13

Westfield Trail

Refreshing coastal walk for all

#seebeyondtheview

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Westfield Trail
13
 
easy
4.50 miles
m ascent
Good hard path suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and bikes
3 hours including rest stops

Westfield Trail

OS Map OL6. Start grid ref: SD 233 656. Post Code: LA13 0PU

The Westfield trail  is a linear route providing excellent views of the coast and Roa and Piel Islands. It is suitable for cyclists, wheelchair users and those with pushchairs and young children. It is possible to follow the trail all the way to Cavendish docks in Barrow. If coming from Ulverston, you may wish to follow the brown signs for the coastal road for a scenic drive to Rampside and Roa Island, our starting point.

Getting there

Park at the free Cumbria Wildlife Trust car park halfway along the causeway to Roa Island. Please note that a 1.85m height restriction applies.

Public Transport Stagecoach Service 11 stops at the Concle Inn. This is not a low floor vehicle.

Route

On leaving the car park, head back along the causeway towards the Concle Inn and cross the road at the first set of dropped kerbs. Follow the second public footpath signpost on the left, before the Concle Inn.  Do not be deterred by the ‘Private Road’ sign displayed near the houses, you enter the small cul-de-sac and join the path towards the right, beside these houses and garages. The path is gated with a passing point on the left (110cm wide). The barrier can be opened with a RADAR key to allow access for larger scooters. The trail now passes through farmland with some very pretty views. St Michael’s church is nestled inland as you follow the trail up towards Westfield Point. There are five ‘Three Valleys’ gates along the trail which allow access for wheelchairs and electric scooters.

Two rest points offer views of the Walney Channel and Piel Island with its rich history and castle ruins. The trail descends into Roosecote Sands bay and follows the salt marshes around the bay passing onshore gas terminals.

A pillbox, a reminder of the part Barrow played in the last world war, originally marked the end of the route. However, you can now follow the path all the way to Cavendish dock in Barrow, so if you want to keep exploring you can continue. To return to the car park, retrace your steps along the trail.

Of interest

  • Piel Island, with its castle ruins, has a long and interesting history. There is evidence of human occupation spanning 3000 years. Piel Island was believed to have been visited by the Celts and later by the Romans during their conquest of Britain. The first recorded name of the island, Foudray, came from Scandinavian settlers to the area and is Old Norse for fire island – meaning a fire beacon to guide boats. In 1127 the island was given to Furness Abbey. Foudray provided the Abbey with a safe deep harbour for trade between its holdings in England, Ireland and the Isle of Man.  The current castle was built in the early part of the 14th century. It was probably intended to be used as a fortified warehouse to keep cargoes safe from pirates and raiders. Nowadays the island is home to a pub, The Ship Inn, a seasonal campsite, and lots of flora and fauna.
  • The gasworks are run by Centrica, the owner of British Gas, and connect to gas fields in Morecambe Bay. These gas fields are some of the largest on the UK Continental Shelf, and produce enough gas to heat 1.5million UK homes. Around half the site’s employees work offshore.
  • Roa Island, at the end of the causeway is home to 100 people, and has a popular café – The Bosun’s Locker, a hotel, a yacht club and a jetty from where you can catch the ferry to Piel Island during the summer season (11-6pm weather dependent, enquiries can be made in the café)
  • You may wish to bring your binoculars, as adjacent to the starting point carpark is Foulney Island Nature Reserve, a haven for birds and wildlife. The island is made from pebbles brought from the Lake District to the coast by glaciers during the last ice age.
    • In spring you may spot courting eider ducks and terns starting to arrive back on the reserve. Thrift and sea campion are in flower.
    • In summer you can see three species of tern busy feeding their chicks, as well as lots of ringed plover chicks.
    • In autumn there are large numbers of oyster catcher and curlew. The sea aster is in flower.
    • In winter you may spot birds such as brent geese, wigeon, knot and dunlin. You might also see long-tailed duck, Slovenian grebe or the occasional diver on the sea amongst thousands of eider.
    • At any time of year you might see seals!

Here we find ourselves by the sea, surrounded by abundant nature and wildlife. This is against the backdrop of manmade creation and industrialisation. There is beauty in both if we look for it – list the beauty you see in the man-made and nature around you.
An oyster is a great illustration for finding beauty. When a bit of sand, parasite or other irritant enters the oyster the mollusc coats it in the same type of material it uses to make its shell, creating something called nacre, or mother of pearl which protects it against the irritant. It can take up to 2 years for a fully formed pearl to develop. Just like the oyster thinks of the grain of sand as something irritating and yet produces something to treasure, this week try to find beauty in something that at first glance might seem disagreeable, how does this change your perspective on it?