Stage 10: St Bees to Whitehaven — Cumbria Coastal Way
Alex Foxfield planned a hike.
January 14, 2021
On this beautiful stage you walk along the only stretch of Heritage Coast between Wales and Scotland, the gorgeous cliffs of St Bees. The North Head is adorned by a fine lighthouse and is the most westerly point in North England. The end point of this stage is the large port town of Whitehaven.
From St Bees, you ascend to St Bees Head’s north and south tops, the highest ground on the entire Cumbria Coastal Way and the tallest sea cliffs in the north west. As the sign at its start point suggests, you may share the trail with walkers setting out on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast. Between the two headlands is Fleswick Bay and its many nooks and crannies. It’s easy to see why it was a former smugglers haunt.
Take in the views from the lighthouse atop North Head. The cliffs are also an RSPB nature reserve, with many nesting seabirds. Expect to see kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and even puffins, depending on the season. Further on, you part ways from the Coast to Coast at Birkham, continuing instead to Whitehaven.
Whitehaven has an attractive harbour, having once been amongst the busiest ports in England. This is Cumbria’s largest coastal settlement with plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs for the post-walk refuel. I recommend visiting the Beacon Museum if you want to find out about the town’s heritage. There’s plenty of accommodation in the town.
January 28, 2021