Circular Walk Start-GR NY08887: at the Solway Coast Discovery Centre in Silloth
Before leaving the Discovery Centre it is advisable to check tide times, etc, as the Grune itself can be dangerous on exceptionally large tides and is therefore not advisable unless with an experienced guide.
Turn right outside the Discovery Centre, and walk past the Community School entrance, the Sports Hall, then onto a small path beside the Primary School playground. This takes you to the main B5300 road, which you cross and go straight ahead into the Car Park beside the pine tree compound (a major Rookery in Spring and Summer). Pass the public toilets and carry on straight ahead onto the promenade.
Heading North follow the promenade past the Coastal Way finger post, and second car park with toilets, (NY11416) then towards East Cote lighthouse, which is quite a feature built in 1914 and is still in use today.
Carry on along the promenade; eventually you will come to a narrowing of the pathway which guides you up a ramp on to the grass (NY11772). At this point you have a choice you can stay on the lower narrow promenade path or join the grass footpath on the roadside verge. If you decide to stay on the lower promenade footpath there are breaks in the sea defences to allow you to leave the lower path in an emergency.
As you now approach the back of the sea front houses at Skinburness you will be guided up on to the grass path, which will then lead you through a narrow gravel track where you walk along a tarmac lane between the houses. Note: on your left are the former longhouses of Skinburness, which are reputed to be the haunt of smugglers from Scotland. It was said that this area was the place in which Sir Walter Scott modelled the Crackenthorpe Inn mentioned in his book the Red Gauntlet. The longhouses are now converted into family homes.
Carry on along this small secluded lane, with the sea defence on your left. This was put in place to prevent coastal erosion and flooding.
Cross the top of Dick Trod Lane and go through the gate with the cycle rack. (NY1246). Pass the large retirement home and its well-manicured lawns on your right-hand side.
Your walk will now continue over gravel and eventually you will drop down onto the beach, where the footpath was severely eroded during heavy tides of 2007.
After a short distance you will be guided back on to a grass path, which will lead you past a detached house which is in an idyllic location over looking the Scottish coast; on passing this property note the view point opposite. The outward views of the walk you will note are of shingle, open sea and dunes.
Progressing along the path you will find yourself surrounded by gorse bushes, which are nesting areas for many passerine birds including Linnet, Stonechat and Whitethroat. In the summer you may also hear the occasional Cuckoo which will be up to no good laying her eggs in others nests. As the footpath narrows take a left turn through the gorse which will lead you to the next kissing gate on your walk (NY13300). You are now entering sheep grazing areas; it is advisable to keep dogs on a lead from here on.
For a short distance the coastal fringe will be out of view, however, there is a well-marked footpath which will eventually bring you to another gate, where you will be guided through a narrow gorse area leading on to a well walked path with plenty of way markers pointing the way. In the distance, on the horizon to the left of the Anthorn masts, you will notice a former Second World War Pillbox. Here you can sit and enjoy the spectacular views over Morecambe bay; a bird watchers paradise when the tide is coming in, flowing up the River Waver Estuary. You are now at the half way point of the walk.
For your return journey, turn right from the Pillbox and follow the shingle-mud track by the River Waver Estuary, taking in the vast views of saltmarshes, creeks and on a clear day the Lake District Hills. Follow the track through a series of fenced off areas with public kissing gates. Along this footpath you will notice some large blocks of concrete rubble, these were dumped here after war time coastal defences were removed. They now form part of a sea defence protecting the Grune from erosion, also providing habitat for Rabbits, stoats, weasels etc.
On your way up this track you will also notice that you are climbing a slight gradient which eventually leads to a series of gorse and hawthorn hedgerows. It is worth spending a little time to look over the Skinburness Marsh, where large numbers of geese can often be seen and heard in winter. There is also the chance of seeing Peregrines hunting these marsh areas in pursuit of wading birds.
You should now have gone through a series of gate ways, and will be approaching the little Grune hamlet with Marsh Cottage, on your right, the first of these quaint coastal properties. As you pass this cottage you will come to a three-way marker post (NY12916). Turn right in between the houses and follow the secluded country lane, which will guide you back on to the Coastal way. You have now gone full circle, and simply need to retrace your steps along the Cumbria Coastal Way, before returning to the Solway Coast Discovery Centre.
[Information reproduced from the Solway Coast AONB website with kind permission]
Whether you want to walk Hadrian’s Wall Path, part of the England Coast Path or Circular walks around the Solway villages, the Solway Coast AONB provides great days out for all the family. Check out the Solway Coast AONB website for more interesting walks and information about the area.