LANCASHIRE COASTAL WAY & LANCASTER CANAL
from CARNFORTH RAILWAY STATION

 


Summary

Date - 10th September 2015 Distance - 8.25 miles
Ascent -
440ft
Map - OL7/296 Start point - Carnforth Railway Station (SD 49724 70637)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

"I see there is a day down this week to walk with Uncle Eric again", said Southey looking up from the iPad.

"Let's hope the weather will be good then", replied Allen, through a mouthful of cake. "I love this peach and apricot slice, Grizzly."

"These cheese scones are scrumptious", added Shaun. "Well done Little Eric."

"Ooh yes", agreed Southey helping himself to another. Then after a few taps on the iPad, he said "Thursday looks to be OK, with a good deal of sunshine."

"Super", said Tetley. "it will be up to Dad and Uncle Eric to decide where we walk, so we do not have to get our thinking caps on, but can just relax and enjoy the cake and tea."


So on Wednesday evening we waited with eager anticipation for Dad to come and see us.

"We are doing a local walk, lads. Starting from Carnforth, down to and along the Coastal Way to Hest Bank and then return by the Lancaster Canal."

"We have done the majority of that before, but the first section from Carnforth will be new", said Tetley.

"It is always a pleasure to walk along the canal, so even though we have done it before it will nevertheless be enjoyable.", enthused Grizzly.

"Roll on tomorrow", cheered Southey.

 

 

The Walk

As predicted it was a lovely day with blue skies for the most part and quite warm in the sun.

From home it was just a few a few miles to Carnforth Station, where we met Uncle Eric.

"Good morning", we called out.

"Hello lads", responded Uncle Eric, "nice to see you."

Soon ready, our initial route was along the road towards Warton. It was not long before Uncle Eric stopped, and pointing to the substantial building on the opposite side said, "this was once Carnforth Iron Works."

In the centre is the blocked up entrance, over which is a carved legend stating this. Much of the history of Carnforth revolves around the railway and ironworks. Vast deposits of limestone a key component of the smelting process, located locally made Carnforth an ideal place for an ironworks. The company was established in 1846 and during this year a recession occurred in the Earl of Dudley ironworks in Worcestershire. This meant there was a surplus of workers, and a number moved to the ironworks and lived in the nearby company village of Dudley (now called Millhead). In 1864 the Carnforth Haematite Company took over the works and production was vastly increased due to iron ore that was brought in by rail. For some years steel production became the main focus for the works. Iron production continued at the works until 1929 when it eventually closed down. The premises are now an industrial estate and a haulage yard. At the entrance to this once stood a row of cottages for the workers, which, when the iron works needed expansion were demolished and rebuilt on a street off the main A6 road through the town.

Just before the railway bridge we took the road left by the River Keer. Again Uncle Eric stopped and pointed saying "these were once water troughs."

He went on, "they were for the horses that hauled the trucks on the tramway bringing the limestone from the nearby Warton Quarry."

Along the road we passed under the railway bridge, passing Hagg Farm the building having a date stone of 1638. "It is the oldest building in Carnforth", said Uncle Eric.

Eventually we left the road to walk the coastal way on the shore.

To our right across the grass was an embankment. Once again Uncle Eric gave us the history lesson. "There was a spur off the tramway for carrying away the slag that formed this embankment."

"What is that tower?" asked Little Eric.

"Behind the embankment there had later been a landfill site, and the tower releases the methane, which is also used to produce electricity", replied Uncle Eric.

Strolling along this group of sheep were grazing. "They are just begging to be photographed", said Southey, knowing that he was winding Allen up.

"Oh nooo", cried Allen, as Dad hauled out the camera.

As we continued to stroll the shore Southey said, "it's just lovely along here, so quiet and peaceful with Morecambe Bay stretching away into the distance."

There was flotsam on the shore including this sculpted tree washed many times no doubt by the sea.

Close by was a small cairn, that Uncle Eric spent a few minutes adding stones to. "It is nice and shapely now", complimented Tetley.

By Wild Duck Hall we rejoined the road by which was this dedicated seat.

Allen let out a bellow of laughter. "That dedication is very appropriate to you Dad!"

Looking back Wild Duck Hall made a nice shot.

At Red Bank Farm, instead of walking over the bank, we kept to the rocky shore as the tide was out. We passed behind the extensive caravan park, to rejoin the road and continue to Morecambe Lodge.

Shaun said, "our route is the footpath to the left into the yard, and at the end we go through a gate right into a field."

On its far side the route continued via a ladderstile, Uncle Eric here posing on top.

Then at the next to a stile, this led onto a short track by the railway, that was then crossed by the footbridge. "Look", called out Southey, "there's a train coming."

Beyond we drifted right to a stile hidden in the hedge and on over two footbridges, to finally cross a pasture to the main road.

"We should cross, turn right, and then shortly take a footpath right between the houses", instructed Shaun.

"We've never been up this path", commented Tetley.

At it end a flight of steps climbed to the canal bank. "It's left", said Shaun.

We strolled the towpath, passing under a number of bridges including this with balustrades that carries the A6, once the main road to Scotland before the days of motorways.

We were passed by barges plying the canal and in places some were moored.

Coming to a seat, Grizzly, implored, "will you take our picture please Dad. After all we have to appear at least once in every story."

Not unexpectedly ducks etc., were a dabbling on the canal. Dad snapped this one.

There are some lovely tree-lined stretches, like this.

Finally we came to the marina, here leaving the canal and walking the road to the station. Just before the car park, Uncle Eric pointed out this house. "It was once the station master's house."

"That was a lovely walk", said Southey, "and thank you Uncle Eric for all the historical information. We have learnt a lot."

"You are welcome lads. I hope you found it interesting."

So, we decamped to the car to have our picnic, while Dad and Uncle Eric went to the Refreshment Room on the station for lunch, having a sandwich and tea.

Carnforth Station is famous as the location for the filming of the classic movie Brief Encounter and the famous station clock features prominently.

Not all that many years ago the station had fallen into disrepair and dereliction. Almost in danger of being demolished a campaign by local people saw it restored, the Refreshment Room re-opened, and a Heritage Centre celebrating the importance of Carnforth's railway history and its location for the filming of Brief Encounter. The clock had long disappeared too, but was found in London and restored to its rightful position.

After taking this shot Dad turned to look up the track, and Uncle Eric said, "that stone building with the tall chimney was the original Furness Railway signal box."

"I always wondered what that was", responded Dad. "

So that was a another nice walk under our paws, and saying our goodbyes to Uncle Eric, Dad drove us home.

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