DURING the 18th Century, the River Lune between Sunderland and Lancaster was England’s fourth busiest port, beaten only by London, Bristol and Liverpool, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. After Glasson Dock was opened in 1787 the north side of the river fell into decline. Today it is a great place for painters, birdwatchers and those who like to walk in unique locations. This figure of eight walk starts from the village of Overton and explores the coast around Bazil Point and Sunderland.

Start from Overton car park, opposite the Globe Hotel, map reference SD 433 579, postcode LA3 3HG.


Distance: 7 miles

Time: 3-4 hours

Terrain: well made paths and quiet roads

Map: OS Explorer 296


1 Facing the Globe, turn right then keep left and join a footpath on the left signed Chapel Lane via Bazil Point. Go over a large ladder stile on the left and up the hill to the trig point: at only 100 feet this is the highest point of the walk. Turn left to go through a kissing gate. Each of the gates have names: this one is Sol’s Gate. Turn right (signed Chapel Lane) through Kittly Gate and right on Chapel Lane. Glasson Dock can be seen in the distance ahead. Keep straight on Bazil Lane and turn left onto a signed path just before the lane becomes a Private Road. Go through two gates, turn right and walk along the shore around Bazil Point.

2 Continue along the shore path and pass the steps that were crossed earlier. Turn right on the road, left onto Overton Dyke then merge with the road. After the road becomes a concrete track, take the signed stile to the right and follow the footpath past Trailholme. The path follows a dyke, then a ditch and crosses several footbridges before reaching a stile in the corner of a field leading to the shore north of Sunderland. Turn right and walk along the shore to the small village where there are public toilets. Sunderland’s name, meaning ‘sundered from the land’ refers to it being cut from the road to Overton at high tide. Walk along the Private Road (First Terrace) to The Ramp, where there is a sculpture of birds and a stone pillar topped with a globe. Sunderland Point is about half a mile past the village.

3 Turn right onto the bridleway signed Carr Lane West Shore. After passing the Mission Church, Sambo’s Grave is on the left. Sambo was a young, black African slave who arrived at Sunderland with his master in 1736. He was taken ill, then died and was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1795 a schoolteacher raised money to put up a memorial to Sambo and penned an elegy on his grave. A new seawall providing access to Sambo’s Grave, the Horizon Line Chamber (a stone building featuring a camera obscura which projects an image onto the opposite wall) and a bird hide have recently been built here. Go through a gate, turn right and follow the shore path to Potts Corner. At the parking area turn right onto the road. Turn right at C&R Auto sign to the large brown barn. Go through a kissing gate on the left and turn right (signed Trailhome), going around the outside of the site. Head towards electricity pylons on the left of large grey barns, go through a gate, turn right, cross the farmyard and walk along the lane to meet the road used earlier. Turn left and return to Overton.

Next week: Wythburn to Grasmere via Steel Fell and Calf Crag

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.