So often overshadowed by the Lake District, Cumbria offers so much more than it gets credit for. Plus, it is so accessible by train from Manchester so you can make a day of it whenever you fancy. I spent a day in the autumn sunshine in Arnside and Morecambe Bay. The most glorious of days to collect some miles and enjoy a great range of terrains and views.
After getting my morning miles and enjoying a coffee with Jit I headed into the hustle and bustle that is Piccadilly Station. I am constantly surprised about how incredibly busy it is at all times of the day. Everyone in a hurry to get somewhere and pushing through crowds to get there. I really enjoyed watching it though, especially as my destination would be a lot calmer and quieter. A quick skip over to platform 14 and I was on the move on the Blackpool North train. Making sure I was in the right carriage of course, as it was due to split in Lancaster.
Watching the city buildings roll away I settled into my seat to watch the world go by. And without even realising, I am soon seeing autumn trees, amber floors and water from my window. The journey had drifted away as I had enjoying the views from the train. It still gets me how near we are to such amazing places while having the convenience of living in the city!
Circular route from the station
The walk that I was taking has been created by Walks Around Britain for Northern so it is from door to door. Or train to train if I’m being pedantic! This is a great kind of walk when you’re heading somewhere out-of-town for a walk, because you don’t have to worry about finding the start of the walk or making your way back to the station. You can also work out your timings too, which is a bonus when you’re taking the train.
If you also follow my Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, you’ll know that it was a very sunny day. But just to be sure, I’ll share it here too. It was the most glorious of autumn days! Blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds and the sun beating down into the fresh cool air. It was the perfect weather for taking in the views and enjoying a walk in such gorgeous settings.
On the top of the first hill, there are some houses with the most amazing of views! Little did I know that behind them, up the next hill, is an even more amazing view of the landscape! Can you imagine having a view like this from your lounge window?!
Up to Arnside Knott
Pulling myself away from the view and the lovely dogs that I met while I pondered the dream of distant views from my house, I made my way to the woods to climb up the hill to Arnside Knott. It wasn’t long before I was enjoying the wet nose of another new dog friend on my way up the hill and a cheery hello from the owner in tow. The woods came to an opening and the expanse of green and blue with the rays of sunshine darting out over it was a delight to see.
Arnside Knott offers a fantastic view over Morecambe Bay and is more than worth the walk up the hill. While I was walking up, I met a lovely older couple walking with walking sticks. They shared how they walk up there every day for exercise. They were definitely showing that hill what for as they didn’t lag too far behind me as I powered my way up. I loved the little snippet that the husband shared with me about local life:
“If you can see the hills, it’s going to rain. If you can’t see the hills, it’s already raining”
I was lucky that the tale didn’t come true on my trip, but living in Manchester, I can completely agree with the sentiment!
Anyway, this part of my route was one that took the longest. Not because of the hill, but the views from every angle. And the fact that I had to try to take a “trig selfie” while I was up there.
Onward and downward
As up I went the hill, I was back on my way down heading to the coast. When you see the views from Arnside Knott, it is hard to believe that it is just under 500 feet high. You would think it would be much taller seeing as you can spot the Lake District hills in the distance.
There are loads of paths to take you down to the bottom of the hill so I took the time to explore while I meandered my way down, passing by some cows resting in the shade. I would have lingered longer on the plateau for a picnic but I was beaten to the best spot!
No sound of the sea
Unlike when you visit coastal areas, the walk down to the beach through Far Arnside wasn’t filled with the sound of the sea or the calling seagulls, it actually became quieter. Admittedly, there were very few people on the route down to break that silence, but you do normally expect some sort of whisper of the sea to beckon you towards it. I caught glimpses of water through the trees on the way down, so I knew it was there. Just silently waiting.
I knew from long ago visits and my view from Arnside Knott that there was something lovely waiting at the bottom of the hill for me, but I didn’t quite expect it to be as stunning as it was. I wandered through some houses and past some holiday caravans to the large gate onto the beach. Still peaceful with the breeze the only sound. Standing alone on the pebbles I just took it all in.
