Nestled between the foothills of the Lake District and the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay, the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a surprisingly diverse landscape; in just one day you can gaze over salt-marsh, watch avocets preening in the estuary shallows, dip into green wooded valleys and stride up to the summit of rocky outcrops.
The villages offer a chance to enjoy simple pleasures: eat fish and chips on the pier, amble along the promenade at sunset, watch herons gingerly stepping in the shallows and read a book overlooking an ever-changing web of shimmering channels. But it’s the opportunity to explore the glorious countryside on foot and get up close to nature that brings visitors back. Watch peregrine falcons nesting on sheer limestone crags, seek out rare butterflies in wildflower-rich grasslands and listen to bitterns booming over the largest reed bed in the north of England. There's so much to explore both in the AONB and in the wider Morecambe Bay area.
The Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers 75 sq km and is one of the smallest of the AONB family
More than half of the flowering plant species of the British Isles can be found here
Morecambe Bay, an integral part of the AONB, is the largest intertidal area in the UK and is a vital feeding ground in winter for over a quarter of a million wading birds, ducks and geese.
The Bittern, which features in the AONB logo, is one of Britain’s rarest birds and can be found in the reedbeds of RSPB Leighton Moss
With over 100km of well maintained footpaths, walking is a great way to see the AONB
Photo: Lucy Barron, AONB Manager, Arnside & Silverdale AONBA word from the AONB
The Arnside & Silverdale AONB is an extraordinary place, famous for its amazing wildlife, stunning scenery, and superb walks. From the simple beauty of the lady's-slipper orchid to the shining sands of Morecambe Bay, the area is just awe-inspiring - full of natural spectacles and a surprise around every corner.
The area’s network of narrow lanes and paths, open spaces, viewpoints and nature reserves, offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy walking, cycling and wildlife watching. The AONB villages all offer something unique from historic buildings to friendly pubs and cafes and some great places to stay. And the area is very accessible by public transport – perfect for exploring in a truly sustainable way.
The AONB Partnership is working together with communities, farmers and landowners to conserve and enhance this outstanding landscape now and for the future. You’re sure to get a warm friendly welcome here, whether you’re a first time visitor or one of many who loves the area and returns again and again.
We hope this Greentraveller Guide will inspire you to get the most out of your stay in ways that keep the area special and bring benefits to local communities
Photos in slideshow: All Diana Jarvis/Greentraveller except: [Duke of Burgundy butterfly, Photo: David Morris]; Historic Attractions: [Leighton Hall, Photo: Arnside and Silverdale AONB; right hand column: Arnside Knott: Photo: Adam Donaldson]