Alex Langfield

Hike amidst scenic gold and wildlife treasures — Lancashire Coastal Way

HELEN M BUSHE (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Hike amidst scenic gold and wildlife treasures — Lancashire Coastal Way

Hiking Collection by Alex Langfield

4-8

days

3-6 h

/ day

64.3 mi

1,275 ft

1,225 ft

The Lancashire Coastal Way is a wonderful 66-mile (106 km) long-distance trail along the county’s scenic and historic coastline.

Experience golden sunsets that skim across shifting sands. Marvel at the rhythmic ebb and flow of the tides, as opportunist plovers and oystercatchers survey the land for their next meal. Be charmed by the seaside towns and their ostentatious attempts to attract and beguile.

From Freckleton by the Ribble Estuary to Silverdale on the Cumbrian border, the Way explores sandy beaches, gorgeous estuaries, ancient ruins, pretty lighthouses, famous promenades, seaside villages and vibrant towns. The birdlife along the route is magnificent, whilst the region’s commercial and military history is fascinating, not to mention its heritage as a centre for entertainment and tourism.

Highlights along the route are: the Ribble Estuary, a great place to spot resident waders; Blackpool, the UK’s original thrill seekers’ resort; Rossall Point, a windswept peninsula with superb viewpoints; the Cockersand region, with its abbey ruins and splendid lighthouse; Lancaster, a university city and county town with a proud history; Morecambe Bay, of international importance to migrating birds and with stunning scenery to boot; and Arnside and Silverdale AONB, rich in wildlife and boasting terrific little limestone hills.

In this Collection, I have split the route into four stages of between 14.9 miles and 16.7 miles (24 to 26.9 km) in length, making for longish days on the trails. You could opt for shorter days by splitting these stages up further, as accommodation is plentiful along the route,
aside from on the stretch between Pilling and Glasson Dock. Likewise, there are plenty of places to eat and drink, from cafes and chip shops to pubs and restaurants.

This is not a challenging walk and is suitable for all levels of experience. The gradients are flat throughout, aside from an optional detour to Warton Crag in the final stage. Each stage of my itinerary finishes near lodgings and places to eat and drink.

The route is waymarked by a circular, blue ‘bird and wave’ logo and navigation is mostly a doddle. The main thing to be mindful of is high tides, which can sweep in very quickly and have sadly caught people out over the years. Plan ahead with tidetimes.org.uk and stay inshore during high tides.

This Collection follows the usual direction of travel: south to north. This is preferable due to prevailing winds and it also keeps the sun out of your eyes. You could, of course, choose to reverse this without difficulty.

Spring and summer are the optimal seasons, with longer days and plenty of excuses to get as many ice creams as you can. However, winter is witness to an awesome spectacle, when hundreds and thousands of waders and wildfowl flock to the region. It is worth bearing in mind that the ferry between Fleetwood and Knott End-on-Sea may not be running during the off-season.

Whilst not as wet as the upland regions inland, you will still need waterproofs regardless of the season. Sun cream is essential in summer, as are warm layers in winter and a set of binoculars would be useful for wildlife watching. The Way is exposed to the elements, particularly westerlies coming in off the Atlantic, so you can expect it to be gusty at times.

The closest train station to the start point of Freckleton is Kirkham & Wesham, a 3-mile (4.8 km) walk away. You can catch the 68 bus service from Preston, which is on the West Coast Mainline. Services run every half an hour from Preston City Centre. By car, it’s a short drive from junction 3 of the M55.

At the end of the Way, Silverdale is on the Furness Line, which links Lancaster to Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. By car, it is a short drive from junction 35 on the M6.

Why not continue your journey by continuing north onto the Cumbria Coastal Way? komoot.com/collection/1085794

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    06:19
    15.5 mi
    2.5 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The opening stage contains some extreme contrasts. On one hand you have the wild beauty and natural sights of the Ribble Estuary and the shimmering Irish Sea. Tranquillity can be …

  • Difficult
    06:28
    15.9 mi
    2.5 mph
    150 ft
    175 ft
    Ferry
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This stage continues along the arrow-straight Blackpool seafront with views to the distant Isle of Man. Eventually, you arrive at the windswept headland of Rossall Point, catch the ferry across …

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  • Difficult
    06:48
    16.7 mi
    2.5 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The penultimate stage first explores the Cockerham Sands region, visiting some haunting monastic ruins, a pretty lighthouse and enjoying superb sea views. You then head inland, along the Lune Estuary …

  • Difficult
    06:54
    16.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    800 ft
    750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The final stage is all about Morecambe Bay and the scenic splendour of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which straddles the Cumbrian border. After a …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    64.3 mi
  • Duration
    26:29 h
  • Elevation
    1,275 ft1,225 ft

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Alex Langfield

Hike amidst scenic gold and wildlife treasures — Lancashire Coastal Way