection like Ruths’ (where she often shows us the attempts that didn’t work alongside those that did).

    1. Irritating WordPress doesn’t have an edit function as I just remembered I forgot to add. You’ve probably noticed Silverdale ahead and that tempting railway viaduct. Sadly you can’t walk across it (well legally, anyway), just in case you haven’t researched that yet I’m afraid. Most of the railway bridges don’t have a pedestrian path unfortunately. I walked around but it’s not the best walk a lot of it on or next to quite busy roads.

      1. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that railway viaduct for quite a few weeks! I’m certainly not averse to a bit of trespassing as you’ve seen, and the temptation given the alternative route is strong, but I really don’t fancy getting arrested! ?

    2. Thanks Jon, love the sheep drop sign! Poor things, but if they insist on throwing themselves off, I guess that’s evolution and goes to prove what I said about their stupidity ?
      I’ve taken a few self-portraits on the walks, but most are so terrible I can’t bring myself to post them, Ruth is actually a lot better at it than me!

  2. All familiar territory to me but you have seen things I have missed. It is always interesting to get somebody else’s take on something you have done yourself. I know how you feel about walking the wrong way but I don’t think it really matters. If you end up covering the whole coast you will have immense satisfaction that will stay with you always.

    1. Thanks Conrad, yeah, I don’t really care about the direction. Hey, sorry about Saturday! The chain went over the top of first gear and got wedged between the gear cassette and the spokes, and there was no way it was coming out by hand. I took it to the bike repair shop this morning and they had to take the cassette off to free it up, but it’s all working again now, so hopefully next weekend I’ll up in Arnside again and we can catch up – assuming you’re not going clubbing or something!

  3. Was just going to say the same as Conrad but see he’s beaten me to it.
    The last time I walked that stretch, late last year, I was decidedly twitchy about the tide coming in behind me.
    In the past there have been schemes to provide a pedestrian walkway alongside the railway viaduct but they came to nothing. Time for you to put some pressure on the powers that be.

    1. Yeah, I saw something online about putting a walkway along the viaduct – that would be brilliant, but I can’t see it ever happening, I seem to remember they said it would cost over a £1m, which is a lot for the amount of use it would get perhaps.

  4. I think the stupidity of sheep is only surpassed by the stupidity of pheasants – what bird in its right mind would run ahead of a moving car and risk getting squashed instead of just jumping into the nearest hedge out of the way?! As for which direction you walk in I don’t suppose it matters but somehow it seems more logical to go clockwise 🙂

  5. It’s interesting how walk rules fall. I didn’t set one about the sea on my left and anyway it would have fallen when I walked south from New Brighton. I’m sticking to my river crossing only by bridge or ferry, though how I will factor in the transporter bridge in Middlesbrough (I mean who wouldn’t cross that way) or the escalator on the Tyne foot tunnel is yet to be tested. I did drop the walk round promontory rule at Silloth when it was 2 miles to the end plus 2 miles back along the same road and there was a bus to catch at Abbeytown, the last bus of the day that is at 1530.

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