1. Milnthorpe Sands A distant view of the Lakeland fells and the village of Levens as the River Kent meets the Bela at Milnthorpe Sands at the head of the Kent Estuary, Milnthorpe, Cumbria.
Imagine rolling out the rug surrounded by enchanting woodland, wonderful views over the sea and grazing while you gaze. Next time the sun hints at glimmering through the clouds and you want a bit of peace and quiet, a beautiful view and a bite to eat, here are some local places to inspire you.
2. Arnside The village of Arnside faces the estuary of the River Kent on the north eastern corner of Morecambe Bay.
The Barrow to Lancaster railway – ‘The Furness Line’ – crosses the river Kent at Arnside over a very impressive viaduct, 522 yards long and has 50 piers. It is certainly a picturesque place to picnic. About once a month you can witness the Arnside Bore tidal phenomenon, which occurs in few places worldwide.
3. Red Rake, Silverdale Cove
Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an extraordinary place, famous for its amazing wildlife, stunning scenery and superb walks. Red Rake is a beautiful beach with views stretching across Morecambe Bay to the South Lakes. Haematite (iron ore) and copper ore were once mined here. The mine entrance and small jetty have now collapsed. Refreshments and ice creams can be found in Silverdale. Be aware of quicksands and fast tides.
Jenny Brown Point, Silverdale
One of Lancashire’s most beautiful coastal areas and steeped in history – Elizabeth Gaskell wrote some of her novels from a tower overlooking the sea. Nearby is Leighton Hall, a historic home open to the public, and the Leighton Moss RSPB sanctuary. A tall limestone chimney standing on the shoreline at Jenny Brown’s point is the only remains of a copper smelting works established at the end of the 18th century.
4. Morecambe South Beach
Pick a spot anywhere along the five-mile promenade from Heysham to Hest Bank and you are promised spectacular uninterrupted views across Morecambe Bay – well on a nice day that is. Parks are dotted along the long promenade along with ice cream shops, ammusements and shops. The large sandy beach here attracts many during the summer and is a hive of activity. There is a dog ban in force.
5. Happy Mount Park, Morecambe
If you don’t like sand in your sandwiches, or if the kids want to play, flatten out the blanket on one of the lawns at Happy Mount Park and let the kids run wild at the Natural Adventure Playground. A great park that is fun and creative, whether making dens, swinging around on the rope swing, or whizzing past on the zip wire, they’ll be having a grand time!
6. Heysham Beaches
Home to the only sea cliffs between Cumbria and North Wales! The beaches at Heysham are beautiful and unspoilt. Heysham can be reached by car 10 mins from Morecambe or on foot or bicyle from Morecambe, along the promenade. Half Moon way (the southern most beach at Heysham) has no dog restrictions, unlike other beaches in Morecambe, so Mr woof is welcome to enjoy the picnic with you and a paddle in the sea! Half Moon Bay also has a very convinient beach cafe right opposite the carpark and overlooking the beach, a popular spot come rain or shine.
7. Hest Bank
There is a carpark next to Hest Bank Shore and dogs are allowed. Hest bank shore is a mix of grassy marsh and sand. Don’t miss the spectacular flocks or wading birds that gather to roost at Hest Bank during the hour before high tide. Do not head out onto the sandflats and saltmarshes without a guide.
8. Williamson Park
Williamson’s Park in Lancaster is home to the iconic Ashton Memorial, 54 acres of beautiful parkland with enchanting woodland walks, play areas and breathtaking views across the Morecambe Bay and the Lake District. The park features a cafe and shop, Butterfly House (formerly a tropical palm house). In addition to the vast areas of grass for picnics and relaxing, children will be very excited to see the two new play areas. Opposite the memorial a park for younger children complete with wooden ship, slides, swings and climbing apparatus… and at the bottom of the hill another park with zipwire, and more challenging climbing frames. All over the park you will find picnic benches and vast areas of grass to relax on.
9. Crook O’ Lune
You are spoilt for choice as to where to place your pitch along the River Lune, as it meanders through a picturesque backdrop of hills, fields and trees. The Crook O’ Lune picnic site is very popular, there are fantastic views, a cafe and toilets. Here the river flows in a dramatic curve through tree lined banks. You can walk here from Lancaster or from Caton in the north, along the cycle path and there are plenty of walks along the river bank. Once you’ve eaten lunch, put the basket back in the car, in the conveniently close car park, you can have a wander along the path to Gray’s Seat – where you can see the famous view immortalised by JMW Turner’s paintings.
10. Beacon Fell Country Park
While a popular place for picnic-lovers, the 75 hectares of woodland, grassland and moorland at Beacon Fell means there’s plenty of pitches for everyone. You don’t have to walk far to get panoramic views of the Bowland Fell and Parlick Fell and if BBQ is your thing, then there’s a dedicated BBQ site at Carwags, on Carwags Lane. And, for a bit of activity, there’s a lovely woodland sculpture trail that takes around 40 minutes and has wooden creatures to find throughout the forest, including a larger than life wooden snake! Rising to a height of 266 metres above sea level the Beacon Fell summit gives fantastic panoramic views of the Bowland Fell and Parlick Fell. Dogs are welcome provided they are kept under close control and out of the wildlife ponds. There is a pay and display car park at the site.
11. Whitewell Stepping Stones
There aren’t many children, or adults infact, that cannot resist the lure of the stepping stones at Whitewell, crossing the River Hodder. There are beautiful walks to be had in the area, and either take your own picnic or sample the food at The Inn at Whitewell.
12. Conder Green
Nestled on the coastal plain of lush green fields and framed by a beautiful backdrop of fells, Condor Green is a lovely place to lunch and not to be over-looked. Enjoy an afternoon tea at the stunning Thurnham Hall or a enjoy a famous icecream at Wallings
13. Scorton Picnic Site
You can munch your lunch along the banks of the River Wyre at this very pretty spot nestled between the Wyre and Cleveleymere water. Not only is it a great place to lunch, it is an ideal spot to start exploring the Forest of Bowland. Scorton itself is a small rural villlage but is a very popular visitor location due to it’s location, popular restaurants and cafes and a boating lake at Wyreside Park. Don’t Miss the Scorton Steam Fair on Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th June (Father’s Day Weekend) Scorton Steam is the biggest steam fair in the North West with over 600 exhibits of vehicles of all ages, shapes and sizes.
14. Plover Scar Lighthouse
On the south edge of the Morecambe Bay near Glasson Dock, at the mouth of the river Lune sits a modest but beautiful Plover Scar Lighthouse. Built in 1847 it has seen better days but still makes an enjoable short walk along the coast to visit it and is the subject of many photos. There is offroad parking, on the coast side of the road just before Cockerham Sands Country Park, opposite Bank House Farm. A very simple to follow walk heading North along the shore. From the carpark, head North (right as you look out to sea) you will find a pathway that runs alongside the coastal wall. Be sure to check the tide times at www.tidetimes.co.uk
READ THE ARTICLE WITHIN LANCASTER DISTRICT MAGAZINE HERE