After a weekend when both of us had to put in a fair bit of work, we took this morning off and headed for the small “seaside” town of Grange-over-Sands, about twenty miles south. I use seaside in quotes because it’s on the shores of Morecambe Bay rather than the actual coast, and also because in the years since I spent many happy holidays there as a kid, the channels have changed, the salt-marsh has crept up, and it’s now rather less “over-Sands” and rather more “over-Mud”!
It’s still a lovely spot to visit, though. Sheltered from the worst of the winds, pleasant to walk around, and although on the surface it looks like any other Victorian coastal resort, there’s actually much older history dotted around if you know where to look. The settlement started life as a grange, or farm/grain store, for the monks of nearby Furness Abbey, and also has a history as one of the main destinations of the routes across Morecambe Bay – treacherous without a guide these days but useful short-cuts in the past.
We usually mooch up (literally – it’s pretty steep!) the main street and back along the mile-long level sweep of the Promenade, with its open views across the bay to Morecambe, Heysham and – on a clear day – the Pennine hills beyond. Today, though, we tried something different. Years ago I had a number of holidays in the town and explored the byways and back roads pretty thoroughly, and I remembered an interesting route that clambered up the steep hills at the back of the town toward the local landmark of Hampsfell, with its stone-built hospice.
The countryside was too muddy to venture off-road, but we re-discovered the way and were treated to some amazing views, fascinating nooks and crannies, and a good lung-busting climb as a result. At least next time, given better weather and stout boots, we’ll know which way to go for a really lovely walk.
Here are a handful of photos of the morning including an intriguing stone gateway, a lime kiln, and That View.