Cumbria walk - Arnside Knott Circular
PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 August 2016
John Lenehan tackles a beautiful coastal walk with great views and rewards himself with fish and chips
I think Arnside is one of the prettiest seaside villages in the North West. It has a character of charm and couples this with busy shops, cafes, pubs, art galleries and the best fish and chip shop for miles.
It seems strange to say it, but even on the very busy days it is hard not to feel relaxed. Whether you are sitting outside a pub quaffing a pint or on the pier looking at the impressive viaduct having an ice cream, the world seems to slow down and life feels so much better. And when you’ve done all that it has a terrific array of independent shops.
The village is dominated by the Knott and this is our destination for this month’s walk. This hill, almost 500ft, offers a steep climb to its summit. It is worth the effort as the views are magnificent. I decided to design a circular walk that encompassed the summit of the Knott and a section of beautiful coastal walking. This is one not to be missed.
1. Leave the car park area and walk back towards the Albion Pub, then turn right up Silverdale Road and right into Red Hills Road, following the sign for Arnside Knott.
2. It is a little confusing here as there is a sign saying the Knott pointing straight on and a stile. Ignore both and turn left up High Knott Road and at the T Junction at the top turn left and follow the road.
3. There is a sign saying Private Road but just before this on the right is a metal gate stile and a sign saying Red Hills Wood. Go through the stile and follow the path through the wood. It becomes steep as the path climbs uphill. Do not be tempted by the path on the left, keep straight on and leave the wood through a wooden gate stile. Once through the stile, with the wood on your left, start climbing the hill then after a few metres, bear diagonally right away from the wood and wall and follow the path that goes really steeply uphill. Eventually, and with much relief, you reach a wooden gate stile in a wall, go through this and turn right then follow the path for a few metres and then turn left and follow the path up to the triangulation pillar that marks the summit of Arnside Knott.
Note: Just before the stile there is a bench. It is worth sitting for a while to take in the stupendous view over the Kent Valley to the distant Lakeland Fells.
4. As you approach it, note that there is a path going right from the pillar. Take this and follow it until it reaches a wider limestone covered path then turn left and follow the wider path going slightly down hill. There is a path that drops away to the left just before a bench on the left. Do not follow this but keep straight on as the path goes behind the bench and then forks. Take the left fork and then start going steeply down hill. The path bends sharply left at a point where a path enters from the right. Keep on the main path down hill.
5. The path reaches a stile and a wooden gate with a four-finger fingerpost. Go through the stile following the finger that says Far Arnside and when the path forks keep left into a clearing and follow the path until a gate and stile leads left into a lane passing Hollins Farm. Enter the lane then leave it by a steel gate.
6. Once through the gate, immediately on the right there is a stile through a wall with a footpath sign saying Far Arnside. Follow the path with a wire fence on the right of it around the edge of the field until a gate leads out onto a tarmac road. Cross this and then turn right and follow the sign that says Arnside via Park Point. Pass the houses of Far Arnside and enter Holgates Caravan Site. The road in the site splits in three directions, take the centre road leading straight on. The road splits again at Shore Close, take the road slightly left and go down to a steel gate then through this to another steel gate that leads out to a shingle beach. Follow the beach until some rocks appear and just before them a footpath on the right leaves the beach. Follow this as it goes behind the rocks and past a bench, then keep on with the sea on the left as the path follows the coast over low cliffs. The path splits with a path left towards the sea, keep right on the upper path. The path splits again and this time take the left fork and it reaches a viewpoint then turn right and follow the coast along the cliffs.
7. The path then enters a wood and a footpath sign points right, follow this and at a path junction bear left. The path reaches a gate and stile. Cross the stile and enter into a caravan park with a very quaint bright green house on the left. Carry on along the track until a tarmac road and turn right then to another road and turn left to the park entrance near a children’s play area. Turn right along the road.
Note: On the left by the entrance there is a little café called the Bob In. This is the first place for a cake and coffee since setting off and it is really good.
8. There is a footpath sign on the left that says Arnside via the shore. Follow this along the shoreline. After a while a stile on the right leads into a meadow that runs parallel with the shore then another stile on the left next to a plaque about Grubbins Wood leads back to the shore. Turn right and follow the shore. The Viaduct now starts to appear as the path approaches the Lifeboat Station on the right.
Note: The 505 metre Arnside Viaduct has 50 spans over the river and was built between 1850-1899 for the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway.
After passing the Lifeboat Station, keep straight on and join a good track that runs along the sea wall and follow this back to the car park and finish.
Note: Arnside is famous for its Tidal Bore. At certain high tides water from Morecambe Bay is forced up the narrowing Kent Estuary creating a wall of water over a foot high that travels at incredible speed up the river. The Lifeboat Station has a huge Klaxon that it sounds to warn that the Bore is on its way. It is sounded 12 consecutive times before high tide.
Arnside Knott Circular Walk
Start and Finish: Arnside Seafront Car Park.
Distance: 4.75 Miles / 7.64 Km
Time: 3 Hours
Map: OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes South Eastern Area.
Terrain: A stiff climb begins the walk but the majority after the summit of the Knott is easy walking on woodland tracks, fields, and undulating coastal footpaths. Light boots or walking shoes will be fine. Walking poles might be a good idea for the downhill section from the Knott as it is steep in places.
Note: Part of the walk although on public footpaths, runs along the seashore. Please be aware that the Kent Estuary can be a dangerous place at high tide, so take note of the warning signs and use the alternative route when the tide is against you. The walk is best done when the tide is out.
Facilities: There are public toilets on the seafront.
Parking: There is free parking along the Promenade just past the Albion Pub.