Morcambe Bay Coast Line
The incredible silence was broken soon after I arrived on the beach by the gentle chatting of a family heading out for a walk with their very friendly dog. (another friend that I made en route) It actually added to the calm as it was nice to know that other people were enjoying the sunshine and space too.
If you don’t know Morecambe Bay very well, it is notoriously boggy on the sands and the tide rises fast, so even if it looks as though you could walk to the other side (Grange over Sands) you can’t. Not to be a spoil sport, but it is seriously not safe! Anyway, safety notice over, you won’t be wanting to head over to Grange while you have the Arnside side to explore. There are great craggy rocks, woodlands and sandy beach to wander over as well as pebble paths and promenades. More than enough to entertain and the view is enough too.
Pebbles, Rocks and Squidgy Sand
And leaves and roots too! One thing I learned quite quickly after coming a cropper was that with all the different surfaces, you need to watch your step! It wasn’t even an exciting fall either, I clipped my toe on a root beneath the leaves and over I went like a tree being felled. So just another little tip for you, especially if you’re visiting in autumn and looking out over the to the horizon.
Anyway, the views. As you walk around the coast line, you get views over to the nearby places and in the distance too. Living in the city, it is not often you get such long uninterrupted views, so it is worth taking your time, while watching your footing!
Every corner you walk around brings a new view and often a surprise too. It is amazing how just one small line of coast can be so incredibly different on each step. You don’t get that much of a difference when walking the prom at New Brighton!
As I rounded the corner, the bridge came back into view in the distance. I knew that it was the home stretch of the circular and that I would soon be nearing the station. I decided to make the most of the final miles by taking in all the beauty that I could (which also meant that I went a bit quiet on the vlog!) Oh yes, I did record the walk and you can check it out below here to get the full feel of the stunning surroundings.
Sounds of the people
As the path became more flat and solid, the more voices I could hear in the distance. Fishermen standing on the shore, children splashing in the puddles and calls to dogs over the breeze. I was definitely getting closer to the mainland.
The sun was still beaming down on my as I made my way to the promenade and onto the hard standing path which would take me back into Arnside Village. The houses came into view and the bridge was getting lager with every step I took, so knew the station was nearby. Enjoying the reflections of the fluffy white clouds and my final glimpses of the water I started my way into the village.
Back to the station
Have you ever noticed how quickly you arrive back at your transport after a day out? It was not different walking back to the station for me after jaunting my way around Arnside and Morecambe Bay. It was only a hop, skip and a jump from the coast to the station.
As my trip came to a close I enjoyed one last view over the water while I munched down my snacks and waited for my train to pull in. I have resolved that I will be back very soon – for the same circular walk – to show Jit around. Coming from the Midlands, this part of the country is fresh and new to him, so I’m excited to share its greatness with him.
So when you’re thinking of a day out from Manchester, remember my autumn sunshine in Arnside and Morecambe Bay to inspire you to head up that way. Oh and so that you can do this very walk, keep an eye on this post, my social media and the Northern website as the route and instructions will be there for downloading very soon.
There are only eight weekends left until the start of 2018 and it is never too late to make the most of them! Jump on a train and head out for a day in the countryside, head to a different city to explore or plan a mini day holiday in a neighbouring village or town. Whatever you do, enjoy the time and get to know somewhere new.
I only know how many weekends there are because I have just printed my plan for the rest of the year. I’m getting it all booked in and organised so I don’t miss any of my 2017 visits.
Here’s to more autumn sunshine and walks in the North (or anywhere for that matter!)
Have you visited Arnside and Morecambe Bay? What is your favourite thing about Cumbria?
If you haven’t, would you enjoy this circular walk too?
Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Northern. I received compensation for writing this post. However, as always, all photographs, content and opinions are honest and my own.