Less explored than the central fells, the western edge of the Lake District has much to offer. The seaside isn’t generally what springs to mind when you think of the Lake District but you’d be missing out if you never took the time to travel to one of Cumbria’s coastal areas one hot Summers day.
Silecroft Beach is one of the best hidden gems. A scenic 60 minute car ride from Langdale via Coniston and Broughton. Stretching out below the imposing Black Combe (600m), the Lake District’s most Western and Southern fell. This beach boasts around 3 miles of shingle and safe sands and the water quality is rated 3 stars for its excellent bathing.
The long, shingle slope is a beachcomber’s paradise, especially following a high tide. Tangles of seaweed, sun-bleached drift wood, unusual shells and colourful, patterned pebbles.
If you head south along the beach from the main car park at Silecroft, you can walk along the shingle, sands (depending on the tide) or further up the beach, along the grassy sand dunes that line this section, this area is a designated SSSI (Site of Scientific Special Interest) of coastal meadow and sea pasture and there’s some stunning wild flowers along the way. From here you get a fantastic view out over the Irish Sea and of the sea turbines that sit a few miles off shore ... and on a clear day, the distant silhouette of Isle of Man.
Silecroft is also a great place to see bird life, including Terns, Oyster Catchers, Ringed Plovers, Stonechats and many more. If you are keen on bird watching then you should definitely head a couple of miles south of Silecroft and visit the Hodbarrow RSPB Nature Reserve a coastal lagoon great for bird life just past the village of Haverigg.
It’s worth heading towards Haverigg even if you’re not into birds, as the holiday park and marina - Port Haverigg is open to non-residents and their waterfront Ski Bar is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and drink after a good walk. There might even be some entertainment as holiday makers make use of the water sports park.
Haverigg village itself, is also a nice place to explore, a pretty little sea front with a sandy beach and colourful houses, the perfect place for an ice cream stop while you sit and watch the little fishing boats bobbing on the tide.