The Lancashire Border Walk became a reality in the summer of 2018, when Philip Walsh of the Friends of Real Lancashire walked the whole length of the county border; a remarkable achievement.
A ‘Lancashire Border Walk’ was first proposed and devised by Howard May in the 1980s but did not become an established route. The project by the Friends of Real Lancashire, assisted by the Association of British Counties, has taken this further, to devise a circular route around the whole boundary of the county palatine, including the sea coast. It is clearly more challenging than paths around the smaller counties, and a worthwhile effort if for that reason alone.
The project was launched publicly on Lancashire Day (27 November) 2017. The first walk began on 30 April 2018, founding “the Real Lancashire Boundary Walk”.
The route devised and walked by Howard May was a long-distance route following the inland, rural parts of the county boundary, from Mossley northwards and all around to the Duddon Estuary. His book resulting from his walk, [amazon_textlink asin=’B01HC0ZIC0′ text=’A Lancashire Border Walk’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’agbwildthing-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’ec92b673-629f-11e8-9ad9-bfb2aa753a48′] (Silverlink Publishing Ltd, 1988) is out of print but Volume 1 can be found on Amazon. (Whether he wrote Volume 2, completing the walk, I have not ascertained.)
Much of Howard May’s route has inspired the new Lancashire Boundary Walk, but in addition the new route follows the established long-distance coastal routes, from Liverpool to Broughton-in-Furness, and the county’s southern boundary, the River Mersey through industrial south Lancashire. The project hosted here is to display and further develop the project, conceived as a circular walking route, beginning and ending at the Pier Head in Liverpool, along the coastline of Lancashire to the Duddon Estuary, up the Duddon to the fell country and around Lancashire North of the Sands, then south through the Pennines along the border with Yorkshire to Mossley, then down the Mersey to Liverpool once again – although it could be started at any point and the first walk began in Blackpool.
A map showing route draft route sections appears on this page. It will be added to as the project progresses. The aim of the map is to show the route as walked and possible refinements, to provide a good, walkable route for others. It will draw on the practical experience Philip Walsh gains as he goes, and any other advice received from those familiar with the proposed areas through which the trail runs.
The first walk of the Real Lancashire Boundary Walk began on Wednesday 30 May 2018. Philip Walsh, Chairman of the Friends of Real Lancashire, set off from Blackpool Tower at 9 am, and is walking anti-clockwise around the whole border, which he estimated to take 28 days. He gave a live feed of his blog as he went. The walk was completed where it began, in Blackpool under the shadow of the Tower.
The path has been devised by the Friends of Real Lancashire to celebrate the county. It has inspired a wider project by the Association of British Counties to devised boundary paths for other counties, the development pages for all of which are being hosted by WildþingUK.
Crossing the Sands
The two parts of Lancashire are said to be not separated by the sands of Morecambe Bay by joined by the sands. The route as walked, and which is considered the standard, involves a short railway journey across the sands, from and eventually back to Silverdale, crossing the estuary between Arnside in Westmorland and Grange-over-Sands in Lancashire.
There an alternative possibility though, wholly within Lancashire: the route on foot across the sands. This is a public footpath but a very dangerous one. It can only be walked at low tide and is inadvisable unless under the supervision of the Queen’s Guide to the Sands, Cedric Robinson.
With this in mind, the path is drawn across the sands as an option for the hardy and the wary.
For the future, if a walkway is ever attached to the Arnside Viaduct as has been proposed, then this would be an ideal crossing place, but until then it must be a railway trip, the walk over the sands, or a long walk north to the A590 at Levens – for the lowest bridges on the Rivers Kent and Gilpin.
The practical way to complete the crossing of the sands in both directions is by rail, which is the route adopted for the first walk.