Arnside and Silverdale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, on the border between Lancashire and Cumbria, adjoining Morecambe Bay. One of the smallest AONBs, It covers 29 square miles (75 km2) between the Kent Estuary, the River Keer and the A6 road. It was designated in 1972.
The area is characterised by low hills of Carboniferous Limestone, including Arnside Knott (522 feet) and Warton Crag (535 feet), interspersed with grassland. Much of the area is covered by deciduous woodland, in which ash, oak, and hazel predominate. The coastal area contains large extents of salt marsh, although these are under threat from the shifting channel of the Kent Estuary.
The Leighton Moss nature reserve, owned by the RSPB, is the largest area of reedbeds in North West England, and is an Important Bird Area. The bittern, one of the resident species, has been adopted as the logo of the AONB. In addition, there are 15 SSSIs in the area; one of these, Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve, is home to some rare species of butterfly including the high brown fritillary. Arnside and Silverdale are the main villages in the area. Other settlements include Warton, Yealand Redmayne, Beetham and Storth.
About every month, Arnside battens down the hatches and prepares itself for a tidal wave – the Arnside Bore. The Bore is a tidal phenomenon which occurs in relatively few locations worldwide and is caused by the leading edge of the incoming tide being forced through a narrowing bay causing a wave against the direction of the bay’s current. Hence, the Arnside Bore is a true tidal wave – although this shouldn’t be confused with a tsunami!
The Arnside bore is caused by a combination of the high tidal range and the shape of the bay which narrows into the Kent Esturary at Arnside. The size of the bore wave can be quite hard to predict, ranging from a few centimetres to almost a metre high! To give yourself the best chance of seeing an impressive bore wave, make sure you visit during a predicted tide of 9.5m or more, or preferably a spring tide. If you can combine this with recent rain in the lakes and a strong westerly wind, then you are sure to be onto a winner.
Arnside is probably the best place to watch the bore because, not only is there a small pier, but South Lakeland District Council also provide a seasonal siren, to warn of the incoming tide. The siren is sounded twice before each daylight high tide, the first time roughly 15 to 20 minutes before the tidal bore is due (it is not an exact science). The second siren is sounded as the bore reaches Blackstone Point (New Barns), which is just further down the bay.
Even if your visit isn’t timed well for a bore wave, Arnside is still worth a visit for a bit of bird spotting. The mud flats and shallow water provide rich feeding for birds such as Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Knots, Herons, Shelducks and many more. The National Trust car park at Arnside Knott is a short walk back to the village and the pier, but parking in the village can be quite hard on sunny days, and it’s a nice walk anyway.
This is a fantastic spot for a great view, just a short stroll from the road, across flower-studded pasture to a rocky headland looking out to sea. Time your visit right, after the daytime walkers have gone home, and you will experience an amazing sunset, surrounded by calling birds including oystercatchers and curlews on the sands, warblers and blackbirds on the land, with the sea lapping below. Explore secluded paths between the bushes and find the hidden ways down to pebble beaches, where children (and adults) can beachcomb and rock-scramble. Or find the Giant’s Seat and sit for a while, soaking up the peace.
Jack Scout is a great place to view the Lakeland hills and the surrounding countryside. See stunning sunsets from this area, and also see the tidal bore. There are no facilities at Jack Scout and parking is very limited at the roadside. Wolf House (300m North) has a tea room and parking (for customers only). In Silverdale (half a mile): parking, public toilets, shops, pubs and cafés. Jack Scout is a fantastic spot for a picnic but do please remember to take any litter home with you.
There are toilet facilities available. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept under control. Please note much of the land is grazed by sheep and cattle.
Arnside Knott is a shapely 500 foot limestone hill set between Silverdale and the Kent Estuary in Arnside. It has fabulous 360 degree views which take in the Lakeland fells, Yorkshire dales, Trough of Bowland and Morecambe Bay. Its 260 acres cover woodland, hillside, grassland and scree. The site is managed for conservation – its unique butterfly and orchid species and public access and its wildness and variety of habitats is one of its enjoyed features. The site is a popular spot for dog walking therefore assistance dogs are welcome on site. The National Trust policy is one of open access to the whole site and there is an extensive network of regularly used paths of varying lengths, gradient, surface and width. Some are naturally made and some are kept clear and well drained by the National Trust Ranger team. Redhills Wood and Heathwaite are adjoining Arnside Knott. There are access points at these sites in Arnside which will also take the visitor through onto Arnside Knott.
Eaves Wood is a 50 hectare woodland with some ancient woodland habitats, grassland areas and areas of open limestone pavement. There are only two official public footpaths in Eaves Wood however the National trust policy is one of open access to the whole site and there is an extensive network of regularly used paths. Alongside keeping the site open for public access and enjoyment Eaves Wood is managed for nature conservation – the ancient woodland habitats and limestone-loving plants and insects.
It is a popular spot for dog walking therefore assistance dogs are welcome on site. The surface of the many paths is firm with a base of limestone so when wet could be slippery. Some paths are also much steeper than others especially up to the viewpoint from the very popular Pepperpot where the path also crosses limestone pavement. There are a number of way marker finger posts around the woods which help to navigate visitors around the wood.
There are no toilet facilities on site although there are public toilets located in Silverdale Village, off Emesgate Lane approximately 0.9 miles from Eaves Wood car park. There are visitor facilities and refreshments available in Silverdale where there is a small supermarket, pubs and shops. From Silverdale village centre head north on Emesgate Lane 0.5 miles. Continue straight on along Park Road for 0.4 miles and Eaves Wood car park is on the left. Bus routes are as follows: Silverdale Circular 33, Silverdale Rail Station - Silverdale Village - Holgates Caravan Site, Mon-Sat. Also buses 550 Kendal - Silverdale and 552/3 Kendal - Arnside.
Location : Arnside, Carnforth, Cumbria LA5 0HF
Transport : Arnside or Silverdale (National Rail) then 0.5 miles. Bus Routes : 33, 550, 552 and 553 (see above)
Opening Times : Dawn till Dusk
Tickets : Free
Tel : 01524 702 815