CCP01: Arnside to Levens Bridge

Sunday, 2nd August 2009

Maybe it was because it was all a bit rushed that Margaret was in a grump.  

Or maybe it was due to my inefficiency.  

Those of you following our progress (or lack of it) along the Cumbria Way will remember that we have been stuck in the Latrigg car park since 7th February (see CW09).  The next stage is logistically difficult and we have been waiting for the right combination of weather and diary availability of us and our support team.  We had hoped to go this weekend but low cloud and the Ladies Golf Championship conspired against us.

Plan B was to start a new long distance walk with fewer logistical challenges for simpler days.  The circuit of Windermere seemed attractive but the buses we wanted didn't run on a Sunday so very much as a last minute, Sunday afternoon idea, I suggested we start the Cumbria Coastal Path.

Where to start is a bit of a puzzle.  According to the OS map, the start appears to be at Dallam Towers but that doesn't seem right.  Surely it ought to start at the Lancashire border near Far Arnside?  After all, that is where the Lancashire Coastal Way ends.  The walk around the Arnside Knott headland is well known to us and a delight but it would create more logistical problems right at the outset.  So, as a compromise, I opted for the Pier at Arnside.  Somehow it seemed to have a logic to it.

Sadly, however, logic or even common sense failed me on the bus from Levens Hall, where we left the car in a lay-by.  Despite our bus ticket clearly saying Arnside Pier, I got us off the bus a stop too early.  This meant a quarter of a mile walk to reach the start point over ground that we would have to retrace.  Margaret didn't seem to understand the necessity of going to the pier but to me, it was essential- sometimes I think I have a mild form of Asperger's syndrome!  What further upset her was that it was blowing a gale. Consequently, in our commerative photo to mark the beginning of another long distance walk she looked a right Mrs Grump.  Or would have done had her face not been totally obscured by her hair.


Mrs Grump on the pier

Things got even worse as we set off down the road to Carr Bank.  Margaret, understandably, wanted to be on the old railway track that skirts the sea front but there was no way onto it for quite some distance- Mrs Grump was getting grumpier by the yard. Eventually we crossed a wall, found a log bridging a dyke and were able to climb up on the embankment.  I asked her if her normal sunny nature would now reappear and she promised it would once we had had a coffee break.

The log bridge


For the benefit of anyone who might seek to use these reports as a guide to the walk (unlikely and dangerous though that is) I think we should have crossed over the extant railway at the station and picked up the defunct track there.  Indeed if anyone is using this as a sort of guide, they would do much better to look at Visit Cumbria's Coastal Way where there is a far better description from someone who did it properly and used the guide book.  Incidentally, I am using the term Cumbria Coastal Path rather than Way because that is what the occasional sign post said and to differentiate our meanderings from anything official!

The railway embankment panorama

Anyway, the wind abated and we were just the right side of the divide between good and poor weather so we did have a coffee and scone stop at Sandside. Mrs Grump duly metamorphosed back to the Merry Marge we know and love.  This process was helped by the fine vistas across the Kent estuary to the distant hills.

The estuary at Sandside

The tide was starting to come in, covering the mudflats and I quite expected to see the Arnside bore but maybe we were a bit too early.  Here are a couple of photos of the bore coming up the estuary and hitting the viaduct at Arnside.

© Copyright Arnold Price and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Although nowhere near as the Severn bore, it is still surfable in a canoe - see Liverpool Canoe Club for a photo of canoes riding the bore through the viaduct.

The confluence of the Rivers Kent and Bela

After the confluence, the path skirts the River Bela to Dallam Towers where we made a short diversion to see the deer that we had spotted from the bus.  

You have been warned

Team  picture by the River Bela

Dallam Tower deer

a glimpse of Dallam Tower

Retracing our steps, we headed across the salt marshes on the top of a levee as far as we could before reverting to the very straight roads across the very flat fields.

Sandside with Arnside Knott behind from the salt marsh

Don on the levee

The long road not a-winding

There was some washing at College Green but just as I was about to photograph it, someone came out and it would have seemed rather obvious and strange.  Margaret, however, wasn't bothered as the background was wrong for it to make a good her painting.  Mind you, I thought that was the point of artistic licence, you can change it however you like.  Anyway, no washing paintings or photos from this first stage.

On reaching the A6, the official Path follows this very busy road. We thought it much more interesting to cross over and pass through Leasgill where we could have a nosey at the houses and gardens before dropping back down to the main road.  Not much can be seen of Levens Hall from the road and it was, by this time, closed.  However it is a fine old building with a unique topiary garden and excellent café.  If you can't visit the house, at least visit its website!  As usual, Visit Cumbria also has a good feature on it.

Levens Hall behind the wall

The River Kent in Levens park

The car was parked just up the road, by which time we had complete an easy (i.e. no hills of which to speak) 7.0 miles, not including the bonus stretch from wrong bus stop to the pier.  And all grumps long dissipated!

Don, 2nd August 2009


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 These pages log
the progress of
Don and Margaret
along the
Cumbria Coastal Path.


 Click on the photos
for an enlargement or related large picture.



CCP01: Arnside to
Levens Bridge


CCP02: Levens Bridge to
Gilpin Bridge


CCP03: Gilpin Bridge to


CCP04: Grange-over-Sands
to Cark


CCP05: Flookburgh
and back to Cark


CCP06: Cark to Speel Bank
(plus a Cistercian Way sampler)


CCP07: Speel Bank to
Low Wood via Bigland Tarn


CCP08: Low Wood
to Ulverston


Ulverston to Bardsea


Bardsea to Newbiggin


Newbiggin to Roa Island




The Washing Lines

as seen by Margaret:

will appear here!









BOOT boys

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