|Businesses in Arnside||Towns and Villages of Cumbria|
Arnside sits on the estuary of the Kent River, where it meets Morecambe Bay near the Lancashire border. Low limestone hills, marshy plains, and deciduous woodlands characterize the surrounding land, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Copses, hedgerows, and pasture add to the mix. The mild climate provides the right habitat for rare butterflies, flowers, and alpine plants. The Arnside and Silverdale area is considered a last remaining stronghold of the Red Squirrel who feed on the cones of Scot's Pines on nearby White Scar.
Clear views of distant Lakeland mountains are a treat, as are the many flowers of springtime. Large numbers of wading birds and wildfowl frequent the estuary, and much of the area is owned by the RSPB, including the Leighton Moss Nature Reserve, a reed-swamp that is home to marshland birds.
Arnside was a small village of only a few farms, cottages of fishermen, and inns until c1845. Boat building and associated trades increased the population and development of the village. The railway, in 1857, boosted its growth as holidayers took advantage of Arnside's seaside position. Well-to-do Victorians, with their fascination for the sea, further swelled the numbers.
Arnside's port eventually lost its trade to other more accessible harbours. It still retains a pier, built by the railway in 1860, destroyed by a storm in 1984, then rebuilt. Its promenade is a choice spot for walking. What is now ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’ hotel (once The Crown) was built in 1660 and still retains the cock-pit under the floor.
Arnside Tower is one of a number (and the only one open to the public) of 15th century pele towers built in a ring around the Bay. This type of dwelling was constructed for safety during the border raids by the Scots. Arnside didn't have a church until 1866. Before then, villagers were carried along the Coffin Route for burial in the village of Beetham.
At Morecambe Bay, tides turn quickly as the “tidal bore”, a dangerous and swift high tide, comes racing up the River Kent. Low tide uncovers miles of sand, and guided walks across the Bay are possible. It was the monks who first guided people over the sands. Guides carried poles to check on the water's depth, and, when walking the sands was possible, they would blow a horn to inform travellers. When tides made the Bay unsafe to cross, the guides again blew on a horn to signal that the crossing was closed. Horses were often a means of transport for those wealthy enough to afford them. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, used a horse to make his way across the sands.
Other famous people have crossed the sands of Morecambe Bay. Among them were Robert the Bruce's soldiers when they invaded Lancashire in 1322. The Lanercost Chronicle said, “. . . . so they crossed the sands of Kent as far as the town of Lancaster which they burnt, except for the Priory of the Black Monks and the homes of the preaching Friars.” The supporters of Lambert Simnel (pretender to Henry VII's throne) crossed the sands in 1487. George Fox, the unpopular founder of the Quakers, was escorted by soldiers across the sands for trial and imprisonment in Lancaster.
Low tide is a time for the fishermen to gather whitefish and shrimp from previously set traps. Called flook fishing, vehicles drive onto the sands to collect the sea's bounty. Hand fishing is also possible as the tide goes out.
The 1566-foot long viaduct carrying the railway line across Morecambe Bay is a splendid sight. It opened in 1857 and has a total of 50 piers. Before the arrival of the railways, an “over sands” coach service ran from Ulverston to Lancaster.
The area between Arnside and Silverdale provides interesting walking. The wooded hill of Arnside Knott-a 520 ft high flat rock most of which is owned by the National Trust- presents views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District mountains. A number of walking trails start from the Arnside Knott car park. Evidence of glaciers is everywhere. Wildflowers, including orchids, are plentiful. Other popular walks lead along the clifftops with their far-reaching sea views.
Uncrowded, accessible to the Lake District, panoramic views, great walking country-all this sums up the pretty and unspoiled little town of Arnside, situated on the southern tip of Cumbria.
Arnside is off motorway M6, junctions 35 and 36 6 miles (10km) N of Carnforth Trains run to Grange, Ulverston, and Barrow. Accessible by bus.
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