Solway Coast

Solway view of Lakeland by Ann BowkerThe Solway Coast is a tide-washed estuary between southwest Scotland and northwest Cumbria. Mud flats and marsh are created by the narrowing of Solway Firth, the bore tides and strong currents, and the flat land. Salmon and sea trout are caught in nets with the incoming tide.

In Cumbria the marshes extend between Grune Point at Morecambe Bay's mouth to near Gretna at the estuary's head. Sheep graze in these marshes as they have done for centuries past. The grasses of the salt marsh created by the tides are growing yearly. One of these marshes, Rockliffe, leads to Esk Boathouse.

Solway Firth view towards Criffel by Tony RichardsReedy Burgh Marsh is home to a Victorian monument to Edward I, who died here. A footpath leads from the village of Burgh-by-Sands to the spot.

There are three more marshes on the Solway Coast, all located on Moricambe (not to be confused with Morecambe) Bay's south shore. Cardurnock Flatts marsh is home to the villages of Bowness-on-Solway and Port Carlisle.

Skinburness Marsh is the site of the village of Skinburness, sitting on the narrow spit of Grune Point. Newton Marsh is the third marsh in the Moricambe Bay area. The marshes are a breeding ground for ducks and geese.

Solway Sunset courtesy Allerdale TourismDiverse animal and bird life inhabit all areas of the Solway Coast. Thyme, spiny restharrow, yellow kidney vetch and pale blue harebells nestle in the sand dunes while skylark and barn owls fly overhead. Wading birds such as lapwing, oystercatcher, and curlew cover the sands at low tide.

Farm fields and hedgerows extend over what was forest land until the 1400s. Badgers, foxes, voles, and hedgehogs live here. Local red sandstone can be spotted in some of the farm and village buildings.

Glasson Moss and Bowness Common form part of the rare wildlife reserves of bogs and mosses. Butterflies and red grouse feed on the purple heather. Butterworts and sundew eat the local insects.Solway view to Scotland mt Criffel by Ann Bowker

The Smugglers' Route is a walking route in the Solway that provides an introduction to the history, heritage, flora, fauna, and landscape of the Solway coast and plain. Sand dunes, salt marsh, farm fields, and bogs and mosses all make up this windswept Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Solway Coast is located off the B5302, A74, and a minor road from the B5307.

Solway Coast near Allonby by Tony RichardsSolway Coast Contact:
Brian Irving
Solway Coast AONB Unit
Solway Coast Heritage Centre
Liddell Street
Silloth on Solway
Tel: 016973 33055
Fax: 016973 33045

Photos courtesy of Ann Bowker , Tony Richard and Allerdale Tourism

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