Stage 1: Freckleton to Blackpool — Lancashire Coastal Way
Alex Foxfield planned a hike.
February 18, 2021
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 found at times along the seaward trails.
However, the stage ends at Blackpool, with its many tourist attractions and roller coasters. As if this wasn’t enough, there’s every chance the decibel level will be raised further by a brace of fighter jets roaring to life from Warton Aerodrome. Whatever happens, it makes for an interesting start to the Lancashire Coastal Way.
From the once-thriving seaport of Freckleton, head south and join the coastal path where the Rivers Ribble and Douglas meet. With the widening Ribble on your left and the airfield on your right, continue towards the seaside town of Lytham St Annes. This stretch is a treat for birdwatchers, thanks to the many waders that inhabit the estuary.
You soon come to Fairhaven Lake, which is popular with families. Wander along the seawall, enjoying splendid Irish Sea views. The town’s growth was mostly due to the development of nearby Blackpool as a major seaside resort. St Annes set itself up as a more exclusive option and is an interesting place to explore. Beach huts, a pier and a swimming pool adorn the seafront.
Continue along the coast with Blackpool’s unmistakable sights growing larger with every step. First, you pass Blackpool Airport, then the Pleasure Beach. The immense Big One roller coaster is an impressive sight. When the tide is out, the sands are a pleasant stroll, when it’s in, the concrete promenade takes you past casinos, amusements, ice cream vans and all the usual seaside sights.
Blackpool Tower marks the end of the stage. From here there are many places to eat and drink, as well as a great number of accommodation options.
February 23, 2021