Park in the public car park by the beach at Haverigg, grid ref 159784.
This has been a difficult late autumn to find walks where the footpaths and pastures are not flooded or impassable because of deep mud. For your first walk of 2013 try a stroll along part of the Cumbria Coastal Way (CCW) from Haverigg to Silecroft. It is a delight and with no mud to be seen. Choose a sunny day when the pools left by the receding tide are blue and the sand appears slightly golden. Use tide tables to avoid a high tide – best go when the water is far out.
The CCW was established in the late 1980s by Cumbria County Council. It is 182 miles long, starts in north Lancashire and almost reaches the Scottish border.
1 Take the steps up the banking, on the sea side of the car park and turn right to walk the grassy path on the sea defence wall, with a magnificent view ahead of the extensive Morecambe Bay. Pause by the seat to enjoy the huge seven-tonne sculpture of Escape to Light by Josefina de Vasconcellos, in honour of those who lost their lives in sea rescue. Cross the access track for the Inshore Rescue boat and walk down a narrow path through the low dunes to the shore. Walk ahead on the best area of sand between the shingle you can see to reach a vast stretch of lovely sand, with (if the tide is out) a little fresh water stream to your left. To your right are a series of dunes, the sand held in place by tough marram grass. Keep close to the dunes to wind around a long pipe dispensing fresh water and then carry on round the glorious sand. Out to sea you might spot the tide and several shingle banks. Beyond, far out in deep water, is an enormous wind farm.
2 Continue on where there is a path of sorts through a narrower way between the dunes and a stream. Carry on over more vast areas of sand as you begin to wind round Haverigg Point now with an extensive view along the coast and, also, into a large area of dunes stretching inland. Soon the semblance of a path begins to run out and walkers should just continue on. More shingle and pebbles appears to take over the shore but between them are sandy areas for easier walking. As you progress you can now spot the blades of some tall windmills over the tops of several higher dunes. When you can see some white houses in the distance, head on towards them.
3 On reaching the dwellings, go past the first three and then take a flight of, easy-to-miss, sturdy wooden steps up the bank, using a Cumbria Coastal right-of-way. Continue ahead along a wide track to a T-junction and bear left along a lane to join the road to Silecroft village. Walk right, cross the level crossing and a few steps along, on the right, is the Miners Arms. If you prefer to stay on the beach for your refreshments continue past the houses to reach the parking area and toilets for Silecroft.
4 Some walkers will wish to return the same way, with the Lakeland fells soon coming into view – very dramatic if snow covered. Tracks and footpaths, just inland, will take you back to Haverigg but most of these are waterlogged and very hard work to make progress over the intervening mud. You could pick up a train at Silecroft to return to Millom, with a one and a half mile walk back to the parking place at Haverigg. There are no trains on Sunday but there is a Sunday bus. For information use Traveline 0871-2002233.
Distance: Haverigg to Silecroft along the beach four miles. Returning along the shore eight miles.
Time: 2-3 hours one way
Terrain: lovely level walk
Map: OS Explorer OL 6
NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.