As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the Arnside & Silverdale, Jo Keeling picks out a selection of places to go for outdoor adventure activities in this glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in northwest England.
As one of England’s smallest AONBs, Arnside and Silverdale is a delight to explore under your own steam. With its relatively flat contours and an extensive network of both local and long distance cycling routes, it’s also an ideal spot for two-wheeled adventures. Sure, there’s the odd hill to conquer, but mostly you’ll find yourself pootling along quiet leafy lanes, stopping in at the many nature reserves and geological wonders, before devouring tea and cake at one of the region’s best eateries.
Arnside Knott to Far Arnside
For a 3-4 hour walk, start on the Arnside promenade and amble alongside the Kent Estuary on a stone walkway, passing mudflats criss-crossed with rivulets and wildfowl footprints, before heading inland and uphill towards the Knott. As you climb, the landscape opens out into rich limestone grassland, with clusters of broadleaf trees and tangles of bracken. Patches of exposed limestone offer a tempting place to rest on the way and take in the views.
The area is renowned for rare butterflies and wildflowers (see the National Trust's Arnside Knott and Heathwaite butterfly walk): keep a sharp look out for scotch angus, dark-green fritillary, green hairstreak, northern brown angus and pearl-bordered fritillaries. Loop back to the start via a narrow coastal path from Far Arnside around the headland, exploring limestone outcrops and deserted coves.
Silverdale to Jack Scout Sea Cliff
The coastline to the south of Silverdale is enchanting. Jack Scout is one of only two sea cliffs in the area, which makes it popular with songbirds as well as a pit stop for migrant birds. And it’s here you’ll find the aptly-named Giant’s Seat – a great stone bench overlooking Morecambe Bay. Beyond the seat, follow the path and turn right towards Jenny Brown’s Point. At high tide, you have a good chance of spotting flocks of waders roosting on the salt marsh, while low tide will stop you in your tracks with an ever-changing web of shimmering channels. Here you can find absolute and utter silence, aside from the occasional call of curlews. Reward your efforts by stopping for a coffee and a cake at the Wolfhouse Kitchen on your way back to Silverdale.
Eaves Wood & the Pepperpot
A romp through the woods to this striking folly, built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, is well worth an hour of your time. At 250 feet above sea level, the summit rewards your efforts with 360 views. On a clear day, you’ll find yourself gazing at the great tabletop of Ingleborough towards the Yorkshire Dales and the Skiddaw Range to the north. You should even be able to pick out Blackpool Tower (find the Heysham Power Station, then look to the right along the horizon). Take your time descending through Eaves Wood, a tangle of ancient yews, oak and lime trees among explosed clints and grykes of limestone pavement. Look out for hawks in the open clearings and white witches in the ring of beech trees.
Silverdale Cycle Hire and Holidays
Jason from Silverdale Cycle Hire can kit you out with a lightweight hybrid bike and everything you need for a day out or longer excursion, then send you in the direction of quiet lanes and friendly pubs. He has a wealth of knowledge about the area and can let you know about a great selection of local routes, whether you fancy a flat ride along the Lancaster Canal towpath, a short amble through the pretty village of Beetham or a more challenging excursion to Kirkby Lonsdale. He also organises self-guided cycling holidays, with packages based on the Way of the Roses, Coast to Coast and Hadrian’s Wall (among others). As part of the price, he will book accommodation, provide all the route information you need and transfer your luggage as you go.
For ideas on nearby places to stay, local food and drink, and local attractions, see our