Access to the West Beach is via a concrete road that passes Silloth Golf Club and leads over yellow speed bumps to a large free parking area beside the outer dock.
West Silloth Beach has a delightful expanse of clean sand, backed by dunes. There are fine views across the Solway Firth towards the hills of Southern Scotland. The beach is teeming with interesting animal and plant life.
Along the seafront runs a wide promenade, with steps straight down to the shingle beach. Porpoises are sometimes spotted not far from the promenade which stretches out towards Skinburness. In winter a wide variety of migrant birds visit the nearby salt-marshes.
Grune Point is a sandy, raised shingle beach approximately one mile long, from Skinburness to its furthest extent. Its western side is exposed to the Solway and prevailing westerly winds. To the eastern side, which is more sheltered, is Skinburness saltmarsh.
Grune Point supports specialist vegetation which includes sea sandwort, sea holly and sand couch-grass. It is also a good migration watchpoint for warblers and hirundines. Bird watching is better around high tide.
At Grune Point is the “Cumberland Machine-Gun and Anti-Tank Rifle Emplacement” – a design of pill-box unique to what was Cumberland. The cairn on top was added later as a memorial to four Silloth Firemen who drowned while trying to rescue a wildfowler.
At low tide the remains of Hudson AM 771 can be seen in Moricambe Bay, near Grune Point which crashed on take-off from Silloth airfield during WW2.
The shingle beach is a goldmine for beachcombers. Each tide renews the supply of water sculpted wood, rock and glass. Wave eroded pebbles reflect the whole Lake District and south-west Scotland. Certain rocks are very characteristic. Look out for granite, a hard rock with speckled pink, white and black colouring. Sandstone is also common and is a softer reddish brown colour. Coal is sometimes washed ashore and in the past was collected to fuel homes. Tiny pieces of smoothed glass add a further sparkle of colour to the shingle and weird driftwood is often carried great distances on the waves. With appropriate care beachcombing can provide an extra dimension to a day by the beach.
There’s plenty of wildlife for the visitor to see. The oystercatcher with its distinctive orange bill and pinkish legs, is a common sight. Groups of small mottled sanderlings, with their white wing bars, can often be seen close to the water’s edge. Curlews, with their long curved beaks and plaintive calls and crested, black and white lapwings, with their characteristic ‘pee-wit’ call and swooping flight, are a frequent sight in the sky above beaches and coastal marshes. The dunes systems are home to several kinds of orchid and helleborine, as well as natterjack toads.
At the beach
- Reduce the amount of litter by taking less single use plastics to the beach and using tupperware instead.
- Always bring bin bags or an old carrier bag with you to collect your litter.
- If the bin is full, take your litter home, don’t leave it by the side or on top of public bins.
- Be cautious of your dangerous litter including hot BBQ’s and glass.